How Radio Shack earned my business

The web may be changing the way we shop, but there's nothing like a good, old-fashioned, face-to-face encounter when it comes to excellent customer service. Face it, sometimes we actually need a real, live person to hold something, look at it, and test it. No matter how good a company's online customer service is or how skilled their phone reps are, sometimes you need that tangible experience. 

My mom is technologically challenged. If it glows, beeps, or was produced after in 1985, she can't operate it. So, when her smartphone wouldn't charge, I had to step in to handle the problem.

After I got the phone from her, I happened to be driving past a Best Buy. Not knowing if the issue was with the phone or the charger, I stepped in to see if someone there could detect the glitch. After standing in a long line in the mobile phone department, I finally saw a clerk and was able ask if the line was just for activations or if they could help me with a problem. He promptly answered, "No, we just activate phones. You'll have to call Virgin Mobile directly." Oh goody.

Upon driving home, I happened to remember that there was a Radio Shack nearby. I pulled right up front and walked into the tiny store. Two clerks were there and I told one of them, Mike, the problem. He took a new charger out of the packaging and plugged one end into the phone and the other into an outlet. Voila! That pretty, little, charging battery icon showed up and I was good to go.

At that point, I didn't care how much the charger was. I didn't care if I could get it cheaper online. I just wanted to reward Mike with my business. He made the effort to troubleshoot the problem and, because of that, I could return a working phone to my mom. Isn't that what customer service should be?

Although Radio Shack is a big company, the size of its stores still give it that small town, Main Street feel. And, I certainly got Main Street service--something that Best Buy clearly wasn't interested in providing. Because of Mike, I'll be returning to that Radio Shack for all my future needs. No doubt about it.

Have you had a customer service experience at a chain store that made you feel like you were shopping at a Mom and Pop shop?  Do experiences like this make you more devoted to a particular store or brand?  Or am I old school by wanting to have a real, live person fix my problem for me?


  1. Hi Amber, I'm a big fan of Radio Shack. There is a reason why that store has survived when others such as Circuit City and CompUSA have failed.

    Radio Shack has great deals on tech, but they also have staff who will try to help you. That's a great thing.

    I encourage people to visit their local Radio Shack and get to know the staff there. Not all workers are equally knowledgeable, but when you find one who is, you have discovered gold.

    I'm glad it worked out for you, Amber.

  2. Hey Carolyn!

    Yeah, there's a big difference with replacing a $200 phone or a $25 charger. You want to know what the problem is before you buy blindly from the web. Mike isolated the problem for me and, luckily, it was an inexpensive remedy.

    I know they tried to rebrand themselves a few years back as "The Shack," which didn't really work. And compared to megastores, they don't have the inventory, but I so appreciated the customer service. That's a game changer for me! I'll be going back for sure.

    Thanks for chiming in, Carolyn! Good to see you!

  3. When our family phone plan expired last year; my wife and 2 sons bought new iPhones from Radio Shack. The phone for the boys were Christmas presents so the techs had to do some prep work and let us walk out with them and make sure everything would activate at the appropriate time. It was somewhat detailed and tedious, but they were very patient and did a great job.

    I concur with you (and Carolyn); try Radio Shack first before you to go to the big box store.

  4. Great customer service story, Bill! When you buy me my iPhone for Christmas, I'm glad to know you know exactly what to do to get me up and going ;-) #HintHint

  5. I've never shopped at Radio Shack, but service like you just described is what I look for, regardless of where I shop. I vote with my wallet. If someone's going to dismiss me, ignore my problem or treat me with customer dis-service, I'll take my business elsewhere.

    Your story and experience will stay in my mind...and I might even shop at Radio Shack if/when an opportunity arises. Cheers! Kaarina

  6. Well, hello, Kaarina! Good to see you!

    I was quite surprised and delighted by the experience I had at Radio Shack, And, you're so right, you have to vote with your wallet. Otherwise, bad practices will continue. And, good practices will thrive!

  7. Hi Amber, my name is Ricky Cadden, I'm the Social Media Manager at RadioShack. Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for the great writeup! It's really important for us to be ready to help, even if you didn't get your phone at RadioShack.

    We also LOVE passing kudos along to our associates - can you let me know which location Mike was at, so we can make sure he gets some recognition? Please feel free to send it to and we'll make sure he gets it.

    Thanks for being a customer and giving us the opportunity to help you.

  8. Hi Ricky! Nice to meet you and great to see a company engaged enough online to find my post! Yes, I will most certainly email you with the store information ;-)

  9. Amber, I love stories like this, especially when big companies find a way to make their employees great ambassadors of the brand. It's hard for any business. For the the big brands, it's kind of amazing.


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