A Positive Retail Experience Proves the Need for Bricks and Mortar Stores

I often find disappointing customer service experiences to write about.  Given consumers’ obsession with low costs, many traditional retailers have cut training and staff.  Fortunately, Best Buy appears to have invested in service to differentiate itself.  

About a year ago, we bought our son a cover for his phone.  Knowing how a teenage boy operates, we bought him one that had a lifetime warranty.  I remember thinking there’s some catch to the guarantee we had. 

As expected, he dropped his phone for the umpteenth time and the cover broke.  We finally got around to taking him back to Best Buy this past weekend.  We showed them the receipt, which they said they could have looked up, and he had a new phone cover installed in a few minutes.  It was such a positive experience, we looked at televisions.  After explaining what we were trying to do, a helpful customer service rep in the TV department offered a free in-home consultation. The pleasurable experience dealing with an inexpensive phone cover might lead to a large sale of an in-home theater system. 

To state the obvious, online sales are going to continue to grow, especially if companies are willing to subsidize delivery costs.  But “bricks and mortar” retail still has a place.  Returning or replacing items online can be a tortuous process; that’s why the biggest e-tailer in the world bought a retail store chain and has partnerships with others for product pick-ups and product returns.  The best way for traditional retail to compete is to offer great customer service.  As our world becomes increasingly impersonal, there’s a great opportunity for all businesses to create connectivity through world-class service. 

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