Geek Squad celebrates 20 extraordinary years this month. In honor of this birthday milestone, we pulled together a group of Agents to talk about their careers. While their motives for joining the illustrious ranks of Geek Squad varied, their career trajectory within Geek Squad and Best Buy has been a journey filled with passion for technology and the desire to deliver extraordinary service. And Internet cats, too.Read more...
Good news! I am happy to announce we have implemented three ideas from Best Buy IdeaX.
This is a great win for our customers, employees and company.Read more...
While the internet is an amazing place, there are also nefarious websites, online scams, computer viruses and spyware. Here are a few online tips to help you to fully enjoy your online experience.Read more...
When I describe our team, others have an internal framework to understand what is meant by common titles of supervisor, etc. However, when I discuss the role of “Connector,” some jump to “community manager,” others to “contact center agent” and some to “business analyst.” The truth is, elements of all are intertwined in the connector position.Read more...
Best Buy has been actively engaging online since early 2008. Social media is an exciting channel that provides great insights and ideas to enhance our customers’ experience. Best Buy IdeaX allows customers and employees to share, discuss and rate ideas. Individuals can post ideas that they think will enhance the Best Buy experience. Others can then comment on their idea, and if they think it's a good one, they can vote for it. Got an idea? Then please join the conversation!
The focus of this site is for new products and service. If you are looking for product recommendations, technical support or customer service, please visit Best Buy Unboxed, our Community Forum.
This blog post was authored by Community Connector, Mike-BBY.
The world changed on September 11, 2001. A bright morning, full of promise and innocence, was darkened by clouds of ash and debris. When first one, then both towers fell in New York, it was as if the heart of the nation fell with it. But ours is a nation resolute. Since the days of our founders, adversity has brought out strength, fidelity, and unity. Through the terror and confusion we became, in a way unlike any this generation has since seen, the United States.
This Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the day the country came together. We will never forget the men, women, and children who lost their lives. We will always remember the heroes who gave all that others might be safe. What greater tribute can there be to these lives than to put aside our lives for a day and serve others?
Best Buy has donated $500,000 to MyGoodDeed in support of the 9/11 National Day of Service to help with projects across the nation. In addition, Best Buy is supporting local service projects in the Minneapolis and Chicago areas. At 9 AM on Saturday, a day of service is kicking off with a rally at Victory Memorial Park in north Minneapolis. After the rally, service projects will take place at Victory Memorial, as well as Folwell and Theodore Wirth parks.
On the following Wednesday, 9/14 Best Buy employees will rehab a home in Brooklyn Center, MN in support of Rebuilding Together Twin Cities in partnership with the 9/11 Day of Service. Regarding the events, Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn said, “We are tapping in to the spirit of service that runs throughout our organization to help transform this day of tragedy into a meaningful remembrance by pledging our commitment to service.”
We are honored to support this cause and honor everyone affected by the tragedy. How will you remember September 11 this year?
Update 8/26/2011 1:14 PM CST: Due to Hurricane Irene, dedication events have been postponed. We will communicate updates when possible.
This blog post was authored by Community Connector, Coral-BBY.
Best Buy, through the Best Buy Children’s Foundation, is supporting the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial with a $1 million donation. This money will support the historic construction and dedication of the Memorial and “Kids for King,” an educational outreach initiative designed to inspire youth to further Dr. King’s vision and mission. The MLK Memorial, located on the National Mall in Washington D.C., is designed to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and will expose visitors to his life and legacy. The Memorial will be dedicated on August 28, 2011 in a West Potomac Park ceremony on the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech.
“It’s truly an honor for Best Buy to help commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said Brian J. Dunn, CEO of Best Buy. “We are particularly excited by the Kids for King programming which gives today’s youth, and future generations, access to Dr. King’s powerful story and inspires them to live by his example of service, peace and equality.”
In conjunction with the donation and Memorial dedication, Best Buy is excited to share the Connected World at the Partners in the Dream Expo! Best Buy BlueShirts and Geek Squad Agents will be on-site to help visitors stay connected and capture/share their memories of this occasion. In addition, there will be a Best Buy Charging Station, a Best Buy Express Shopping Kiosk, and exhibits from local artists and community groups.
Event: MLK Memorial Dedication Expo: Partners in the Dream
Location: Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Exhibit Hall A
Public Show Hours:
08/28/11 2:30pm-6pm with official dedication starting at 11am on the National Mall
Update 8/26/2011 1:14 PM CST: Due to Hurricane Irene, dedication events have been postponed. We will communicate updates when possible.
For more information about the Washington D.C. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, please visit www.buildthedream.org.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and Best Buy wants to hear yours – we invite you to comment below to share your dream with all of us.
I love Lucy. As a kid I grew-up watching re-runs of the television classic. I Love Lucy starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William Frawley. The black-and-white show originally aired on American television from 1951 to 1957. The show explored the events of its character’s lives and blended slap-stick comedy with musical interludes.
In my younger years, I watched I Love Lucy in syndication and on my VHS tapes. The comic timing was executed with perfection. The show also helped the new fledgling medium of television develop some of today’s common industry practices such as using three cameras to film and performing in front of a live audience. The show was produced by Desilu which went on to produce Star Trek, another of my favorite television shows.
Lucy’s character had dreams of being a performer; no matter what others said, she always worked toward that goal. From watching this, I learned that passion cannot be quenched. I harness my passion to help it drive my motivation, ambition and fulfill my potential. The main characters always had witty remarks and jokes evenly paced. As I watched this I incorporated the application of humor and jokes into my everyday life. It worked for Lucy, Ricky, Ethel and Fred, so why not me? While I’m not going to be found doing stand-up comedy, I’m learned to interweave humor into the execution of my personality and bring laughter to friends, family and acquaintances.
The episode entitled “The Audition” is my favorite. It was a re-working of the original pilot. In it Lucy does a seal routine – it is hilarious. I also love the other classics such as Lucy’s Italian adventure that results in her stomping grapes; her lunch at the Brown Derby with William Holden staring at her; and the Vitameatavegamin episode.
Happy birthday Lucille Ball. You created a television classic and your comic escapades still bring joy and laughter.
Video is the new voice of customers and brands. In 2008, Best Buy’s Enterprise Customer Care (ECC) department began proactive and reactive communication with customers on Twitter, Facebook, Forums and YouTube. From meager beginnings with a borrowed camcorder, Best Buy’s Social Media team began proactively communicating policies, procedures and support messages to customers. The videos are uploaded to the contact center’s YouTube page (http://youtube.com/bestbuycommunity),posted on the main page of the Best Buy Unboxed Support Community and can be found on BestBuy.com.
Over the past three years, the Best Buy Unboxed video series has grown to become a strategic differentiator for the brand. Best Buy’s corporate contact center is perhaps the only one in the world with a full on-site video studio – lights, HD camera, green screen, teleprompter and even make-up. The team’s Community Advocate is responsible for filming, editing and producing each production in-house – there is no third party outsourcing. Video scripts, music and graphic are all created either by the Community Advocate or contact center agents.
Through social media monitoring as well as traditional channels, the Best Buy Social Media team identifies issues that can be addressed through the creation of proactive videos. There are two primary types for video: policy/procedure or product/technology concept. All videos are about unboxing an experience for customers. From firmware to smartphones, the contact center is there to proactively support through video by providing a knowledgeable Blueshirt to help customers and provide a trusted perspective.
It was determined that many international customers from Latin American were contacting Best Buy in the Spanish language wanting to place orders on BestBuy.com Espanol for pick-up in the United States. Some customers were coming for short visits and wanted to pick-up product while in the US while others wanted to send gifts to relatives. The process to accomplish this on BestBuy.com Espanol can be complex, resulting in many customer contacts and failed orders. Seeing a need the ECC Social Media team made a video, featuring a Best Buy BlueShirt to help customers through the procedure. Via video, we were able to walk the customer through each step in the process visually with a knowledgeable BlueShirt explaining everything in the Spanish language. When the video was launched, a graphical call-to-action was placed on BestBuy.com Espanol just below the navigational bar above the fold – this was prime real estate dedicated to a customer support message. It was determined that the video resulted in a fifty percent decrease in contacts regarding this issue. A second video explaining the process in the English language was also created. Now international IP addresses visiting BestBuy.com are served a pop-up window providing customers with the two videos. By listening to customers, the Best Buy ECC Social Media team was able to proactively support customers and provide increased efficiency to the brand.
The ECC social media has created other videos that focus on a specific product or complex technology concept. Best Buy BlueShirts from the contact center perform video unboxings of many of the latest and greatest products for customers. The unboxing videos of products like the Canon Rebel T3i and the Midland weather radio walk customers through product set-up in a step-by-step manner and explain the nomenclature associated with the technologies. Technology concept videos explain firmware and the importance of updating it and also highlight Best Buy applications such as Best Buy Mobile Codes and ShopKick.
Best Buy’s Unboxing videos provide proactive support to customers and contact deflection in a one-to-many format. They humanize and personalize the brand by explaining policies, procedures and products in a fun manner to customers. Since launching in 2008, the videos created by Best Buy’s contact center have been viewed about a million times. Video is a new contact resource channel for customer support. and it is a low-cost option for amplifying a brand’s support for customers. Best Buy is leveraging this emerging medium to enhance the customer experience and deliver on our brand promises.
