If Circuit City can do it…

If you Google “Circuit City bankrupt”, nearly 1,290,000 entries appear.  You would think that news of a companies public failure would create doubt, animosity and a general lack of caring from the folks still collecting a Circuit City paycheck.  Yet, when I visited one of the remaining stores a few days ago, I had one of the best customer service experiences I have had at a big-box electronics retailer.circuit_city_logo

Here’s what happened:

Incident #1: I was looking for two specific pieces of computer gear.  One I knew I had to have, the other I wasn’t sure about.  I found the first one without issue, then set my sights on the other.  After finding a model that looked similar to what I had seen online, I decided to ask an employee, Eddie,  if it would work with my current set-up.  What I got from the inquiry was an insightful follow-up question that indicated a knowledge and understanding of the product that went deeper that the product cheat sheet.  Based on my answer, the advice I got was that the product I was holding would not work and I should not buy it.  Eddie then gave me options for resolving my issue – none of which included me buying anything else from his store.

One could argue that Eddie cost the store a sale and some potential profits.  On the other hand, I was grateful for the information Eddie gave so I didn’t buy something I couldn’t use.  I trust Eddie, and I would shop there again.

Incident #2: While checking out, I approached the register with one other person in line.  From behind a display, another employee motioned me over to her register where there was no one in line.  She initiated some small chit-chat during the transaction, and capped the interaction with a big smile and a sincere, “Happy New Year”.

I literally walked out of the store saying to myself, “I don’t remember service like that BEFORE they went belly-up!”

Not being privy to the inner-workings of the electronics giant, I cannot vouch for what has happened behind the scenes.  In doing some research (and there is plenty to go around), I did see various opinions on CC’s business practices over that last few years.  Understanding that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of all the ranting, I do want to highlight something that was made public.

On Circuit City’s own website, there is an entire section dedicated to answering their customers questions regarding the bankruptcy.  There is a certain sense of ‘up-front-ness’ that is refreshing, mostly because what we normally see is finger pointing and blame.

I would guess that at least at the store I went to, the management teams took this opportunity to communicate to their employees about what was going on.  In my Utopian world, I picture a gathering of employees and management, openly sharing ideas, concerns and suggestions and in the end, each person is better prepared and inspired to face the challenges ahead.

As a consumer, whether that really happened or not is irrelevant.  The service I experienced WAS real, and that is the memory I take away.

THAT is the true bottom line.

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