3 LESSONS JB Hi-Fi taught us this month

By Kathy McKenzie, Director FIRE UP Coaching

Ah the age of social media.  The marketing department of JB Hi Fi would normally be ecstatic if they had a spike of 70,000 people overnight hearing about their brand.  Alas hearing that it is because a Downsyndrome boy was refused entry to their Brisbane’s Mt Ommaney store and treated very poorly will only have created a public relations nightmare.

Hindsight as we all know is 20/20 about what “should” have been done.  The question is, why didn’t they behave in a way that showed compassion and emotional intelligence?

The reason is, because as human beings we can often see the faults in others but our own short comings are called “blindspots” for a reason.  Because we just don’t see them!

What is the lesson for the rest of us from this event.


Always take a breath, count to at least 3, and give yourself a conscious trigger to take stock especially when someone is telling you that you are wrong. Stop, reflect and attempt to step into their shoes to understand their perspective.

Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices – just recognize them.

Edward R. Murrow

Notice if you have an irrational response to this person or situation and ask yourself why?

Developing an ability to self manage takes time and we need to be able to admit we reacted too quickly if we have, (as in the JB Hi Fi event) and step back and remove the emotion and rebuild rapport with the other person.


Develop your team so that responsibilities for customer satisfaction and resolving issues don’t rest with the manager.  Your frontline team is just that – the frontline – the face of your organisation.  Give them the training to understand the significance they have in the customer experience.  This security guard has just cost their brand in ways too hard to measure


Plan your communication and have consistency around the organisational value it reflects.

When an incident occurs with a client discuss the issue and have a clear strategy about how everyone will approach it.  What value does your response demonstrate?  Is it customer care?  Your planned response must be in line with the values your organisation has around the customer experience.  A response that is just a gut reaction will come back to haunt your brand, so make sure all your front line people know those values and live them.


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