Since getting my first 35m SLR in high school, I have loved taking photos of fireworks. For years on the Fourth of July I would load up my car with my tripod and cable release. I would find just the right spot and set up my gear. Using what seemed like every shutter setting, I would attempt to capture multiple fireworks in one frame. Whenever I thought I had the exposure timed perfectly somehow something would always go wrong – many times it was my dog’s tail whacking the tripod. She loves going on adventures with me, but the sound of fireworks scares my little Doberman.
Tonight I will again load up my car with a multitude of cameras: SLR, DSLR, twin lens digital, Holga and a new point-and-shoot. Okay, some may think traveling with five cameras is excessive, but I have found it provides me the range of photography I may want to capture. My new point-and-shoot has a fireworks mode so I am excited to see how it performs.
A few tips I have learned over the years for taking pictures of fireworks are:
1) use a tripod to steady your photo
2) don’t use a flash
3) don’t try during the finale because there is too much light
4) keep your shutter open longer and you can capture more than one burst in the photo
5) try to position yourself away from bright lights as they can show up in your photo
6) try to be apart from the crowd to avoid having someone hit the tripod
What other tips are there for capturing memories on the Fourth of July?
Today, I am thrilled to announce Best Buy’s Twelpforce program will be transitioning to the management of Enterprise Customer Care (ECC). I am happy to add Twelpforce to ECC’s award winning portfolio of online community management. When I learned about the initial idea for Twelpforce in early 2009, I was excited about how wholeheartedly Best Buy was embracing social media. Since Twelpforce’s launch, members of the ECC social media team (the Community Connectors who participate on this and other communities) have participated through tweeting and helping create the weekly Twelpforce report. The Twelpforce movement has helped move Best Buy further into social media and helped us serve our customers in a new, emerging contact channel.
Over the next few months, I hope to expand the horizons of Twelpforce so that we can continue to connect and assist our customers in new and novel ways. Twelpforce is a key differentiator for the Best Buy brand. Thank you to all the Twelpforce members and other partners who have made it a wondrous success. I look forward to crossing new horizons together and continuing to grow the bold adventure of Twelpforce.
How would you like to see Twelpforce continue to grow?
“What’s on your mind?” It is a simple question that Facebook poses to its 500 million registered members every day. And half of them respond. That is a remarkable number for engagement.
Facebook’s infrastructure is great at achieving the site’s objectives of connecting friends and facilitating their sharing of updates, pictures and video. However, companies are increasingly turning to Facebook as an advertising and marketing tool. Best Buy has several Facebook pages, many of which are either moderated or monitored by the Community Connector team which also moderates the Best Buy Community.
Facebook’s new feeds provide marketers with the ability to publish messages through status updates. Admins of Facebook pages can review and analyze data about the number of comments, ‘likes’, and activity their page receives. Many brands post status updates throughout the week that are commented on by their fan base.
Best Buy empowers all of its employees to utilize social media to serve our customers. Many Best Buy stores have their own Facebook page for their locations; some even have Facebook pages for individual departments within their store. Many of the product categories, such as Movies and Music, have their own Facebook pages as well.
At both the national brand page level and the local store page level, I am both excited and perplexed by the phenomena of brands on Facebook. For me, it raises a multitude of questions. Here are two of them:
Does Facebook facilitate an authentic and meaningful communication from brands to customers or does it only create an illusion of numerous impressions?
Does having so many Facebook pages for a brand facilitate customers connecting with their local stores or dilute a brand?
I have wanted a tablet since watching Captain Kirk enter information into the Enterprise’s computer. In 2002, I purchased an early tablet PC - a good machine, but not the full Star Trek experience. When the iPad debuted, I knew I wanted one. However, not being sure as to what I would do with it, I waited.
My friends were inundated with me saying, “I want an iPad.” I even consulted the superusers on the Best Buy Community about whether I should buy one. My iPad fever peaked on Saturday night when finally in the middle of eating Szechuan green beans, a friend couldn’t take my whining any longer and said, “Go buy an iPad.”
Realizing it was 8:30pm and many Twin Cities Best Buy stores close at 9pm, we literally ran out of the restaurant to my car to drive to the closest location. Once we got there, I again ran into the store.
The store was busy, so I patiently waited to get my hands on the device of the future that I had been waiting decades to possess. I took advantage of the current financing offer and put my iPad, stylus and case on a Best Buy credit card. As my purchase was being rung up, I carefully opened my new productivity tool to inspect its technical beauty. It was a marvelous wonder: the melding of glass, metal and technology. I hugged it. It was cute, cuddly and I just wanted to love it.
Once I got it home, I wanted to set it up, but I realized my iMac computer wasn’t running the latest iTunes or Mac OS. Both are needed for the iPad to run properly. Alas, it was too late to go to Best Buy to purchase what I needed. My new shinny iPad would have to wait a few more hours until I could unlock its potential. Although I wanted to put it under my pillow to keep it close to me while I slept, I decided placing it on an ottoman was more sensible.
Not usually an early riser, I was up at dawn on Sunday. Counting down the minutes until I could go out and purchase the necessary Snow Leopard upgrade my iMac needed. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to purchase it.
Home again, I installed the operating system and the latest version of iTunes. Then just to be safe, I ran a virus scan. Finally, after a couple hours, it was time for me to connect my new iPad. I savored the moment of plugging in my new device. Setup took only a few minutes. And then it was mine to play with and enjoy.
Feeling a type of playful exuberance normally reserved only for the joys of birthdays and Christmas, I tested all of the iPad’s built in applications. Then I spent hours customizing my new best friend with tons of new apps. I found that indeed, there does appear to be an app for everything. To match the splendor of the iPad, I changed my desktop background to a picture of a beautiful rainbow colored rose. With that, I was done customizing it…at least for a few hours.
Having spent a couple days with it, I will now demark my life into two eras: pre-iPad and post-iPad. Okay, maybe a little dramatic. But I just love my new iPad. Being a bit of a compulsive accessory collector, I am sure I will spend the next few months filling up my desk with new iPad accessories.
I have a couple questions for all the iPad fans out there:
1) What apps do you like the most for your iPad?
2) What are the must-have accessories I need to fully take advantage of my iPad?
This blog post was authored by our Community Analyst, Jason-BBY.
We’ve released several new features lately that we hope improve your experience as a member of the Best Buy Community. Life can be a rush, and can be complicated as we consume, create, and share information in many places, across many platforms and devices. Check out what we’ve been up to:
Add Product to Post – When posting within the Best Buy Community, you may now search our BestBuy.com product database and add products to your post. You can use this to specify which product you are referencing when you have questions or to make a recommendation to other users. The post will then contain plenty of information about the product, including Ratings & Reviews and a streamlined way of adding the product to your cart.
Search 2.0 – You may have noticed automatic suggestions when you type a search term. Based on what you begin typing, you should receive clickable suggestions that may be the content you need. You can still perform a full search by clicking the “Search” button, and can also control more variables with the Advanced Search.
Quick Reply – In a hurry? Don’t want to wait on a full text editor to load? Try using “Quick Reply” instead of “Reply.” Quick replies are text only, but if you have just something short to say, it may save you time and streamline your experience.
Mobile Instance – You can now access the Best Buy Community on the go! Just visit http://Forums.BestBuy.com from your connected mobile device for a customized experience made just for mobile. The full database of forums and blogs that you’re used to in the Community are available on your mobile device.
Thanks to our partners over at Lithium for their constant innovation and their assistance deploying the latest features. We hope you find these features useful, and look forward to continue innovating about providing a world-class experience whether you’re here to do research, connect with technology gurus and gaming enthusiasts, or if you need support.
Innovation is the fuel that powers a company’s growth. At Best Buy we provide several outlets for our employees and customers to give us their innovate ideas as well as point out gaps in their experience. Since my team moderates and engages with customers on most of the company’s customer-facing online tools, we are able to compile a snapshot of customer sentiment, ideas and challenges on a weekly basis which is provided to a variety of business teams. Additionally, all customer service related issues are reported monthly to corporate, territory, district and store leadership. Individual customer issues as well as aggregate sentiment is leveraged by business teams to enhance the company and the customer experience. I am often asked to offer some specific instances the Community has impacted the Best Buy business. Here are a few:
Company Policy Change
In August 2009, customers on the Best Buy Community and Reward Zone Community reported that when they went into the Miami market to purchase iPhones, employees told them they were sold out because the store had just sold multiple non-activated phones to another customer. Since I previously worked with mobile sales, I knew that within the cellular industry bulk sales of non-activated phones were generally prohibited. I investigated and discovered that Best Buy did not at that time have a policy prohibiting this behavior. Once I alerted the Miami market to the posts made by our customers, I was informed they struggled with inventory supply because they believed there were exporters coming to their store and buying their inventory for re-sale in other countries. Since I am originally from South Florida, I was familiar with the situation they were describing. Besides the individual Best Buy customer disappoints we were unintentionally creating, from a business perspective we were losing revenue due to selling non-activated phones. Because this issue posted publically on our community, I was easily able to show corporate and territory partners that this issue was a pain point for our customers. Through partnership, within about two weeks Best Buy was able to effect a policy change that prevented the bulk sales of non-activated phones in the territory this was occurring. This was a tremendous win for customers seeking to purchase cell phones from Best Buy and from a business perspective, a revenue win for the Best Buy Mobile team.
