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Best Buy Launches Learning Lounge Portal for Employees

The big-box retailer's online Learning Lounge is a social networking/training Website for its 120,000 employees.

Best Buy is launching its new Learning Lounge, a "Web 2.0" social learning community its employees.

The Learning Lounge program, linked through the Best Buy Employee Toolkit in-store, is accessible to employees anytime and anywhere.

It features interactive product information, e-learning, online message boards, blogs, social networking, and other media for its employees nationwide.

Creative Channel Services LLC developed and will manage the portal. Best Buy employees will be encouraged to use the Learning Lounge to directly influence their development path in the company, and to choose modes of learning that fit their individual needs and styles.

Employees will be encouraged to:
  • search, rate and comment on a massive library of Best Buy and manufacturer-supplied audio, video, e-learning and document resources
  • share their knowledge through Wiki and message boards
  • create and upload their own videos and other content
Andy Restivo, president & CEO of CCS, which also created, says he hopes Learning Lounge will "revolutionized how learning is approached at retail."

He says the long-term relationship is aimed to empower Best Buy associated "to become subject matter experts who can best assist customers with their specific needs and provide an outstanding shopping experience. The result will be more knowledgeable sales associates, and this will benefit Best Buy, manufacturers, and most importantly, consumers."

Best Buy has 120,000 employees in 990+ stores.

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Article Topics

News · Big-Box Retailers · Big-box Retailers · All topics

About the Author

Jason Knott, Editor, CE Pro
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.

17 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by anonymous  on  05/30  at  04:29 AM

I work for Best Buy and this learning lounge idea of theirs is crap, none of the tests actually cover whats in my job description. Why should I care about “Ray” and “Maria” wanting a credit card if all I do is shelve stuff in the back warehouse.

Posted by Michael Moore 1161  on  07/04  at  06:57 PM

Because we are all in this together and when a customer sees Best Buy on your shirt, they will expect you to have at least passing knowledge. At my store my warehouse guys can and do sell. Going above and beyond gets you promoted which judging from your piss poor attitude will not happen to you.

Posted by Katie  on  08/10  at  07:11 AM

You obviously have no motivation to be better each and every day.  The learning lounge is there to help you grow and to help you make better customer relationships.  There is a lot of room to grow in this company and I take offense to you being so negative.  Maybe you should find a career path better suited for you.

Posted by anonymous2  on  08/10  at  02:53 PM

Dear anonymous,
Maybe if you took the time to actually try to learn something, you might actually gain 2 advantages:

1. You wouldn’t be stocking shelves in a Best Buy warehouse.

2. You wouldn’t be working at Best Buy at all.

Posted by Mr Transistor  on  10/09  at  12:30 PM

It’s a new age for a new thinking. I’m a new hire and already I can see how Best Buy is leaps and bounds above the competition. It’s almost intimidating how forward thinking and how driven this company is…but if you wanna be there at the head of the spear you NEED support.

And with great employees plus the Learning Lounge, Best Buy has you covered.

Posted by Julian Hirsch  on  10/10  at  07:36 AM

OK Mr. Transistor. Why don’t you explain to all of us what a transistor is? If you don’t know the answer, you’ll love working at Best Buy.

Posted by Mr Transistor  on  10/10  at  12:06 PM

Julian, you made an error by assuming the level of my knowledge on technology. I’m actually very knowledgable on a wide variety of subjects, from modeling in maya to matching voltages on memory for an upgrade, and why the “stream processor” count on any of ATI’s modern Radeon series are higher than on an equivalent GeForce from nVidia.

Look, I know that this job pushes sales and services more than I originally thought it’d be. But that doesn’t mean that the employees here don’t know what they’re selling. There’s something I figured out for myself after I was hired…I beat out EIGHTY other applicants. Not because I was a better salesman or because I talked the tech lingo. But because my recruiter saw something in me.

So I may not be able to produce a definition forevery word you throw at me, or even be able to sell you any and every product in the scope of my department…but their’s something in me that I bring to the table that got me the job, and not the 80 other applicants. And for being able to see that in ME I thank my supervisor and only promise to replicate whatever it was that got me here.

