Best Buy CEO Again Responds to Critics

Brian Dunn's public response to criticism by the media triggered a barrage of additional criticism from readers. He's now responded to those comments, describing them as "candid and informative-exactly what we look for when we reach out to you."

On the heels of critical media coverage about Richfield-based Best Buy Company, Inc.,CEO Brian Dunn fired back at the harsh critics through a blog on Best Buy's Web site.

The chief executive's online response quickly triggered a barrage of critical comments from readers-and Dunn once again took to the Web to share his thoughts.

“The response has been candid and informative-exactly what we look for when we reach out to you,” Dunn wrote in his follow-up post. “And I've been checking back frequently to read the comments.”

“Your collective feedback reiterates-in a very personal, passionate way-that we have work to do to improve our employee and customer experiences,” Dunn continued. “I know it. My leadership team knows it. And I want you to know that we have been, and are continuing to work on solutions.”

Dunn's first blog post appeared to stem from multiple critiques in the media, including a Forbes story titled “Why Best Buy Is Going Out of Business . . . Gradually.” Many of the comments posted below Dunn's post echoed the customer complaints outlined in the Forbes column.

While Dunn's public responses-and the decision to allow reader comments below his blog posts-opened the door to additional criticism, some experts suggest that the comments provide the company a roadmap to solve problems.

John Budd, a professor of human resources at the University of Minnesota, told Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) that even though commenters are frustrated, “that passion, that belief in the company gives Best Buy something to work with.”

Still, it remains to be seen what actions the company will take in response to the criticism.

Communications consultant Arik Hanson told MPR that many CEOs start blogs but don't maintain them-unlike Dunn, who has had a blog for years. And Hanson pointed out that many companies communicate with employees only through e-mail or a private Web site, rather than on a public forum such as a blog.

“But Best Buy has always espoused that all stakeholders are kind of treated equally,” Hanson told MPR. “So, in this case they're living that. [Dunn's] saying, 'I'm going to respond to these articles,' and he's going to do it to everyone at once, including his employees.”

Best Buy is Minnesota's third-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $50.3 billion for the fiscal year that ended in February 2011.