RadioShack: Can customer service bring profitability?

June 17, 2014

The RadioShack of my childhood (well represented in the 2014 Super Bowl commercial) was what I expected to see when I stopped in last weekend – instead, I found a hip, bright and spacious store staffed with two of the most helpful, informed and positive employees I have ever met. I was stunned.

Last year RadioShack refreshed it’s identity and visual system, including store layout and retail graphics. Then, six months later they changed their tagline to “Do It Together” – which is perfectly representative of what makes them unique and better than the Best Buy’s out there. Like Apple’s Genius Bar, these tech geeks will listen to you and work with you to solve your problems. When I went in for an iPhone upgrade, the store manager was able to simultaneously identify gadgets for other customers, send them in the right direction and even ring them up while he helped me trade in my old phone, choose the right plan, transfer data and activate my new phone. To top it off, their store policy includes taking the time to walk customers through reinstalling apps and verify a successful contact transfer, among many other things. He even called me the next day to confirm that my cell phone carrier had updated my account information properly. I couldn’t believe it!

The level of customer service and product offering impressed me so much that I was genuinely saddened when I read on CNN Money’s website that RadioShack’s shares are now considered worthless. How could that be!? This brand has done what others (like JC Penney, Sears and Kmart) can only dream about: They identified their point of differentiation, in a sea of technological sameness, and focused their brand communications, visual and experiential, on showcasing what they are best at: customer service. Finally! A brand that is eager to actually talk to and help its customer. You’d think that this would be a recipe for success.

Unfortunately, their turnaround plan requires that they close at least 200 stores in an effort to become profitable. I hope, for the sake of those excellent employees, that the company is strong enough to last a few more years, allowing for a full shift in consumers perception of the RadioShack brand and strengthen sales.

Do you think excellent customer service is enough to float a brand? And if so, what examples can you share?

blog comments powered by Disqus
Brandlogic and CoreBrand have become Tenet Partners — Where brand meets innovation®. More