(transistors are the building blocks for the modern microprocessor, as well as the chipsets (north/south bridges, memory, onboard devices) that support them on electronic circuit boards we call mainboards, used in various forms of electronic devices. specifically, they are semiconductors that switch or amplify signals from a flow of voltage/current.)

Posted by Julian Hirsch  on  10/10  at  04:57 PM

Mr Transistor,
Thank you for replicating Wikipedia’s definition of a transistor. At least you took the time to learn something, which shows me that you have a passion to learn.

However, the problem is that you should be able to explain and sell every product within your scope at Best Buy. That is why the pro’s put down BB because their salesman are not qualified.

Yet, no one can take your passion away to learn the business. Hopefully, you’ll discover very soon that your passion will go unrewarded working at BB, and your knowledge will soon surpass your handicapped supervisors. Presently you are performing a Limbo dance under a 5’ high pole, so don’t let their standards set the bar for you.

I wish you the best of luck even though I’ve been dead for 10 years.

Posted by Mr Transistor  on  10/11  at  12:54 AM

Well, I’d like to thank you for your input. It did not go unapreciated, and I’ll certainly keep my mind open to what you’ve told me.

I do respect my peers smile

Oh, and wikipedia is just an evolution of how we do things. Everything we think we know is still just our own interpretation, so there really is no absolutely reliable source.

Belief should never be forced. Knowledge should never be denied.

Posted by Julian Hirsch  on  10/11  at  08:17 AM

Mr. Transistor,
I’m sure the entire CE industry says, “Welcome aboard!” I apologize for busting your chops, but it’s all part of the game of paying your dues into this business.

Your original comments remind me of when I first came into this business in 1976 and began working for Crazy Eddie. Outside of building my own Heath Kit tube amplifiers in my basement and understanding basic audio concepts when I was 13, everyone knew more than me when I hit the sales floor so many years ago.

It was truly a scary experience… All of a sudden I was bombarded/forced to learn so many different brands, model numbers, etc.. The only way to keep up and get respect from my fellow colleagues was to read every stereo magazine I could get my hands on, and attend every rep sponsored event I could go to.

Within 6 months, I became the audio manager of my store location because I felt my job wasn’t over when I punched the time clock at 10pm 6 days a week. I did my homework even when I wasn’t working.

Working at Best Buy today is no different than working at Crazy Eddies in the 70’s. Thus, YOU have to take charge of your future if you plan on staying in this business as a life long career. You will be made fun of for working there, (as I was back then), but there’s no shame starting at the bottom and working your way up the ladder.

I hope you forgive me for busting your chops, and I’d like to give you some professional advice that comes from over 3 decades of experience.

1. Never lie to a client/customer. The art of selling anything to anyone is knowing a brands weaknesses and strengths. You can use either to your advantage.

2. The 2 easiest parts of your job is to show up on time and write a correct receipt.

3. Never promise anything you can’t deliver. Even though BB has full control of the inventory that’s available to sell and has set store policies which you may or may not agree with, always remember that you’re never selling a product… You are selling yourself.

4. You will not be able to close every sale. Sometimes people just won’t like you even though you’ve done nothing wrong. It could be the color of your hair, your race, your creed, the way you dress, etc.. Never take it personally. Any good salesman will tell you that it’s a team effort. If you see a personality conflict with a customer from the get go, don’t be afraid to “T.O.” (Take Over or Trade Over), a sale to another salesman. Since you’re not working on a commission, it won’t effect your wallet, but it will show management that you are a team player.

5. Learn not only the good things BB does, more importantly learn what mistakes they are making so you’ll never repeat them when the day comes for you to have your own business.

6. Always remember that this job is supposed to be fun. For lack of better words, you’re selling toys to adults. Don’t let people get under your skin if you’re having a rough day.

7. Get to know the players in this business and decide which ones you can trust, and which ones will use you because they are out for themselves. Again, we all make mistakes, but only a fool doesn’t learn from them.

8. Never judge a book by its color. Sometimes the people who are dressed the worst and do not have a strong command of the language are your best customers.

