Does Best Buy’s Twelpforce Help or Hurt?

This morning I watched the new Best Buy Twelpforce commercial (@twelpforce) where a gentleman stands up in the middle of a football field and proclaims his need for a new tv. Best Buy’s team of people, known on Twitter as the Twelpforce respond to him from the bleachers suggesting an LED tv. He responds back that he’s price conscious and the Twelpforce explain they have a price match guarantee. Here’s where it gets interesting. Back in March 2009, Best Buy was charged with a class action lawsuit for providing financial bonuses, based in part, by denying valid price match requests. So, I posed the question to the @twelpforce linking to the Consumerist article (linked above).

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@twelpforce replied back:

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I understand that Twelpforce, as most twelpforce’s go, is powered my hundreds, maybe even thousands of people (look at those commercials!). My curiosity extends to wonder whether there was some type of approval process for determining how you get to join the Twelpforce (are there elite Twelpforce SEALS or Rangers?) and who answers what questions? At this point, the Twelpforce says it’s business as usual with their price matching shenanigans. The tweet was surely a mistake, right?

So do you think the Twelpforce approach is helping or hurting Best Buy? I’d love to know your thoughts.

UPDATE: Thank you to @bernierjohn, @TWELPFORCE, @rickmead, @Coral_BestBuy, @BestBuyDanvers. You all responded back quickly via Twitter to let me know that if there’s ever a price match discrepancy, to contact (888) BEST-BUY and the Customer Relations Department should sort it out. I appreciate the responses!

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2 Responses to Does Best Buy’s Twelpforce Help or Hurt?

  1. John Bernier September 11, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    I’m John Bernier, and I lead the Twelpforce initiative at Best Buy. I understand from your post that you’re wondering if our Twelpforce initiative has helped or hurt Best Buy. Let me arm you with some context to help your readers. To-date, we’ve responded to customer questions with over 7,500 answers, and we value each and every one of those interactions as key to building trust, and relationships with customers. Also know that we’re giving away knowledge for free, because we believe technology is getting harder for people to understand vs. easier, and we think we can help.

    As far as who is eligible to tweet on behalf of Twelpforce….everyone is eligible. We’re enabling our employees to take the customer service (and the brand to some degree) into their own hands, and trusting them to do the right thing for the consumer. Unequivocally, it is working. Will we make mistakes, yes. We knew that going in, but we’re ok with that, because we’re a brand made up of fallible humans, not robots. I tell our team that they only become mistakes if we fail to correct ourselves, or learn from our shortcomings.

    I’d encourage anyone to google Twelpforce to see some of the positive comments that have been generated from those who have tried the service so you can round out an opinion vs. basing it off the one interaction posted above, or by linking an opinion of Twelpforce to an unrelated consumerist article. So, please do take the time to check out how this initiative is helping us connect with consumers, I hope you’re pleasently surprised.

    Regards,
    John Bernier

  2. Nan Palmero September 11, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    John, thank you for stopping by with some additional information. I certainly appreciate you taking the time to respond with valuable information and I’ll certainly keep an eye on your Twelpforce initiative. I’ve had my own experiences with Best Buy refusing to price match for arbitrary reasons, so I speak with first hand knowledge. Knowing now that there are further methods to escalate the issue in the future is welcome, but will hopefully not be necessary. All the best to you and your team in your endeavors.

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