In 2008, Best Buy introduced our Blue Label line of laptops which are built based on customer feedback. You spoke. We listened. In 2009, new Blue Label laptop models were introduced. We continue to invite customers to provide feedback for the next generation of Blue Label laptops. On this Community we have a Blue Label board dedicated for feedback on Blue Label products. Feedback is provided to the Blue Label business team for their evaluation and potential implementation.
Firmware is often a difficult technology concept for customers to understand. We noticed several customer questions about firmware on the Best Buy Community, Insignia Community, Twitter and other online communities. To help customers understand what firmware is and how to update it, we created a video that addresses there common customer questions. To date, the video has been viewed over three thousand times.
Recently, through posts on our Best Buy Community as well as the Lenovo Community (a non-Best Buy community), we realized that a few customers may have received computers without Bluetooth capability. In partnership with the Best Buy buying team and Lenovo, we were able to identify a solution for customers. This was communicated to customers in both communities.
Insignia Ideas Engine
Insignia is one of Best Buy’s exclusive brands. To invite customers to share feedback and suggestions on products development, the Insignia team gathers ideas through their Insignia Ideas Engine and their Innovate with Us discussion board. The Insignia Ideas Engine allows customers to post ideas and have the community vote for them if they like the idea. Currently, the top idea suggests that the Insignia team add a panic button to their Little Buddy Child tracking device. The Insignia team is currently evaluating their inclusion of this idea into future interactions of the product.
A few months ago I went on vacation, and while the location and actives were wonderful, one thing that impacted me the most was watching non-broadcast television. During my teen year my parents got cable, but somehow over the years I stopped watching as much TV and chose not to have non-broadcast channels. With Hulu and other sites like it, I watch a few of the shows that interest me on my laptop. However, I love news and science programs which don't often make it to legitimate re-broadcasting websites. After I get home from work, I generally work for two more hours while watching TV. Therefore, I decided to step into the twenty-first century and get satellite TV.
I chose satellite because its features seem to fit my lifestyle best. I now have hundreds of channels with educational and informational programming to watch. Once I started playing with the DVR functionality, I totally geeked out. While it may seem like a simple thing, I love being able to record the evening news and watch it when I get home. Now I don't have to worry about rushing out of the office and fighting traffic! I'm not exactly sure why I have three different jewelry shopping channels, but I can live with them. Thanks to my DVR, I can now pretty much watch any of the varieties of Star Trek whenever I want. I'm ready to engage in the re-discovery of non-broadcast television and the many wonders it offers.
To help Best Buy Community users locate information more efficiently, we are consolidating some of our boards. The Windows 7 and Home Networking boards will be consolidated into the Computers board. For sports discussion, rather than having individual boards dedicated to each activity, all sports conversations can now be found on our new “Stadium” blog. Our Twitter streams on each board will be customized to reflect the topics covered on that board.
As always, your comments and suggestions on other improvements to the Best Buy Community are welcome.
Do the possibilities of the future include 3-D? It certainly is one of the hot topics at CES this year! Several vendor booths that I visited, Samsung, LG, Sony, and Panasonic, included 3-D television displays for visitors to enjoy. Samsung also showed off the ability for their technology to turn regular 2-D technology into 3-D. Though specific glasses are required to journey into the virtual 3-D world, they are far more sophisticated that those old cardboard glasses that I remember using in the past. Today’s glasses are slim, sleek, and lightweight; I was even easily able to fit them over my normal glasses. One vendor, TCL, was even displaying televisions that showed 3-D images without the need for glasses. It provides about eight different viewing angles for a person to look at and have the 3-D experience. However, this is not ready for the consumer market yet.
The 3-D effect itself is impressive. I could definitely see how gamers and animated, sci-fi and fantasy film makers could harness this technology to provide users a more life-like experience. While at the show, I heard rumbling that some thought the 3-D technology was overhyped; I tend to disagree. Bringing this interesting technology into one’s living room is a technological advancement. While 3-D has existed for decades, it required the user to leave the comfort of their home and go elsewhere to have the experience. Now through the purchase of a 3-D television and a 3-D Blu-ray player you can have the experience literally at your finger tips in your home.
As an educator at heart, what struck me the most about this new technology was how it could be used to help educate. I can already image watching a 3-D documentary about the celestial heavens with planets and stars swirling in from of my eyes…close enough to touch, but not tangible to hold. This technology could also virtually transport an individual to the top of Mount Everest or the bottom of the sea. To hold in one’s living room the wonders of the world, ancient ruins or mysteries of the galaxy, that is the 3-D technology’s powerful appeal.
Will it be commercially successful? Does it only appeal to a niche market? What could make this technology successful is that it is not an additional unit that may only be used once or twice. The 3-D capability is incorporated into televisions, which since the 1950s have become central to American entertainment. This means while one member of the household could watch a non-3D (that is 2-D) program, later someone else could pop-in a 3-D DVD on the same television. However, I do see price as being a key factor to 3-D technology adoption.
I speculate that 3-D television is the just the tip of the iceberg as we move deeper into virtual technology experiences. So perhaps over time, its success may not be measured in the amount of actual units sold, but in showing today’s generation of children what is possible and hooking them into seeking virtual experiences. By enticing a generation into desiring more than a 2D experience this could help drive advances towards more user-friendly 3-D and virtual experiences.
Would you like to have a 3-D television in your home?
What programming content would you like to see on a 3-D television?
Since 1967, technology enthusiasts have gathered at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to marvel at the new gizmos and gadgets displayed at the tradeshow. Matthew, our Community Advocate, and I will be attending this year to see all the wonders that will be displayed there. To our delight, we will be joined by three of our Best Buy Community’s superusers who were randomly selected to go. I look forward to meeting hockeycanuckjc, mstng87gt and RealGeorgeW in the 3-D! Thanks to dedication by all our superusers and Community Connectors, this online Community is a thriving location for discussion about the latest and greatest technology products.
While others may go for the parties, glitz and celebrity sitings, for me CES is an opportunity to gaze into the future of possibility. Tablets, smartbooks, e-readers, power utilization, wi-fi, 3-D television, and memory storage are only a few of the technologies I look forward to learning more about at CES. I plan to bathe myself in the immense amount of information at the event so that I can continue to plan strategically for the continued growth of this Community. As usual, I will be tweeting, blogging and vlogging about my experience at the event.
What technologies would you like to know more about?
What technologies will help re-write the future of humanity in during this century?
Perhaps it was the large, illuminated “Let It Snow” sign I hung on my garage and forgot to turn off for three days that caused all the snow to start falling in Minnesota. While my significant other and I had planned on going to Madison for Christmas, last night after the news referred to the impending driving conditions as “hazardous to impossible,” we decided not to travel. So, at about 7pm we decided while dining out to have people over to our place for Christmas Eve dinner; nice idea. Then we realized we didn’t have any food in the house, any recipes with us, or enough ceramic dishes and, of course, the house hadn’t been cleaned since, well, it’s been awhile. We dashed around town, braving the grocery store the day before Christmas Eve. I did my best to remember how to make pasta fagioli and lasagna – two things I hadn’t cooked in years. The bakery section was bare, so we needed to make dessert too. Next stop; get a baking pan and then on to get dishes. The “snowball” effect of having a few people over for dinner was tiring. After a couple hours of running these necessary errands we were home.
While I am a good cook, I couldn’t find any of my recipes. I typed them out years ago on a computer, probably long ago donated. I know I backed them up; but on which external hard drive or jump drive, I’m not sure. I made a mental note that someday when I find them I should upload them.
In my kitchen, I reviewed a few online recipes and then did my best to remember how to make lasagna. I browned a pound and half of lean meat and then added in tomato sauce. I mixed up the ricotta with two eggs, some parsley and basil, which were both surprising difficult to chop, threw in a few spices, black and red pepper, a dash of rosemary and almost forget the nutmeg, but it made into the cheese as well. I greased the pan and started layering my lasagna; meat sauce first, then noodles, then a layer of the ricotta mixture, then more meat sauce and a hefty sprinkling cheeses; shredded parmesan, mozzarella, provolone and little asiago. I repeated this until I used up all the meat sauce and ricotta mixture and finished with a nice layer of all the shredded cheeses on top.
Next I turned my attention to making the cheesecake; couldn’t recall the last time I made a cheesecake. I found a new-in-box electric mixer in a cabinet, guess it has been a long time since I did any major cooking. I don’t even remember buying the new mixer. I mixed up the three, softened cream cheeses, and then I added in four eggs, one cup sugar, three tablespoons flour, one teaspoon vanilla extract and a dash of lemon juice; it mixed up nicely. On to tackle my age-old nemesis, making a graham cracker crust; I was never good at working with graham crackers. I mixed up the melted butter with the graham crackers crumbs and then worked the crumb mixture around the edge of the spring form pan. I ran out of mixture and had to make a second batch to cover the bottom of the pan. I then realized since I was using a spring form pan, I could have left off doing the rim of the pan. Oh well, too late. I baked the crust for a few minutes then poured in the cheesecake mixture and put it back in the oven to continue baking. I wasn’t sure how long to bake it, so I watched it closely and it looked done after about forty minutes; so I took it out to let it cool off.
I got to bed way past my bedtime, but the food is ready to be cooked on Christmas Eve. If cooking is something I will be doing more of, I will definitely need to look at redoing my kitchen. I would like a glass cook-top and a dishwasher that consistently washes would be nice too. Perhaps in the New Year I will invest in a updating my kitchen; I will watch for sales and financing offers.
