Best Buy’s Allison Peterson talks ‘customer obsession’ at SXSW

Best Buy has always been focused on our customer experience, but we’re continually aiming to take that focus to new levels.

Allison Peterson is leading those efforts as our chief customer officer. It’s a role that’s focused on identifying and meeting our customers’ needs while also building a “customer obsessed” culture throughout the company.

Allison talked more about her role and the work of Best Buy’s Customer Office during a session at SXSW on Wednesday. Here are a few highlights from her conversation with Accenture Chief Strategy Officer Baiju Shah.

On why Best Buy needs a chief customer officer…

Allison: “We are on a journey from being customer-aware to customer-obsessed. My role in the customer office was established as a direct report to the CEO back in April, so that was really one month into the pandemic. The reason for that was our intentionality around putting the customer at the heart of everything we do and at the tip of the strategy spear, and it really aligned with a lot of our goals throughout the pandemic.”

On our company’s guiding principles during the pandemic…

Allison: “The first is to keep our customers and our employees safe. The second is around protecting the employee experience. And then the third is around coming out of this a vital and vibrant company. So, when you think about all of those guiding principles, this idea of putting the customer and the employee at the heart of it really made a ton of sense.”

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On keeping up with changing customer demands…

Allison: “Trying to stay as in tune with the customer as possible, and even get to a place where we’re anticipating their needs, is half the battle. We are constantly pulse-checking. What is happening with a customer? What is going on with what they need from us and how can we better meet those needs? … I think we know that the expectations are increasingly higher, and we are going to need to continue to evolve to meet them.”

On the growing role of digital experiences…

Allison: “I would say our omnichannel prowess has evolved significantly, and the way that channels interplay to support one another based on what the customer’s trying to achieve is probably one of the biggest things that we’re proud of in terms of an evolution.”

On the role Best Buy stores play in the customer experience…

Allison: “Our first objective and primary goal is that we want to meet customers’ needs in whatever channel they want to engage with us in. Whether that’s digitally, physically, in their home via the app, virtually, we believe we can meet their needs regardless of channel. That’s the goal, and we absolutely believe our stores have a role to play in that. We hear it all the time from our customers, the opportunity to come in and touch and feel and experience the technology, to get advice, to get support, to be inspired by what’s around them is going to continue to remain an important role.”

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