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Consumers Tell Circuit City: Service Must Be Job One

Over at Consumerist.com, where Circuit City's woes and failings are a constant source of conversation, Meg Marco posed a question to community members: How would you fix Circuit City?

Circuit CityBrand-new acting CEO James Marcum got to preside over an earnings call that reveals a $240 million second-quarter loss and declining sales and comps. Given that, Marco said, what should Circuit City do different? Hundreds of responses flowed in, from the ridiculous ("Hire arsonists and collect the insurance money") to thoughtful and strategic.

Marco posted a summary today:

Hire people who know what they're doing. Offer a better selection of products that will interest high-end cash-heavy consumers, and staff your store with people who know at least as much as they do. Clean your stores. Hire enough people so that you can have a register open at all times. Concentrate on the products that people actually want to buy, like handheld devices, cameras, consoles, and other gadgets. Mop the floor and tidy up. Don't let your employees huddle in the back of the store. Make shopping through the website easy. Lower the prices on your accessories to compete with Best Buy. Find friendly people and put them to work behind the customer service desk.
Here are a few ideas I liked:
  • Stop pushing upsells like service plans, Firedog visits, extended warranties, and installation. While they're highly profitable, they annoy and alienate your customer base.
  • Partner with vendor companies such as Microsoft or Dell, who probably don't want to see the consumer electronics space become Best Buy v. Walmart. Use their cash and branding to refresh, renovate, and differentiate Circuit City stores.
  • Enable the instant-gratification crowd with a ubiquitous and super-easy way to order on the Web and take same-day delivery at a Circuit City store.
Much cheaper than a focus group! And probably better targeted -- people who post on these Internet message board thingies tend to buy stuff like computers.
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