After work today I will head home, driving over the river and through the woods to get to a hopefully cleaned house. I look forward to eating the meal we unexpectedly threw together last night. Ah, what would Christmas be without a few unforeseen challenges?
Growing up in South Florida, every year I would ask Santa for a white Christmas. I would go to bed on Christmas Eve hoping to awake to a snow covered lawn. Alas, every Christmas morning I awoke to palm trees swaying in the breeze and no snow. Well, lack of snow is no longer an issue since I now live in Minnesota!
Thanks to my significant other, this year I celebrated my first Hanukkah. I enjoyed learning about the story being celebrated and participating in the lighting of the menorah. And the potato latkes were super delicious!
Since my family lives in multiple states and internationally, we are using webcams to connect online and wish each other a Merry Christmas.
I love listening to classic Christmas carols. The Holidays just aren’t the same without hearing Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” Judy Garland’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” or Nat King Cole’s “Christmas Song.” Thanks to my satellite radios, I am listening to great holiday classics both at home and in my car. When I’m at the gym, I listen to other great holiday songs on my Ipod.
For me the Holiday season is about giving love and acceptance to all so that peace on earth may come about someday. With a planet of over six-billion people there is so much amazing diversity. We need to embrace it so that the meaning of the Holidays can affect us all.
I wish everyone peace and a joyous new year.
How do you celebrate the Holiday seasons?
This holiday shopping season, a portion of the proceeds from certain products will benefit the @15 Fund. If you go to any Best Buy store, or at BestBuy.com, and purchase items with the @15 gift icon, the @15 Fund gets a portion of the sale. This helps enable teens to direct $1 million to charities on the funds website, at15.com.
The @15 Fund allows for teens to pick which organizations are awarded and how much each organization gets. It is a great way for teens to support the organizations that have made a difference in their lives.
A full list of the participating products can be found here. This is valid for purchases of these items made between November 1st, 2009 and January 15th, 2010. Happy Giving!
This week marks the beginning of the Holiday season! With Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Year’s and many other holidays just around the corner, this time of year tends to get very busy, very quickly. My team and I are always here to help with questions, whether they be figuring out what the right gift may be, or learning how to use that new gadget.
Over the last few days, there has been great discussion over Best Buy wishing a Happy Eid al-Adha to those who celebrate that holiday. While there have been many compliments for our recognizing this holiday (which is this coming Friday 11/27), there have also been reports that Best Buy is not planning on mentioning any other holidays. As we have already stated, these reports are not accurate. This year, as we did in 2007 and 2008, Best Buy will be wishing people a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah and other holiday greetings. With stores in the United States, Canada, Mexico, China and Europe, Best Buy recognizes that our customers and employees celebrate a variety of holidays. It is one of Best Buy’s core values to show respect to our customers and employees. It is by doing this that we are able to meet our customers’ unique needs and honor their differences.
As for myself, I am planning on celebrating Thanksgiving this week with my extended family. Since my significant other’s family is Jewish, I am eagerly anticipating celebrating my first Hanukkah and introducing them to my traditions surrounding Buon Natale and Christmas.
To all, have a safe and happy holiday season!
Last week we expanded our community engagements by launching a forum on the new Best Buy® Mobile website at www.bestbuymobile.com! The new website is a valuable resource loaded with news, reviews and conversations about the latest smart phones and mobile technology.
The new forum is a place where you can talk to us — and to each other — about the latest mobile phones, apps, accessories and more. It's a place to ask questions and to exchange ideas, information, opinions and tips with other technology users and mobile phone fans. We want to hear from you!
We’re excited to grow our mobile community on this innovative new website. The hope is to share all we know about the world of mobile phones and to learn from you. So, please, feel free to leave comments or suggestions about the new forum. We’ll see you there!
Each year at their Conference & Exhibition, the Direct Marketing Association awards companies or individuals for outstanding achievements in the multichannel direct marketing process. We are pleased to announce that Best Buy has been named the 2009 Marketer of the Year!
The award praises Best Buy for our commitment to new ideas and for our focus on enhancing customers' enjoyment of technology which has been instrumental in making us a leader in the retail and marketing communities.
The award specifically called out our strength in the social media space, including the widely known Twelpforce. In fact, several of our Twelpforce champions attended the event to be recognized.
Last year when I began helping Best Buy journey into the blogosphere, I never expected to grow those concepts into paradigm shift within the company. So many local Best Buy stores and senior leaders have embraced the possibilities of social media. It has been an exciting journey and I am glad to have played a part in it. Having Best Buy's efforts in the social media realm be honored by the DMA is both humbling and inspiring. Our Best Buy Communities team will continue to help Best Buy be successful by supporting our customers on our Best Buy Community forum as well as our many other social media engagements.
I am happy to announce the expansion of our Best Buy Communities' team's capabilities. In addition to our team of Community Connectors, we are launching a new team of Retail Marketing Advisors who will assist our Best Buy retail locations with their local marketing initiatives, leveraging the Retail Marketing Tool. This tool has been in place for over a year and provides access to pre-approved, brand appropriate and legally compliant marketing collateral to help grow their local business. Our new Advisors will not be participating in the Community Forum in the same way the Connectors do, but they do welcome your input about how local Best Buy stores can connect better with customers through both traditional and new marketing means.
What can your local Best Buy store do to reach your specific community?
John created a graphic that visually displays what our team does. The Community will have its one year anniversary on Sept 18. We are very excited. Our Community, Best Buy Unboxed, as grown tremendously over the last year. I am happy that we can facilitate connections and support customers. Comments on the graphic are invited.
My team I were honored by receiving Best Buy's Chairman Innovation Award, Honorable Mention. This is Best Buy highest accolade and I am pleased and delighted to have received it. I would like to thank my team for helping make this possible. Through their tireless efforts, we have been able to expand the Best Buy brand in the blogosphere in ways unlike any other company. This award gives our team and the entire Consumer Relations department great exposure within the company, showcasing the valuable work we do every day to support our customers.
When I started two years ago combing the Internet on behalf of Best Buy in search of customers crying out for help, I did so not as an alternative to our other contact channels, but rather as a supplement. My initial strategy was to locate situations that involved either a customer service issue or a technical issue and included the customer's contact information. I would then contact the customer privately, resolve their situation and hope they would update their online posting. While I was able to resolve several customer issues, customers did not update their initial online posting. Therefore, the online public never knew the ending to the story.
So I shifted my strategy shifted to not only help Best Buy customers, but also show the online public that Best Buy is a concerned and connected retailer who wants to have a relationship with our customers. I began by publicly and transparently responding to customers on behalf of the company. I reached out and offered to investigate the situation they posted online. This quickly resulted in both an online and offline dialogue with customers. When issues were resolved, customers updated their followers with the resolution we had worked together to achieve.
I expanded my efforts to helping customers on Twitter in April 2008, and we launched this Community Forum in September 2008. I now have a dedicated team who helps resolve customer service issues and technical support questions for our customers publicly on our Community Forum and Twitter as well as customers' personal blogs. Our goal is to support customers using the medium they are most comfortable using to communicate with us - although, I remember some time ago, a customer mailed their issue to our corporate office on a 2'x4' poster. We did our best to resolve this customer's issue; however, we did not mail back our response in the same manner!
Growth of Social Media
As more companies start using social media to support customers, I have seen some concerns regarding the level of support customers receive using this online channel to broadcast an issue versus a traditional contact such as phone, email or letter. It is not necessarily a difference in the level of tools or authority a traditional contact agent has; rather it is the difference in the number of voices that are invited to the conversation.
A traditional contact is a closed, two-way communication. Forums, blogs, Twitter, etc. open the conversation to a larger audience allowing anyone to participate. No single employee for a company has all the answers. By opening up the dialogue to both employees and the online public, customers gain access to both a company's expertise and the online public's knowledge. Our Community Forum is an excellent example of the mixture of Best Buy BlueShirt and Geek Squad Agent skills blending with the online public's knowledge. The Community Forum is a platform that facilitates conversations between employees and customers. It is a highly engaged community with the majority of the conversation generated by the community members.
TwelpForce, Best Buy's newest social media engagement, continues to facilitate the opening of access to the knowledge of our Best Buy BlueShirts and Geek Squad Agents. Technology is by nature complex. It is implausible to assume every time one of our customers has a technology question, they will drive to one of our stores. Twitter and our Community Forum allow Best Buy to be with customers on their technology journey as a trusted adviser, there to help support making their technology dreams materialize as the need arises. Social media tools enable a more connected relationship with companies and customers.
Many customers are still turning to traditional means to contact companies. I would postulate that none of the mainstream, commercially used social media tools convey as much as a telephone conversation or store visit. Someday in the future, video conferencing may eclipse the telephone conversations. My team and I will now strive to be pioneers in the use of video support for customers. We will do so with the same careful, measured diligence that has made us successful in the blogosphere.
The dawn of a new era in customer service is looming. The future comprises advanced technology that allows for the rapid and immediate connection of customers with both a company's employees, its customers and the online public. It is a bold step for a company to grasp this concept: to grow we must acknowledge we are a facilitator and an aggregator, not a beacon or panacea. While there are solutions Best Buy can provide, it is the facilitation of conversation from a multitude of sources and its aggregation into easily accessible locations that will continue to ensure that Best Buy is a leader in the field of consumer electronics and social media.
