Service: It’s Not “Geek” to Me

I bought a laptop from Best Buy along with an extended service agreement. When the monitor fritzed out and the card slot stopped working I took it into the Geek Squad (I just love how they’ve branded it) where I was told the computer would have to be sent to "Geek City" for repair.

When the computer returned (ahead of schedule) I was pleased. I asked the geek who returned my computer if both the screen and card slot were fixed and after glancing at the repair report he said they were. He was wrong. The card slot appears not to have been touched and was as dead as a post.

I returned to the Geek Squad (It’s an hour drive one way) and explained the entire situation. The Lady Geek quickly verified that the slot didn’t work and then tapped out something on the computer. She abruptly told me that it would have to be sent back to Geek City again. So…

  • Four hours drive time (plus cost of gas)
  • Two more weeks without my computer
  • Plus the frustration of a job not done correctly.

I signed the release for my computer to be taken from me once more, and turned to leave. Over my shoulder I heard the lady geek mumble an insincere "Sorry".

I’ve written in the past about the importance of both resolution and apology in a customer service response. This was a classic example of what not to do. I want my computer fixed and would have preferred it had been fixed correctly the first time – but I would also have appreciated if the Geek Squad would have acknowledged their blunder and the resulting inconvenience to me. That was my expectation at the very least.

The language of good customer service is not "geek to me". When you blow it – acknowledge it – not just the mistake but the customer’s frustration. Apologize and commit to resolving the issue:

Poor: "Sorry."
Better: "I apologize that we didn’t get this fixed the first time like we should."
Preferable: "I apologize that we didn’t get that fixed the first time. I know you had to make the trip back here and give up your computer for repair again. I tell you what I’m going to do. Let me put a rush on this so we can get it back to you as soon as possible, and because we put you through this, let me give you this gift card. I know it’s not much, but I am sorry for the inconvenience we’ve caused you."

The Follow-Up "Geek Squad" Posts:
Service, It’s not "Geek" to Robert Stephens Either
The Geek Squad Incident: Epilogue
The Geek Squad Incident: Epilogue II

Flickr photo courtesy of Old Shoe Woman

  13 comments for “Service: It’s Not “Geek” to Me

  1. November 9, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    You’ve struck a cord. Bad service, in any situation, is my pet peeve. Why is it that some people get it and some don’t? Is it the way people are raised? Is it the way people are managed? Of course, I argue that in most of these situations the companies don’t have a good brand. If their brand is weak, so will be the leadership, the service, the product, etc. Best Buy is obviously a perfect example!
    I believe the alternative is Apple! If you want a great experience that is supported by great service, just walk into an Apple store!

  2. November 9, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    I’ll take you up on that, Cory. I’m looking into a couple of iPods for Christmas. I’ll let you know how my experience goes.

  3. November 11, 2006 at 12:17 am

    This is a great story and quite a testimonial for blogging, when you read both Part 1 and Part 2!
    I’ll second Cory’s comments. You cannot beat the Apple store for passion, customer satisfaction and of course, a superior product!
    it was great meeting you today. I look forward to sharing coffee again soon.

  4. November 11, 2006 at 12:36 am

    How every company should be using blogging

    Despite a bazillion new blogs being started every day, business blogging still seems to be in its infancy. Many companies are still wondering why they would need a blog. And maybe they don’t. Creating and maintaining a blog is not

  5. November 11, 2006 at 7:01 am

    Ditto, Drew! What a great time with the Iowa Blogging All-Stars and Starbucker. Thanks for the great post about the morning and for your kind links.

  6. December 16, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    Buy Computer

    The latest has one of the largest selec

  7. January 23, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    More Companies Paying Attention to Bloggers

    Congrats to Tom Vander Well of QAQnA for making it on the cover of the Des Moines Business Record! Not too long ago Tom told a story of his experience with The Geek Squad. Every since publishing his story, people…

  8. Quanta
    July 8, 2007 at 1:34 am

    I’m a Geek Squad employee. We handle returns and exchanges daily. I have no commentary on your article; this is simply a reply to one of your comments. Our store tracks iPod purchases vs exchanges/returns/repairs. The defective ratio after 1 year is 23%. You’re better off with a Samsung or Sandisk (14% and 18%, respectively) by far. Creative Labs’ Zen player has easily withstood all the above products with a defective rate of only 3%. I’m sharing this data with you so you don’t have to bring your iPod in for repair. We hate seeing them in our Precinct; people hate having them fixed.

  9. July 8, 2007 at 6:15 am

    That’s an interesting comment, Quanta. I’d be interested to know if that number has decreased with subsequent generations. You say “after 1 year” – does this mean after the first year they were out – or in the past 12 months? I ask because it seems that there were a number of problems with the initial generation iPods that have been largely ironed out.
    Nevertheless, I appreciate the info. Carry on.

  10. July 24, 2007 at 8:00 pm

    Best Buy May Not Really Have the “Best Buy”

    Fellow Know More Media author over at MarketingBlurb says that Bad Customer Service Negates the Best Marketing Plans and points out a recent story about Antonio Cangiano and his experience with Best Buy. When I saw Best Buy, I thought…

  11. Lynn Lascaro
    October 11, 2007 at 12:48 am

    Best buy for Business and the Geek Squad have made my life miserable. I bought 13G of Mac stuff and what insued was like a real crummy horror movie. It’s not over (after 3 months of bungling) so I’ll be back will more lamentations.

  12. Lynn Lascaro
    April 25, 2008 at 3:30 am

    BB For Business and Geek Squad are THE Ticket in a Big Box World:
    Two quarters ago I had Best Buy do some first time stuff for the both of us. Things were difficult at first but everything worked out. They were always there and continue be more than vendors; they are like friends. I value my relationship with Best Buy.
    Lynn Lascaro

  13. Kevin
    July 26, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    I know how you feel. All the dealings I have had with the geek squad (4 times) have been poor. It is clear they have no customer service training or do not have the ability to comprehend it if there is training.

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