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April 15, 2024, 9:15 p.m.

Best Buy will use AI to help customers, cuts costs with layoffs - USA TODAY

Best Buy has implemented workforce reductions, including laying off Geek Squad field agents, in response to lower business demand, according to current and former employees who spoke to The Star Tribune in Minnesota. The recent layoffs at the Minnesota-based company have affected home-theater repair technicians and phone support specialists, among others, as reported by the newspaper. These layoff actions are part of a larger "restructuring plan" announced by Best Buy CEO Corie Barry during a February earnings call. The plan was designed to stabilize the company after a period of declining sales. Barry indicated during the call that the majority of the workforce cuts would occur in the first half of 2024 and would be spread across the entire company.

The goal is to ensure optimal customer experiences and reallocate resources in response to anticipated lower business volumes compared to previous forecasts. Best Buy has not provided a comment in response to a request for input from USA TODAY. Here is what we know: · Best Buy has stated that laid-off employees will receive severance packages. · The exact number of employees affected by the restructuring plan and the recent layoffs is currently undisclosed. · However, affected and eligible workers will receive severance, and some will be offered opportunities to transfer or apply for other positions within the company. · In a statement obtained by The Star Tribune, Best Buy acknowledged that the consumer electronics industry is constantly evolving, requiring them to adapt accordingly. · Best Buy has recently announced a partnership with Google Cloud and Accenture to launch an AI-powered venture that will enhance personalized tech support experiences for customers. · The company plans to implement AI-powered virtual assistants to assist customers with troubleshooting, delivery information, software management, and more. · This self-service support option is expected to be available online, on the Best Buy app, and over the phone starting in the summer of 2024. · Best Buy is committed to improving customer experiences through the utilization of AI and believes this new venture will contribute to that goal. · As part of their restructuring initiative, Best Buy is focused on making Geek Squad more efficient and transitioning Geek Squad employees to support Best Buy Health, which specializes in selling and delivering medical technology for in-home health care. Through various initiatives, Best Buy is working towards returning to a stronger position in the market.

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