Today, Best Buy launched a new way for Blueshirt and Geek Squad Agents to connect with customers: TwelpForce. Customers can Tweet to TwelpForce and Best Buy employees will respond.
Providing support to customers on Twitter is not new to Best Buy. My team and I have been Twittering to customers in English, Spanish and French for quite some time know. I launched my Twitter, Gina_BestBuy, in April 2008. We expanded to other languages a few months later and eventually other programs including support for the Reward Zone program, Best Buy Outlet Center, Geek Squad and our Insignia exclusive brand. In addition to my team at corporate, some stores have also joined Twitter to support customers. One of the first was Bianca at store 221 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
We have had many successes through these engagements on Twitter. For example: http://tinyurl.com/BBY-Harte.
Twitter is an interesting social phenomenon. It cleaves thoughts into a Spartan 140-character piece. For me the mixture of grammar and syntax, the use of the lexicon, is an art. Therefore, Twitter's appeal remains a bit elusive to me. The concoction of words that take on meaning is powerful...the pen is mightier than the sword. Words form phrases which make up sentences that then comprise treatises - this changes lives. Only a few weeks ago, we in the US were celebrating the Declaration of Independence. It is hard to image our founding fathers putting that masterful document into less than 140 characters.
I do not doubt that Twitter has a place in our new world of rapid communication. The recent events in Iran attest to Twitter's utilitarian applications. Our team has seen the countless power of using Twitter to serve Best Buy's customers, and I am excited to see our Blueshirt and Geek Squad Agents enthusiastically jumping on TwelpForce to assist our customers. However, with the amplification of a voice into the chorus of the conversation on Twitter comes responsibility to live the Best Buy values and philosophies. These are the foundation for the culture of service at Best Buy. Each Tweet is an opportunity for us all to show how we live the Best Buy values and philosophies. I rise to the occasion as I know many will also. I hope that in the coming weeks and months, Twitter connects our impassioned employees with our customers in new and novel ways that we have not yet imagined. In the words of Buzz Lightyear, "To infinity and beyond"... a call to action in less than 140 characters.
Community user interface upgrade
You may have noticed some changes to our Community Forum. Last night our forum platform was upgraded to a new user interface. Here are some of the changes:
We hope you find the changes pleasant as having the new interface will allow for more functionality with our community in the future.
We're thinking about a new name for the Community Forums
We think it is time to ignite the community conversation for ideas on a new name. Currently, our official name is "Best Buy® Community Forums." We have been itching to come up with a new name for a while now. We really would like some input from our community. Have any ideas on a new name?
We're dabbling with the name "Technology Unboxed." What do you think? We could have the icons for boards be open boxes. Thoughts?
We're still learning
We also want to point out that we are still growing and learning. Although, we're rapidly approaching our one year with the forums, it is still new to us. We're open to your feedback. In fact, we encourage it. This is a community after all.
How can Best Buy improve its product offers, services and customer experience? From our online community engagements such as this Forum, we are hoping to learn the ever-changing answers to these questions. A great example of how Best Buy is co-creating with our customer is our Next Class laptops. "You Spoke. We listened." Best Buy asked students what type of laptop they needed to be successful. Their input provided direction for our newest laptops.
An exciting new way to join the conversation and participate in this co-creating process is to use our new Best Buy Ideax website. Ideax allows customers and employees to share, discuss and rate ideas. Individuals can post ideas that they think will enhance the Best Buy experience. Others can then comment on their idea, and if they think it's a good one, they can vote for it. The Ideax team also has a bi-weekly blog which they use to provide feedback about the idea submission to the community. My team and I will be helping moderate the Ideax, so you may see our comments on the website.
I believe that infusing the creativity of our customers with that of our Blueshirts and Geek Squad Agents will result in powerfully innovative ideas that will unleash a new horizon for Best Buy.
This week is the country’s 233rd birthday. As a former history major, I love America’s rich, passion filled history. I am planning on celebrating our Independence Day by watching a few movies that highlight America’s historical triumphs.
When I was a kid my mother and I would watch James Cagney perform as George M. Cohen in Yankee Doodle Dandy every Fourth of July. We would sit on the couch together and eat popcorn and sing-a-long to the patriotic tunes while we watched the classic black and white movie. When Cagney would tap dance up the wall, I would try to do the same. I, of course, fell down every time.
Any other recommendations for great films about American
When not watching movies, I will stop by Best Buy’s one day dale. We are having a few deals on Friday, July 3, 2009 only. If you are looking for a good deal on a tv, we have a Dynex 32” LCD for $299.99. I’m thinking about putting a tv in my basement and this might just work in that room.
And in between all that I will squeeze in sometime to go watch fireworks. It wouldn’t be the Fourth without them.
June 21st is Dad’s Day. Although my grandfather is no longer with us, every year my mom and I would get him a new electronic gadget. My grandfather was the genesis of my love for technology. All his life he struggled with vision problems. In his later years it was difficult for him to read his favorite electronics magazines and technical journals, so I would read them to him. He loved his big television and his reel-to-reel audio player. Together we would watch my two favorite movies, The Sound of Music and the Wizard of Oz, over and over again. I never grew tired of watching the same movies with him and he was happy spending time with me. We wore out several VHS tapes! Fortunately, today we have blu-ray DVDs which are far more durable.
For Dad’s day this year Best Buy is having a special sale that starts today and runs through Monday. There are several great televisions ranging from about 37” to 52” inches on sale and a couple blu-ray players. When I was growing up in South Florida, Best Buy didn’t have any store down there. Due to his failing eyesight, my grandfather was always looking for bigger televisions with sharp pictures for both himself and he was paranoid that poor picture quality would hurt my eyes. I know of no medical information that would support that, but those were his fears.
I wish he were here today to see the successful woman I have become and to see all the awesome technology advances that have occurred in the last two decades. If he was here today I know he would have a 50”+ HD television, blu-ray player and slick sound system. But tucked away in a corner, I know he would still have his old reel-to-reel audio player…at least I still do.
I have loved technology as long as I can remember. Before my father retired, he was an electrical engineer. While an intelligent man who can debate anyone on any current political issue or match wits over calculus problems, he has always been baffled by the most minor technology problem. As a child when the tv would stop working I would hear him bellow “Gina” and I would rush to his aid. Usually the culprit was dead batteries in the tv remote, occasionally a loose wire.
When I need to purchase presents for holidays and birthdays, I always think about the latest and greatest technology. However, my Dad doesn’t like techie-geek gadgets. My mother told me to get him an old-fashioned shaving soap brush. Well, okay but I also wanted to give him something that came from the heart. Something that could only come from me.
I decided to give him memories. He came up to visit for a week and has been helping me around the house, fixing stuff. Since we don’t get to see each other often, I bought an Insignia HD camcorder. The unit is small, lightweight and easy to use. It has a 5 megapixel resolution (that means the video it captures is clear to see), has a three inch swivel LCD screen that allows you to see the images you are filming and has a powerful zoom feature (8x digital). It also films in HD which I think is very cool but when I told my father, ever the engineer, he asked if that had anything to do with hydraulics!
Time slips by so quickly. I know every time my Dad looks at me he sees a five-year-old, little girl in pig-tails ready to start kindergarten. I want to remember the time I spend with my father. Making videos captures these gentle moments so that I can share them with him and others.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at the Community 2.0 conference. The event brought together a diverse group of individuals who work with social media. I gave a broad presentation that covered many of Best Buy’s social media engagements – from this Community Forum to Twitter to Ratings and Reviews – I did my best to highlight the wide range of the great and exciting work that Best Buy does with social media. If you would like to view the presentation I gave I you can click here to view the deck.
Yesterday, there was another great overview of Best Buy’s social engagements posted on the website “We Are Social.” If you are interested, you can click here to read it.
As Best Buy’s community manager I have been on this journey for the past fifteen months. My team and I live in the blogosphere every day. We do our best to showcase Best Buy as a concerned and connected retailer. We are accessible and transparent via our Forum, multiple Twitters and other locations. Furthermore, we put insights we gather from social media into action. This has been an exciting journey and I hope to continue to expand the horizon of social media at Best Buy.
For those who haven't read Allan's great post about Best Buy's new recycling program, I'm re-posting it on my blog.
This summer, Best Buy® rolled out a green initiative to 134 of our stores where a customer could bring in most of their old consumer electronics, and the Best Buy® store would recycle their old electronics for free. There were three categories where the customer was charged a $10 fee per item, but in return they would get a $10 Best Buy® gift card; the customer was not charged the $10 fee if the item was an exclusive brand (private Best Buy® label) item or in the state of California. The customer was limited to two items per day per household. TVs larger than 32 inches, console TVs, air conditioners, de-humidifiers, microwaves, and appliances are not accepted by this program. If the customer wanted to recycle a desktop or laptop computer they were required to remove the hard drive first, which could be done by the customer or by the Geek Squad for $19.99. If you want to see a video on how to remove a computer hard drive yourself you click here.
As of November of 2008 this initiative had removed 110,000 items from the waste stream, and I am happy to report that due to the success of this program and the positive feedback we have received from our customers, we started rolling this program out to all of the Best Buy® stores in the United States on 1/18/2009. As of Today 2/15/2009 this recycling program is in place in every store in the United States.
