Monday, March 15, 2010

Goldilocks and the Three B’s: Birth, Backup, and Best Buy

March 15, 2010

We all know to backup our computer, so that if/when the time comes when we are faced with a system crash, we are prepared. This was my experience this past week as I primed the Marketing Mindfulness newsletter. When I left for Chicago a week ago for an exciting visit with my daughters – (one of them had a baby!), my computer was functional, albeit slow. After emails, posts and tweets were sent from my phone, I set up to work on a more expansive screen to send you this newsletter; that’s when my laptop screen went dark. While I had already planned for the investment in a new computer, I hadn’t planned to purchase it while celebrating new birth in Chicago. And with the help of my wonderful son-in-law’s expertise, we set out to Best Buy, where Steve, the store manager, “gets it just right.”

Best Buy’s, Steve, is like the poster child for customer service, and the impetus for this week’s Marketing Mindfulness newsletter. Not having access to my computer for a week not only disrupted your receiving of a weekly newsletter, (and I humbly apologize), it also served to realign the way I observe human behavior from a consumer perspective. If we take a mindful look at Goldilocks and her experience with porridge and beds, we could use those same adjectives - too hot, too cold, just right; too hard, too soft, just right - to describe my customer service experience this week in Chicago.

The hospital where my daughter delivered was almost “too hot.” The nurses were very attentive - almost to a fault – and were surprised that my daughter did not need much help with her new baby daughter. The convenient - albeit unimpressive customer service restaurant where we ordered carryout across the street from the hospital was a different story; it was figuratively and literally “too cold” – they forgot a meal and we had to wind our way back through the hospital, security check, 1 ½ blocks to walk, etc, and by then the meal was cold.

The requisite must-have doll and accessories at the high end American Girl Doll store in downtown Chicago was a big disappointment - re: customer service. As we were the only customers in a particular section of the store, I stood idly for several minutes (yes, minutes) two feet away from two young sales women who were intent on finishing their conversation about Randi, another co-worker who they were criticizing, (and who had apparently stepped on their toes.) I finally said: “Excuse me, could you help me to locate a size in this outfit?” Not only did they finish their conversation in an exchange that went back and forth 3 times (!), one of them pointed and gestured with her index finger: “You can look over there.” I was mindfully unimpressed.

If you don’t know American girl doll, it is the Chanel and Prada of little girl dreams, and it was definitely a “too cold” Goldilocks moment.

Best Buy offers it just right. As #66 in the Fortune 100 companies, Best Buy’s website says this: “…we think technology should serve the people, and not the other way around. Technology makes a lot of promises and we’re here to make it live up to those promises. For people.”

And had my computer not fallen ill, I never would have had the opportunity to rave about Steve who gave us the “just right” Goldilocks message. When I asked him about customer service and working at Best buy, here is what he said: “Most people think that we deal in electronics at Best Buy. I sell customer service, not technology products. I help my customers as if they were family; then you know they will always be there to come back and invest in that trust.”

While Steve shared with us more of his family-based consumerism beliefs, he ended by offering this caveat around traditional sales models and marketing messages. He continued by saying that old patterns that revolve around the axiom of: “Product Product, Product,” don’t work anymore. Rather he smiled, “I am like: Solution. Solution. Solution.”

Let’s take a page out of Steve’s book and be, “Solution, solution, solution in our work/life experiences. Please let me know how it goes, and it is my hope that you get it just right. :)

Mindfully yours,


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