My First Interaction with The Geek Squad

On Sunday, I had my first interaction with Best Buy’s Geek Squad when my new Mac mini failed to connect to my Windows 7 HomeGroup network. I have to say the experience was disappointing to say the least.

This morning I got a survey from them regarding my experience. I rated them a 2 on the NPS question (what is the likelihood that you would recommend us to a friend/colleague).

Here were my comments at the end of the survey. Let’s see what they do with them. Ryan was the name of the “Agent” with whom I spoke.

    1. Ryan was clearly reading from a script. While I understanding your wanting to give a consistent experience to callers, it would be better if they actually cared, rather than reading me something that says they care. I have talk to other companies tech support in India who (while it was difficult to understand them) clearly cared about my situation.
    2. Ryan tried nothing to solve the problem and made zero suggestions. I called Apple (the problem was with a new Mac mini) and the problem was solved in five minutes.
    3. I really like my Best Buy experience and I am a promoter of yours (yes, I recognized you are using Reichheld’s Net Promoter Score concept), but this was my first interaction with the Geek Squad and it was quite disappointing, put me down as a detractor.

In that case, I want my blood back!

On Saturday, I gave blood as part of a Collin County Libertarian Party event. Today, I received a phone call and it was transcribed by Vonage as follows, “Hello I’m calling on behalf of Carter BloodCare to thank you for saving a life. Now, here’s a blood recipient who’s a lawyer today.”

Carter BloodCare - Be a Part of Something Great.

My first thought was that I wanted to go get my blood back!

Upon listening to the message that last sentence was actually, “Now here is the recipient who is alive today.” And, what followed was a very nice message from a non-lawyer.

As GIlda Radner as Emily Latella said, “Oh, that’s completely different. Never mind.”

Decoy Effect Pricing Example

Sage Business Partner Wayne Schulz of Schulz Consulting posted this great example of using the decoy effect in pricing options from the New York Post on my Facebook page. This is similar to the example Dan Ariely used in his TEDtalk about the Economist. However, in that case, the publisher seemed to believe they had made a mistake and pulled the ad when Ariely questioned them on it.

In this case, I think the Post knows exactly what they are doing. In addition to the dominated option (4 weeks for $9.18), they have also included two anchor products -  $2 for a single issue and $5 for a back issue.

Adding the .18 to the dominated option also gives it an air of precision and simultaneously draws your attention to it. I originally thought this was a bad idea and I wrote Wayne telling him that. I have changed my mind, I think it is brilliant.

I also find it intriguing that they do not list the price per issue of each of the options. Most subscription pricing options provide this. I think not providing it is the smarter idea.

The lesson for professional firms is that you can use the dominated option to influence customers to a higher or lower level (see the decoy effect), but only if you provide options in your proposal. A range of hours from low to high for the same result is not options pricing. In fact, if anything, it is confusing to the customer.

Imagine if instead of a price on an item in a supermarket, they just gave us a range. A loaf of bread would be listed as between $2 – $4. Once you got home from the store (I originally was going to write ‘got to the cashier,’ but that is not accurate), they would send you a final bill indicating that you paid $3.75 for loaf. It sounds crazy, but this is exactly what professionals do when they provide a prospect with a range of hours proposal. It is, in effect, an infinite number of options. It is confusing to the customer.

Don’t do it.! Use options pricing instead.