I was lucky enough to have lived in one of the test markets and had the opportunity to use this program first-hand, and I loved it. I was going to a Best Buy® store anyway to do some shopping, and I had an old TV that had been sitting in my basement forever so I brought it with me and I paid the store $10 to recycle the TV for me and they gave me a $10 gift card. Because of this program, Best Buy® offers recycling options for almost all of the electronics products we sell, and if you’re interested in seeing all of our recycling options you could find them on BestBuy.com.
Best Buy® Corporate
Last week Econsultancy posted a story on their website with a salacious title: "WalMart, Best Buy shun social media." As this Community website proves, that is a fallacious statement about Best Buy. Less than an hour after the story posted, I commented, "Actually, we embrace social media." I pointed out that their own website wrote a story just two months ago about Best Buy's open API. Econsultancy's Editor-in-Chief and CEO commented on my posting. Others from Best Buy and our partner Carphone Warehouse added their comments about the work they do with social media. In a comment from the author about the article he stated, "I neglected to do a proper Facebook and Twitter search. My sincere apologies. No[t] sic very professional and certainly not the way I want to start a relationship with your company." While I accept his apology, I continue to grow wary of the power of unfiltered communication. Too bad Econsultancy had not read my last blog, which was precisely about how inaccurate statements can quickly spread on the internet.
This false story was Twittered and picked up by Google Alerts. While myself and other Best Buy employees have debunked the claim, the title has not changed. Therefore, this grossly inaccurate statement will remain on the internet indefinitely. Furthermore, Econsultancy has not written an article that discusses Best Buy use of social media. We are a large brand and utilize many social media avenues.
Today, many print-base newspapers are going out of business due to the internet's rapid means of transferring information. However, newspapers were staffed by journalists who were accountable to their readers, their company and their shareholders. While there were occasions when incorrect information was printed, upon discovery corrections were made and the newspaper's reputation suffered.
Where is the accountability in the Web 2.0 world? Many point to the community. However, I am skeptical that the "community" can watch all websites and see every Twitter statement that flies across the internet. My team and I caught this false statement about Best Buy; there will be others. While we remain ever vigilant, I fear we are heading to a new era of yellow journalism - grab a citizen's or brand's name, make an accusation and then poison the public with a toxic accusation. In a medium where anyone's opinion and lack of research can be accepted as fact, I worry what the potential consequences.
Today anyone can go online to voice their opinion. Increasingly these opinions transcend the online space and modify events. It was only a few months ago that an ad on Motrin's website offended mothers by comparing the carrying of children in baby slings to a fashion statement. Outraged mothers (and others) quickly jumped on Twitter, and their outrage spread to YouTube and blogs. Within days Motrin pulled their ad. Congratulations to social media for quickly bringing this to the attention of Motrin.
Last week Bloomberg reported that Blockbuster hired a firm that deals with bankruptcy. People on Twitter picked up this story and started Tweeting that Blockbuster was filing for bankruptcy. This went viral within a few moments and their stock fell to $0.17. Blockbuster put out a press release saying that they did hire the firm to help with capital initiatives, but reports of bankruptcy were entirely false.
Twitter is a rapid means of communication that is unfiltered. Anonymous people can say whatever they want without repercussions. When there is limited or no accountability, what measures are there to protect individual citizens and corporations from false, libelous or slanderous accusations?
As fact and opinion blur, the consequences to individual lives will increase. Will the next false viral rumor cripple a brand to a point from which it cannot recover? How many jobs will be lost over a fallacious statement? These concerns highlight the imperativeness of brands actively monitoring their perception in the blogosphere.
I love social technology. And I am happy to join the online conversation on behalf of Best Buy. Joining the conversation today is more important than ever for brands to survive and thrive in the world of Web 2.0.
Today Best Buy announced an organizational restructure which unfortunately will result in about 250 layoffs of corporate employees. I am saddened with the loss of these colleagues. Best Buy remains a strong company and will continue to grow even during these troubling economic times. Today there will also be about 210 job postings which will create new opportunities for some employees.
My team and I have not been impacted. We will continue to support the users of this Community Forum. My team and I will also continue to engage on Twitter (Gina_BestBuy, BBY_Community, BBY_Comunidad, BBY_Communaute, RewardZone and BestBuy_Outlet); Facebook; Get Satisfaction; the Reward Zone Community Forum; as wells as dialogue with customers on their personal blogs and forums.
I view engagement in the online space as a huge growth sphere for Best Buy. It also helps gain insight into our customers’ experiences and provide actionable items to business teams so that we can make the changes necessary to improve and enhance our customer experience.
Today is a day of change. Tomorrow is a day of action. And the future will be one of growth and opportunity as Best Buy continues to expand its brands, deliver quality Geek Squad services and provide an overall inspiring customer experience.
I spent most of Valentine's Day weekend playing Wii. I am not much of a gamer; however, in an effort to relax more, I am trying to invest more time in non-work activities. I've started reading books which provides a wonderful escape. Gaming enhances the reading experience by providing not only a textual experience but visuals and sounds to enhance the escape experience. My first gaming system was an Atari 2600. Twenty years ago a small color palette, quirky sounds and flashing graphics pasted as state of the art. Today's gaming landscape is 3-D, high-definition and multi-sensory experience. One surprising outcome of playing the Wii is the soreness in my upper body. Playing Wii tennis, baseball and golf are giving me quite a workout. Remarkable for a machine that basically alters flashes graphics and sounds. And more importantly, I’m relaxing.
America’s offerings for consumer electronics decreased last week when Circuit City announced the liquidation of its remaining 567 US stores. While they are a competitor of Best Buy, I take no satisfaction in watching a major US company file for bankruptcy. Sadly, 34,000 Circuit City employees, our neighbors and friends, are losing their jobs. Unemployment is especially troubling in such a challenging economy.
This is a time of economic readjustment for the US economy. Americans have gone through these types of changes before. I have complete confidence in our country and my fellow Americans to weather the changes ahead. America rests on a bedrock of hardworking people who have a firm understanding of responsible behavior; therefore, we shall progress as a country and a society.
Trying to slow down my ever tech life, a friend gave me an old-fashioned, fireplace popcorn popper for the holidays. So after years of having microwaved or movie popcorn, I tried to pop popcorn in my fireplace with it. It was quite the adventure. First, the popcorn popper (which is not sold at Best Buy) was difficult to put together. I had to drill its wood topper just so I could get a screw in to hold it to the top of the popper. I oiled up the popper and put in popcorn kernels. Within a couple of minutes I heard the first "Pop!" It was bit challenging holding the heavy popper in the fire. I had to gently rock it from side to side to get the popcorn to pop evenly. After a plethora of popping sounds, I decided to take it out of the fire.
The natural popcorn was a nice change from microwave and movie popcorn. I added a little sour cream and onion popcorn seasoning and feasted on my hard labor. Afterward when I began to clean up I realized the popcorn popper's bottom was melting black paint on to the floor. I cleaned up and put the popper in the kitchen. It then got black paint on the stove and popcorn bowl.
Consequently, I've decided to use the popcorn popper as a decoration. It was nice to try the low-tech way of making popcorn, but I missed my microwave. Come to think of it, I think I will go pop myself a bag now.
The Holiday season is a time to reflect on the past year with those closest to us who can help point out our mistakes and our triumphs. Hopefully we move into the New Year a little wiser so that we do not make the same mistakes and also a little braver so that we still charge ahead when the future is unknown.
At the beginning of 2008, I was offered the opportunity to become Best Buy's first Community Manager and help usher the company into the Web 2.0 world. There was no certainty that this would be a successful endeavor or a permanent position. Best Buy didn't have a forum or blog. The company had never Twittered and most people thought that was a risqué term. When I was presented with the opportunity to jump into the uncertainty, I did so wholeheartedly. That is, I took the path less trodden by.
I launched a blog, began Twittering and helped the company move toward having a community forum. There were many internal partnerships that needed to be built, and policies needed to be updated to be relevant in a Web 2.0 world. I rolled up my sleeves and dug in. As I moved, I made sure to build a path for both English language and Spanish language conversations to start taking place online. Today, both languages must work in tandem for Best Buy to serve its diverse customers.
Achieving the launch of this community forum was the largest hill to climb. I recall having a conference with a senior director who looked me in the eye and said it wouldn't happen this year. Doggedly, I continued. One of Best Buy directors had been trying to get the company to launch a forum for years. He was instrumental to this forum existence. Finally, on September 18, 2008 the community forum launched.
My team and I manage and moderate this forum. My team of eleven is, in my opinion, comprised of some of the company's best employees. They are dedicated to championing customers, tirelessly researching questions and striving to create an online community experience for customers.
This forum is not for Best Buy. It is for our customers. We launched it to connect customers with Blueshirts, Geek Squad Agents and each other. This forum provides a platform for us all to dialogue in an open and honest manner. While I know not all users of this forum may believe that, I do and so does my team.
That's why I get up every morning and go to work so that I can help foster meaningful communication in an ever-evolving, tech-filled, complicated, and confusing world. We all need assistance from time to time with life and technology. This forum and our other online community engagements are to help all of us adapt to an e-powered world,one that is turned on and tuned in 24/7. To some, the new e-world is a realm full of techno-stress and frustration. If you are ever struggling trying to figure out how to make it all work together, that's what we are here for. To help and assist to the best of our abilities. So let's keep the dialogue going in 2009. Devices are only going to get smaller and more feature-packed, which translates into complication. We're here. We hear you. Let the conversation continue.
