Market Research

Best Buy’s Innovative Customer Insight Program

Christian Vanek
2 min read

The Market Research Event:

Today has been packed with amazing information. The highlight of the day (so far) has been a Keynote by Bill Hoffman, a SVP in the Consumer Insights group from Best Buy.

The focus of the presentation was a new program at Best Buy which was created to solve a problem common to many large B2C companies: We have 180,000 employees talking to customers every day becoming experts to our customer needs — how do we gain access to that expertise?

Bill reports that they have 1.5 billion interactions with customers yearly. He saw it as a huge wealth of information going untapped while they spent tens of thousands of dollars on focus groups to give them information already available from employees.

So to solve the problem they designed a program to give employees the ability to send customer comments, feedback, behavior, questions and experiences into a database system (which they call VOCE). The data is obviously qualitative and Bill glossed over exactly how they analyze it. However, the results of the data are then used to discover trends and address problems they may never have known existed.

Even better, they are discovering insights that their competitors may not know, or at least not as soon.

Bill showed a few video clips during the presentation. One showed a number of employees using the system which is simply a widget available at any computer terminal in the stores using it. The employees simply walk over to the computer between customers and record any (and all) feedback they have about the experience.

This is obviously a great idea for retail and consumer oriented businesses, but with a little imagination and someone to manage it, I think it could be implemented in business-to-business companies too.

If you are going to try something like this, Bill’s suggestion is keep it simple to use. Apparently they met with various degrees of failure 26 times before they came up with something easy and simple to use! So keep innovating and don’t give up!

Off to the next session!

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