Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Voice of YOUR Customer Summit: Keynote: The Customer, the Brand and the In-store Experience

Greetings from the Voice of YOUR Customer Summit in Chicago! This is the original event that showcases the expertise, tools and advancements to allow you to master the VoC process- with more of an emphasis than ever on putting the customer at the core of YOUR innovation strategy.

Speaker: James Damian, SVP, Experience Development Group, Best Buy

Yesterday morning we heard from James Damian, SVP, Experience Development Group at Best Buy. Best Buy has transformed from a traditional, merchandise based transaction company to one of continual reinvention of an intuitive shopping experience that not only meets but anticipates customers’ ever changing needs.

James discussed the importance of forming a relationship with the consumer- how do we really get into the psyche of our customer? For Best Buy, it is all about getting close to the consumer to innovate, rather than innovating in the boardroom. After all, says James, “It only takes three blue suits in a boardroom to kill an idea.”

Best Buy practices a seemingly simply idea- practice good manners with your consumers. Their philosophy is to be open with their customer and show them how to use their products, and then people will come back to their stores. It is the “intersection of mass and class”.

As an electronics store founded by men, Best Buy already had a loyal male consumer base. However, they realized that not only are females about 50% of the population but they influence 89% of all sales. James and his colleagues got close to the consumer and invited women to create stores with them- co-creation- instead of the traditional focus group. They also did this with young tech savvy men to create a store tailored just for them. As Woodrow Wilson once said: "I use not only all the brains I have, but all I can borrow."

The heart and soul of VoC is understanding customer behaviors and lifestyles. Best Buy added their Geek Squad service- experts in the stores who can help customers figure it out. They helped customers by “showing” how not just “telling”. This built stronger relationships with their customers and higher loyalty. At Best Buy, the most important part of their brand is to never let the customer hang, never leave them at all.

James also emphasized that curiosity is so imperative in terms of breakthrough thinking and the distinction of your brand. And he left us ” The greatest threat is no longer change, it is complacency.”

We ended the first main day of the Voice of YOUR Customer Summit with a lively cocktail reception sponsored by Maddock Douglas. A special thanks to Maddock Douglas!

1 comment:

Claire-Juliette said...

Yes Best Buy is well connected to their customers. One of the tools that helped them develop a deep understanding of their customers, and develop offerings focused on their best customers is Personas. We talked about Best Buy and other companies using this technique/process at the June 18 event of the Carolinas chapter of the Product Development and Management Assocation. A presentation is available at (past Activities).

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