This Holiday season I had the pleasure of giving many gifts to my friends and family. While I also received many presents, the gifts I enjoyed the most were the smiles and hugs I received. While Best Buy doesn’t sell smiles and hugs, it does offer many entertainment products that help bring people together to enjoy a shared experience. In the last few days I have spent many hours in front of my tv playing DVD games with family. Challenging each other at trivia games is fun, entertaining and educational. I’m not the trivia buff I used to be, so I have learned that in the new year I might want to brush up on my factoids.
Recently Geek Squad launched a new website for questions about specific product models or sku numbers: https://supportopedia.com. The website is for customers and Best Buy and Geek Squad employees to come together and answer specific product questions. The team of Community Connectors who moderate this Community Forum (http://forums.bestbuy.com) also assist on the Supportopedia. By using Best Buy's open API (available at http://remix.bestbuy.com), the product models that are available on Supportopedia mirror the products on Bestbuy.com.
Every month I like to change the image on my desktop. I also like to have a calendar to quickly access. Therefore, I sometimes take one of my digital photographs and add a calendar on it. I use Adobe Fireworks to manipulate the photo and then use the text tool to add the calendar. If you would like to download my December ’08 calendar for your desktop, click here.
Despite the lackluster economy, customers came out in droves for the Day After Thanksgiving day sales at Best Buy and other retailers. Kudos to those of you who braved the long lines on your quest to find the product you desired. With the Holiday shopping season off to a good start, I guess it is time for me to start my shopping. I have family and friends to buy for and, of course, my dog too! I can't forget her.
I love giving gifts. Making my friends happy fills me with the holiday spirit! While my wrapping skills are remedial at best, I still enjoy the challenge of using scissors, tape and ribbon to conceal the joy I give to people. This season I think I am going to focus on giving DVDs, music and food. People like to escape from the worries of daily life, and movies and music let them do that. Food...well once you escape, you usually get hungry so it is good to bring along some sustenance!
We are one week away from one of the biggest shopping days of the year: The Day After Thanksgiving! While I do not know what doorbuster deals Best Buy® will have, I'm sure a lot of people will line up for them. For those who choose to attempt to take advantage of the sales, please remember to be safe. Also, the doorbuster specials have limited quantities. Once they are sold out, there are no longer available and there are no raincheck options.
I have never partaken in the Day After Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza as a shopper. However, when I worked in sales I did have to get up very early so that I could assist customers when the doors opened. Nowadays working in Best Buy's department of Consumer Relations I still have to get up early to be here at corporate to help support the stores.
For those of you braving the crowds on the Day After Thanksgiving, please remember to be safe, be smart and have fun.
For additional information, please check out our Holiday Survival Guide.
I just finished watching The Snake Pit, a 1948 film starring Olivia de Havilland. The film tackles the controversial topic of mental illness treatment. Having studied and taught psychology ,this film has been on my list of movies to watch. The film gives a shocking portrayal of the state of mental illness in the 1940s and graphically shows electric shock
therapy. The film concludes with a happy ending brought about by Freudian psychoanalysis. Clearly the film is dated. De Havilland gives a tremendously daring performance. While it is common for actresses today to bolster their resume by playing non-glamorous roles, during the 1940’s de Havilland took a significant risk playing a disturbed woman and being filmed with minimal make-up. While she was nominated for an Academy Award, she did not win. Best known for playing Melanie in Gone With The Wind, her career spanned the twentieth century and she is one of a handful of actress to bring home two Academy awards for best actress (1946 To Each His Own and 1949 The Heiress). I am looking forward to her return to the silver screen in I-59 South which is set to start filming next year.
In the lilting light I walked as it became night across a meadow lacquered in fallen, multi-colored maple leaves. Only in dreams had I imagined such a wondrous sight. Bathed in the chilly autumn breeze, I slowly strode on. The leaves beneath my feet crackled like an open fire. My hands, growing numb from the chilly air, sought refuge in the caverns of my pockets. Alas, I realized amidst autumn’s splendor, I had neglected to bring my digital camera. As more leaves gently gave way to the forces of gravity, I sighed since I could not capture a slice of nature’s majesty. But then I remembered...the cell phone in my pocket had a built-in digital camera. Oh joyous night, you shall be remembered forever thanks to my trusty friend! With the light fading, I feverishly snapped away. Photographs store so much more than a mixture of pigments. They are tangible capsules of life’s moments, large and small. Therefore, I shall not forget my glorious autumn walk. I think I’ll walk again tomorrow.
Ever been on airplane with the lights down low, frantically trying to finish that big presentation you have to give as soon as you land, but keep hitting the wrong keys on your laptop because it so dark? Blue Label™ to the rescue! Recently, Best Buy® launched a new line of products called Blue Label™ based on feedback the company has received from customers. You asked. We listened. The new line launched with two new laptops. The Toshiba E105-S1402 features a backlit keyboard, approximately 5.5 hours of battery life and a weight under five pounds. The HP Pavilion dv3510nr also features a backlit keyboard and weightless than five pounds. Both laptops have two-year limited manufacturer’s warranty and come with a full year of anti-virus software pre-loaded. To learn more please visit http://www.bestbuy.com/bluelabel.
HP Pavilion dv3510nr Entertainment Laptop
o Backlit keyboard for viewing in low light
o Up to 4 hours of battery life from a single charge
o Less than 1.41" thin
Toshiba Satellite E105-S1402
o Backlit keyboard for viewing in low light
o 5.5 hours of battery life from a single charge
o 1.2” thin
o 4.99 lbs
o 14.1” diagonal widescreen TruBrite® TFT LCD display at 1280x800 native resolution (WXGA)
The Autumn winds of change have started blowing the multicolor leaves off the trees, leaving the lawns a speckled pageantry of radiant hues. I was walking in the woods absorbing all the mastery of Mother Nature when I came to a fork in my path. Of course, I took the one less traveled by.
Business is also at a fork in the road: to listen and dialogue transparently with customers or to remain in stagnant silence ignoring the mounting voices. Where once faceless corporations dictated a prescribed doctrine, now the winds of change have blown open the doors to the corporate halls. Web 2.0’s bi-directional approach allows for communication between consumers and producers for the first time.
This blog is only one example of Best Buy’s engagement. We have Community Forums in both English and Spanish which serve as platforms for Best Buy personnel, Geek Squad agents, customers and the online public to share their experiences about technology. My team and I join the discussion. We also engage with individuals on their own personal blogs, Twitters and forums that are not associated with Best Buy. Our CMO Barry Judge has his own Twitter (http://twitter.com/BestBuyCMO) and his own blog (http://barryjudge.com/). I also Twitter (http://twitter.com/Gina_BestBuy), and we have a Spanish language Twitter (http://twitter.com/bby_comunidad). Our Reward Zone program has a forum as well on their website (https://myrewardzone.bestbuy.com/).
Best Buy has decided to join the discussion. One of the first outcomes of listening to customers is our new Blue Label products. You spoke. We listened. Based on customer feedback about laptop issues, Best Buy partnered with both Toshiba and HP to create laptops with features that customers wanted such as a backlit keyboard to make it easier to see the keys on the laptops. I wish mine had that! You can join the discussion about Blue Label on our Community Forum.
Blue Label is just the beginning when it comes to the power of co-creating with our customers. It is my sincere hope that we engage in an honest, constructive dialogue. I know traveling down this path will bring about both challenge and change, but that’s okay. After all, I always choose the path less travelled by
Today Best Buy expands its presence in the digital world by launching both an English and Spanish language Community Forum. While the emphasis is on customers helping each other, we will have a bilingual team of moderators both at corporate and spread throughout the field dialoguing with customers in the Forums. The forum is for our customers and employees to share their experiences with technology…the good and the not so good. Together we can learn from each other. I welcome you to join our conversation about technology and life integration. Let’s create meaningful communication together.
Originally posted: Monday, August 25, 2008
Best Buy has several Employee Business Networks (EBNs) to help its employees connect with each other and the community. One of the EBN’s I am a part of is WoLF – Women’s Leadership Forum. Last week WoLF held it annual conference in Boston. It was a powerful and moving experience. Many of the company’s executive leadership were in attendance, which was pretty cool.
WoLF resides on a firm foundation of company support and grows through its three pillars: commitment, network and give back. Throughout the world, there are WoLF packs and dens comprised of groups of passionate women and men who, to paraphrase Gandhi, want to be the change they wish to see in the world. For example, I am passionate about increasing female recruitment and retention, and WoLF has helped by supporting my efforts.
Without knowing it, WoLF was a great gift that Best Buy gave me (and many other individuals). I have been with the company for just less than two years. Yet through becoming involved with WoLF, I was able to meet people, network and build solid partnerships. This work helped pave the path to my current position.
Therefore, I would like to say a deep thank you to Julie Gilbert who founded WoLF in 2004. You didn’t know me, but you knew me. You saw the struggles of those who work tirelessly but achieve slowly - those who are stray wolves, but rise each day to challenge a world full of preconceptions. I found a home at Best Buy in part because of you. Thank you. You started a movement. I am happy to devote my time to help it grow and prosper.
To learn more about WoLF, please check out their website: http://wolfinspires.com/.
