One Voice is Noise, Many is a Chorus – Case Study of Best Buy

September 22, 2011

Future Marketing Strategies

When it comes to futuristic marketing strategies, there are many companies that have excelled themselves. Coco Cola, Heineken Beer, Ford and Google Labs are just to name a few. To add to the list, we now have Best Buy, an innovative Fortune 100 $50 billion consumer electronics retailer with over 1500 retail locations across USA, Europe and Asia.

One of the very old and established consumer electronics retailer, the company has considered the knowledge of its employees and power of people as one of its biggest assets.

In it’s recent innovative move, Best Buy came up with a platform called as “My Customer” which aims at unleashing the voice of its 100,000+ employees to share their learning from daily interactions with customers. Since it started in July, this platform has been a big success for the company.

What makes this idea very successful?

Every company has employees who have many insights and ideas to solve the problems and grow the company. Especially in a retail store, where employees are the ones who interact on day-to-day basis with the customers, they know the customers best. When it comes to solving store problems, or creating strategies that can improve the store efficiency, these employees would be in a better position than the management who rarely interact with the customers.

Now considering a real time issue in a store which the employees of the store solved in the best possible way in real time. If this information is gathered and analyzed, it could give information on bigger problems and issues that could be addressed by all other stores and business units throughout the company. The key is to improve customer experience not just in one store at one time, but across all the stores all the time.

Another major benefit of “My Customer” program is the transparency that is created between the employees and the management. It is very common that employees are asked for feedback about the store and what they would like to do to improve the performance. Once the feedback is submitted, the employee is rarely made known that what was done with his feedback. With this system, an employee is able to provide all the information they know about their customers in real time which in turn is funneled to the right teams by a dedicated team thereby creating a transparency between the employees and the corporate.

One of the key benefit with this approach is that the solution that would take months to get approved by Corporate and then get implemented, was now possible to implement in few days at the local stores.

One such example was given by Best Buy, highlighting the benefit of this program:

The pilot district noticed that customers were leaving the stores due to not carrying Apple products.  When the store leadership realized the amount of employee insights on this subject, they created a strategy to address and approach these customers when asking for Apple.  As a result, the store was able to convert many of these Apple-seeking customers to PCs after realizing that many of the key features and benefits were available in most PCs.  Revenue within that district increased 10% within 30 days as a result of the strategy.”

Any marketer would see that this is an effective, yet very simple program. The employees are happy that they can contribute something valuable in addition to their daily jobs and the management is happy that their revenue and customer satisfaction is growing.

Key lesson – Never underestimate the power of employees, they have wealth of information that could be used by companies. All they need is to devise a way to harness that knowledge in the best possible way.

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