9. Treat every sale as if it’s worth a $100K. Even if someone is looking for just a $20.00 cable, give them the same exact attention you would to someone who is looking to spend mega bucks on a system. Very quickly, these little customers will refer you to their friends. Even though you work for BB, it’s very cool when customers come in and ask to only speak to Mr. Transistor. Management will quickly notice who’s catching the most fish.

Again, I sincerely wish you the best of luck, and remember everyone in this business should feel like they’re not going to work. We get to play with toys for a living instead of being locked up in some cubicle telemarketing where there is no room for growth.

Posted by Mr Transistor  on  10/11  at  07:57 PM

Without a doubt the soundest advice I’ve come across yet smile

At Best Buy #4 is refered to as a “hand off”, but I know what you’re saying :D And yeah, knowing your product and standing behind it, as well as being honest to the customer are essential skills for being a better salesman.

Thank you Julian! My name is Fabian btw smile

Posted by Julian Hirsch  on  10/12  at  07:30 AM

Now it’s time take you to the next level…

Regarding honesty, don’t be afraid to recommend a product that you may not sell. As you learn the strengths and weaknesses of each brand and/or model number, you will have a better insight on what really works, and what is really snake oil.

By doing this you will not make the sale. However, that customer will always come back to you first for your “honest” advice. Any successful business model is to have repeat customers. You will also soon notice that the companies that advertise the most have to because they’re always looking for “fresh meat.” They have to because they obviously are not getting any repeat business and referrals from their past clients.

Next, don’t believe everything you read regarding product reviews in any magazine. The sad truth is that any product can get a great review, (even if it sucks), if the manufacturer allows the reviewer to keep the “review sample,” at no charge that was sent to them. Even though most people will never admit to it, it is a very common practice especially in the higher end magazines. To anyone of those reviewers who may be reading this post, you know, and we know who you are.

Next, don’t fall into the trap of the worst sales pitch out there by saying, “I own this product myself.” Only do so if you really do own the product. Remember, big box store employees are only recognized/viewed by customers as a notch over a used car salesman.

Lastly, to help you develop you own client referral base, (I don’t know know if BB allows you to have this info), call back any customer within 48 hours who has made a large purchase and ask them if they are happy with what you sold them, and if they have any questions. This sales technique has been forgotten over the years, but it is still a common practice in my business and most other high end companies. Even though you work at BB, you can still act and work as a true pro.

I’m sure everyone else who visits this site for info is totally bored with our back & forth correspondences. However, as professionals, it is not only our job to educate a client, it’s also our job to help a rookie out because one day he might be working for us.

Don’t worry Fabian, one day I tell you about our secret handshake… Once again, best of luck to you.

Posted by Fabian  on  10/12  at  10:06 PM

Wow! Yeah, I’ve noticed it myself how companies pass off product reviews as opportunites to grease the palms of the media.

And also how they contribute to the success of companies that survive on the image of their brand, when in truth even the products without that brand recognition or media exposure are just as well suited to meet the needs of the consumer. They just might not have the benefit of a larger advertising budget…or freebies raspberry

So yeah, you gotta have the integrity to not be influenced by the freebies and flash n dash. But also…you know, the buying process SHOULD be exciting. As the consumer we, eh…deserve it! We SHOULD be shown the stars!

Just so you know Julian, everything you’ve told me has been very insightful. And a lot of it runs parallel to what I’m getting in Geek Squad training. And it’s true, it’s best to maintain connections with the people we’ve connected with. So now more than ever I’ve been made aware of how important it is to follow up, you’re so right!

Thanks again for your input Julian smile That secret handshake…does it get me into Area 51?

Posted by Julian Hirsch  on  10/13  at  01:54 PM

No, but it will get you invited to one of Julie’s Windows 7 parties.

Posted by Fabian  on  10/13  at  02:31 PM

At our store we were shown a couple demos on both the latest Mas OS X update (Snow Leopard) and Windows 7.

Both presentations were cool but…the Windows Guru had free egg n cheese mcmuffins and juice smile

So Julie’s got a lot to measure up to for her Windows 7 party raspberry lol

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