Originally posted: Monday, August 4, 2008
I thought I was losing my mind
I have worn the same shirts for probably about a decade. Okay, so fashion isn’t my thing. Tech-toys are. A few weeks ago I noticed my shirts were fitting a bit tighter. I thought this was odd. Occasionally, my pants have felt a bit tight, but my shirts? Then it got more severe. I was having difficulty buttoning some of my shirts. Frantically I rushed to look at my upper body in the mirror. Sadly, I had not become buff overnight. I kept craning my neck to see what the problem was. Did my shoulders suddenly get wider? Days later it happened again. If I could manage to button a shirt, gaps of skin were being revealed. I hadn’t gained weight; as far as I could tell, my shoulders weren’t any wider. What was going on? I assumed it was the first stage of madness.
Then a light bulb went off in my mind, the dryer! I’ve only been in my new place a few months and every time I dry clothing I have to keep them in the dryer for at least two full cycles. Ah, ha! I rushed down to the basement to glare at the culprit. The dryer sat there lazily and a bit dusty as it has for the past twenty-five years. Upon investigation, I determined that yes; the dry was the guilty offender who shrunk my shirts.
Well, at least I know what my first major upgrade for my new home will be. I’ll start saving up and checking our financing offers for a washer/dryer pair. Too bad Best Buy™ doesn’t sell shirts; I am in need of several.
Originally posted: Monday, July 14, 2008
The Power of Steam
The carpets in my new place are a bit dirty so I decided to buy a carpet steam cleaner. Since I am allergic to carpet cleaning solution, I was a bit hesitant to use the sample cleaning solution it came with it. So I began by just using water. That worked okay. The power of the steam was able to extract a bunch of dirt from my carpets. But my dog had made a few boo-boos on my carpet so I decided to increase the cleaning power by using the cleaning solution while wearing a face mask to protect me. The cleaning solution did result in a better cleaning job, and it was able to remove the boo-boos. So far I have done one room, and it looks remarkably better. I’m off to clean another…
Originally posted: Monday, June 23, 2008
Although I love to use technology to help make my life easier, every once and a while it is nice to roll-up my sleeves and get my hands dirty by doing something the old-fashioned way. A friend of mine is originally from South Africa. I like to help her make original South African food. Today we cooked koeksisters. They are a traditional doughnut-type desert that is coated in syrup. They are very sweet and sticky.
Instead of using an electric mixer or food processor, we decided to make them the traditional way. We sifted the flour, then added butter and mixed the ingredients by hand. This was a slow, but fun process. We then added water and continued to stir the mixture by hand. Again, it was slow and messy, but also fun and relaxing.
After the dough had risen, we did return to using modern conveniences to deep-fry the koeksisters. She has a gas stove and they fried up very nicely on it. We coated them with syrup and chilled them. Then it was time to reap the rewards of our efforts – they tasted delicious! The syrup left my fingers sticky, but what’s life without a little mess.
If anyone wants the recipe for this awesome treat, let me know.
Originally posted: Monday, June 16, 2008
A Few Wii Moments of Fun
While I love technology, I am not much of a gamer, although admittedly, back in the day, I was the highest scorer on the Ms. Pac-Mac arcade game at the Coral Springs roller skating center…oh, that dates me. With the exception of chasing Pac-pellets and ghosts, I lack hand-eye coordination.
While I try and warn people about this, they don’t listen. Last week I was hanging out with a bunch of friends, and I stunned them with my atrocious Nintendo Wii skills. I could see my friends inwardly cringe as I attempted to control two objects – the Wii remote and the Wii nunchuck – at the same time. Fortunately, they were all very patient. Since my hand-eye coordination is so bad, they thought I would do better with the Wii Fit, which basically turns your entire body into a game controller. Sadly, I performed no better.
But that’s okay! We had fun, and that’s all that matters. Games are meant to bring us together. They give us a few moments to slip away to another place - to transcend reality and approach upon special places in which we have magical powers or superhuman strength… places where we can live out our fantasies or just escape the harshness of reality for a few sweet hours. Come to think of it, I haven’t chased any ghosts or gobbled up any Pac-pellets lately. Maybe I should carve out a few moments from my hectic life to return to the simple pleasures gaming offers. Maybe I can play Ms. Pac-man on the Wii?
Originally posted: Saturday, June 7, 2008
Have you ever walked in a waterfall?
Two weeks ago, a friend and I went to Wisconsin to explore Willow River State Park. I love nature, and after the long, cold Minnesota winter, it was great to get outside and enjoy spring’s mastery. In a matter of a few weeks everything went from being dark and dank to lush and green. Now that the ice in the bodies of water up here has melted, I was able to walk in the Willow River (which is pretty cool because there are shallow parts right in the waterfall). Although the sun was shining brightly, it was only about 55 degrees outside. Undaunted, I stepped into the waterfall. The ice-cold water numbed my toes. I sat on a rock and kept my feet in the freezing water…I kept looking down and counting to make sure I still had all ten toes. After a while, my friend and I dried off our feet and went for a hike.
The next day I had a cold and a sunburn. How was I supposed to know? I’m orginally from south Florida, where you can walk in the ocean year-round. I learned an important lesson: no matter how beautiful it is to walk in a waterfall, my health is more important.
The beautiful park and weather also made for breathtaking pictures - okay, I had a cold so basic functioning was breathtaking in itself!
One of my passions is digital photography. I have a few cameras – both digital and 35mm. The one I like to use the most is my twin-lens digital camera. While twin-lens reflex cameras have been around for about eighty years, digital twin lens cameras have only been on the market for two years. Twin-lens cameras have two lenses that both have the same focal length. Since I prefer to take pictures of landscapes and nature, I have found that the images I capture are richer, more vibrant and give the viewer a feeling of actually being at the location they are gazing upon.
I’m going for a walk now...don’t worry, not in an ice cold waterfall this time!
Originally posted: Sunday, June 1, 2008
A few weeks ago I got an electric toothbrush. I decided I wanted to get one last year, but I generally move slowly on acquisitions. Well, I am very glad I got it. It is great! After I brush my teeth with it my mouth feels all fresh and clean just like when leaving the dentist’s office after a cleaning. (At least, that is what I recall it felt like…it has been about five years since I went to a dentist. I guess I’m probably overdue). The electric toothbrush times itself so I now always brush for two minutes at night. Way cool. Being the nostalgic I am I haven’t retired the old non-electric toothbrush. A few years ago a friend gave me a great tip about how they brushed their teeth and I followed his suggestion – I brush my teeth in the morning sans-electric in the shower while I wash my hair. I know it sounds a bit weird. But it works for me. Anyway, I think the electric toothbrush is way cool, I just haven’t figured out how to stop drooling while I use it. It’s late. Time for bed, but first I need to go brush.
Originally posted: Sunday, May 18, 2008
To Sling or not to Sling
I am pondering how to get the best out of my television. I like to watch tv, but it seems like I am never available when the stuff I want to watch is on. For awhile I have been using my DVD recorder to record the programs I am interested in. I then watch the disks when I want at home or I sometimes take them to the gym with me and watch them on my portable DVD player. However, I am looking for a better solution.
I am thinking about getting a Slingbox which is a device that streams your tv’s programming and allows you to watch it where you want, on your: tv, computer or mobile phone. All you need is a high-speed internet connection for it to send you the content you want to watch. An attract feature is that there is no monthly fee. However, Slingbox does not record the streaming video so I am not sure this the solution to my problem. I guess I will keep pondering. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks
Originally posted: Monday, May 12, 2008
Best Buy & Carphone Warehouse
Last week, Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse announced a new joint venture extending their previous partnership. Carphone Warehouse is the world’s leading cellular phone provider. According to information released by Best Buy, they are planning on having Best Buy branded stores and websites in Europe in 2009. This new endeavor will allow Best Buy to benefit from Carphone’s tremendous knowledge, which I think this is totally awesome. I look forward to seeing the two companies work together to fulfill European customers’ technology needs.
Originally posted: Sunday, April 27, 2008
Satellite Radio: Nostalgia vs. Time-Traveling
I currently have both Sirius and XM satellite radio. I have been listening to Sirius for years. I recently bought a new automobile and it came with XM. I always assumed they were basically the same. Well, I was mistaken. They both have some nice benefits. I enjoy listening to older music. While both Sirius and XM provide this music, they do so in different ways. It appears to me that Sirius plays more well-known music while XM plays a wider selection of music from a specific genre. So for example I like to listen to the 1950s channel. On Sirius they play the major hits by the well-known artists of the period whereas on XM they play a wide assort of music from the time period that is less well-known. Listening to XM makes me feel like I am listening to a radio broadcast from fifty years ago. Great music, but I only barely recognize the artists and they play few hits. Sirius on the other hand appears to play a smaller assortment of music, but I recognize the songs and the artists. It’s cool that for right now I have both Sirius and XM so I will continue to listen to the different versions of satellite radio depending on what I am in the mode for: time-traveling with XM or listening to old familiar favorites with Sirius.
Originally posted: Sunday, April 20, 2008
Best Buy recently started carrying Electrolux appliances. That is way cool. Electrolux was founded almost a hundred years ago in Sweden. I am in the process of furnishing my new place and I am totally psyched at having Electrolux appliances as an option to purchase. I am looking for a modern look in my new place and I think Electrolux products are very fashionable. I especially like their stainless steel. It looks very clean and crisp. I think when I decide to redo the kitchen in my new place I will want to go with stainless steel.
Originally posted: Friday, April 11, 2008
Maintaining Connections Through Technology
Relationships are the most valuable asset in life. They are the currency of emotional well-being. Too often we neglect our personal relationships due to