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Last Man Standing
Jul 18, 2009

Best Buy is one of the strongest retail models around, that encounter some of the more complex marketplace challenges, and have found solutions allowing them to push on through these difficult times. The New York Times and Matt Richtel  tells the "Best Buy" story well.

This retailer is faced with  product lines that encompass most segments of  the electronic revolution.  They are purchased by a diverse digital consumer navigating an economy that has stressed those shoppers with limited disposable income and narrowing purchase options. However,  by reading that landscape well, Best Buy are implementing solutions that are leading to their differentiation.  As the sole surviving national consumer electronics chain, the "last man standing" designation certainly applies to them but others,  namely Walmart, Target, Amazon and Apple all compete  in "what they do" (sell consumer electronics products) however,  Best Buy has chosen  a clearly identified Service Strategy as their path to differentiation  (" how they do what they do".)

As their competitors' failed (Circuit City and Comp USA) Best Buy understood what was  happening and as those retailers deemphasized service as a cost avoidance, Best Buy embraced it as as their lifeline.  They retrained their salespeople, formed the Geek Squad, reshaped their stores, kept changing their product assortment and through it all kept the focus on SERVICE. Perhaps their best service positioning  "Walk out Working" is  an adaptation from a joint venture with a European mobile phone retailer. This service plan makes certain that customers leave their stores with a fully operating device , ready for immediate use.

However, what's really happening at Best Buy is the result of a classic transformation to a culture deep rooted in Service Excellence as the road-map to competitive differentiation.  It is about understanding  your own Purpose and Values, identifying  your customer needs, pro-actively planning to satisfy them and continually seeking improvement by getting better at getting better. I continue to be convinced, that coming through this recession  companies that embrace Service Excellence as a defining characteristic of who they are and make Service their hallmark, will be best positioned for a strong recovery.

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How you do... What you do gives us hope in what is perhaps the most comprehensive book published in awhile on the topic of transforming your culture into one that is renowned for Service Excellence. 

"How You Do What You Do", by Bob Livingston

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