Best Buy In Need of Few More Good Men and Women

Jun 17, 2004

By George Anderson

You probably know the adage about how the best laid plans can often go awry. Best Buy certainly does.

The consumer electronics retailer said it was scaling back its plans to rollout its customer centricity program because the company couldn’t find enough “leadership” and “talent” among its current ranks of employees to make it work.

Mike Keskey, president of U.S. Best Buy, reported rollouts of the program in Chicago and Washington failed because “those two markets didn’t have this solid foundation in place.”

Best Buy’s customer centricity program generated higher sales and margins in the initial 33 stores tested, leading the chain to announce previously it planned to roll it out in up to 110 stores this year.

The chain remains committed to upgrading its customer-service levels, albeit at a slower pace. Mr. Keskey pointed to the potential of the program by recalling a case where an additional $250,000 in sales were generated with one business account because the customer was impressed with the performance of a member of Best Buy’s 24-hour home-computer repair service known as the Geek Squad.

Moderator’s Comment: What do you do about the company’s “talent” and “leadership” shortage if you’re running Best

If you’re a current investor in Best Buy, you have to be at least a little concerned about the company’s admission that its people don’t have the right

Good people generally cost more to attract and retain. We wonder if Best Buy (and most other retailers, for that matter) are willing to make the investment
necessary to attract the best and brightest to work in the company’s stores?

George Anderson – Moderator

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