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Bang & Olufsen Reviews

Updated April 11, 2017
36 reviews

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2.9
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Bang & Olufsen President, CEO, and Director Tue Mantoni
Tue Mantoni
17 Ratings

36 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Specialized and Versatile"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Bang & Olufsen full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Mind blowing visuals and acoustics within their own product line, immensely gratifying when integrating third party electronics

    Cons

    Lots of time on site and on road


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Swan Song for Bang & Olufsen"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Miami, FL
    Former Employee - Manager in Miami, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Bang & Olufsen full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    -Amazing product and legacy
    -Opportunity to own some incredible product
    -Day-to-day work is not excessively challenging
    -Very good compensation for retail

    Cons

    -Major company-wide restructuring, no idea if you will still have a job tomorrow
    -Denmark makes all the decisions for the America's... very much "hands tied" when you try to get something done.
    -The best people tend to leave, indicative of a company on its way out


  3. "It was a great job, but ..."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Store Manager in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Store Manager in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Bang & Olufsen full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    It can be a great work environment and a lot of the people in the company are fantastic. The salary for a retail job is also very competitive but not for the audio video business.

    Cons

    There is a lot of uncertainty with the future of the company. It takes the fun out of going to work when you don't know if you'll have a job tomorrow.

    Advice to Management

    This used to be a great place to work but it became pretty frustrating. Try to listen to your employees.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    "Store Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Store Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Store Manager in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Bang & Olufsen (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Opportunity to make money when business is good
    Great training program
    As an employee of such an esteemed and exclusive brand, you constantly meet celebrities and are viewed as a rock star by your peers
    Fun product launches
    Corporate culture is more European than American: you are not forced to work crazy hours, you can (and are expected to) wine and dine clients, there is an atmosphere of fun and togetherness.
    Small enough company that you know everyone by name in the entire US team.
    Very good 401k

    Cons

    Headquarters in Denmark treat US market as an afterthought.
    Products are at best unintuitive -and often impossible - for customers to set up. There is no Tech support for customers and certified installers cost customers $200 per man hour. Store teams are expected to perform tech support on site and over the phone and oversee installations. We spend way too much time NOT selling as we troubleshoot, install, schedule freight, update software, configure wiring diagrams, obtain obscure European parts and connectors, etc.
    Products take 10-14 days to arrive from DK to customers home. If it arrives damaged or defective there is another 10-14 day wait.
    Our customers are smart and successful, and no how to negotiate. Strong salespeople know how to hold their ground (on prices and services provided) when dealing with a famous lawyer or politician or lobbyist - but these professional negotiators will call around until they find a weak salesperson, and your 60k sale and its $3k commission will be sold by someone else for $50k/$1000 commission.
    B&O does very little advertising in US, preferring product placement and clientelling many people do not know the brand.
    CEO's are replaced often and US operations recently replaced its managers. Current management seems to care and says all the right things, but so did their predecessors.

    Advice to Management

    Budgets are always right, but maybe less travel/more WebEX meetings would free up some money for:
    US tech support for customers
    More installers with less mark up on installs
    More advertising.
    US warehousing of products


  6. Helpful (3)

    "Store Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Store Manager in Palo Alto, CA
    Current Employee - Store Manager in Palo Alto, CA
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Bang & Olufsen full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Amazing luxury Audio/Video products. Every day as an employee you get to WOW people with the magical experiences of listening to music and seeing video using devices that are incredibly beautiful. When they work (which unfortunately all-too-often isn't the case on first release of new products), there's nothing like them. The company is as much about design as it is about the quality of the sound and images.

    As Manager, to a much greater degree than I've seen anywhere else, they truly give freedom to make (many) decisions "as if it was your own business."

    Cons

    As mentioned above, far too often products don't initially work as described. Releases tend to be their Beta testing, to the detriment of their reputation.
    They're very proud of the fact that they can support the entire US with less than a handful of Tech Support people. But they are ONLY there for the Employees, NOT for customers to call. So, that means that you, as a front-line Manager or Sales Person are expected to be Tech Support for the clients. It's not unusual for you to have to go back and forth a few times to relay messages between Tech Support and your Client. This can make you look ignorant and frustrate the Client with unnecessarily long problem-resolution times.
    Commission percentages are a percentage of the margin, NOT gross sales. On the one hand, this makes sense because if you're going to sell at (or below) cost, there's no money left to pay you a commission on the sale. But with modest margins, even though it's a luxury brand with luxury prices, unless you are truly a top salesperson, you are going to have a hard time making enough to cover normal cost-of-living expenses in this area.

    Advice to Management

    Hire more Tech Support people so that you can open up your phone lines to customers who need technical support. This will free up your Salespeople to focus more on sales.

    Barring that, since your employees in the stores are not JUST Sales People, but also the front line Tech Support, they should be paid as one would expect people holding down 2 jobs are compensated. And since all of your stores are in very expensive areas of the country, the pay should also reflect that reality. You will continue to be hard-pressed to get top-quality consultative sales / tech-support employees if you're going to continue to pay average-for-basic-retail (soon to be less-than-minimum-) wages.

    Either fully staff your stores or adjust the goals to reflect the staff you have. Expecting a store to meet if not exceed a 3-salesperson goal (which requires in-home consultations in order to do more than basic retail "cash & carry" sales), while only hiring 1-2 sales people (so they have to spend most, if not all of their time just keeping the store's doors open for walk-in traffic) is unreasonable.

    Follow your own advice: under promise and over deliver. There has been a consistent pattern of promising release dates for products and then being unable to meet those deadlines. And when products ARE released, far too often, they are in relatively short supply, so after initial sales customers have to wait weeks if not months to get the next shipment.

    Pay more attention to putting a halt to those on your sales teams who are damaging your reputation. The top sales people tend to be those who "wheel and deal" - discounting products, selling products as damaged or refurbished, and discounting (if not giving away) installation labor.

    Recognize that when long-term customers have been dropped - either because they were pulled away by unscrupulous former employees or because they had a very poor experience due to their product failing to live up to advertised expectations and the front-line salespeople being unable to provide a timely resolution to the problem... recognize that that kind of damage to your customer base and reputation isn't going to be fixed overnight, or even in a few weeks or months if it's been going on for a number of years. Developing high-trust relationships with good, loyal, luxury customers - even in expensive parts of the country - takes time. In the luxury product environment, without high-trust relationships, the business will always be unstable.

    Provide your Store Managers with timely P&L Statements so they can know how "their" business is doing. Making them run "blind" for months on end and then complaining that they're not profitable and not taking enough ownership is no way to treat a trusted Manager.

    Improve your communication between departments. Delaying the announced launch of a product because Marketing hasn't relayed their planned Launch Event date to Production is ridiculous.

    Be more consistent with your direction for Managers. While you allow an amazing amount of freedom in terms of decision-making with regard to resolving customer service issues, you engage in an amazing amount of micro-management when it comes to ordering (relatively) inexpensive product and offering price-reductions on discontinued products... some (that were launched 11 years ago and discontinued 5 years ago) which should probably just be donated or written off as unsellable at this point.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "90 Years of History & Poor American Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Store Manager in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Store Manager in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Terrific Products which have always lead the competition in terms of innovation and beauty. Many of the people on the ground really care about their customers and the product they are selling, and it usually shines through in great customer service at the store level. You get to deal with clients who are equally passionate about the product, many of whom have lived with and purchased it since the 70s and even earlier. The legacy of the company is staggering, which is why my "cons" section is so very sad.

    Cons

    In the course of three years we went through that many "CEO's". Human Resources is out of touch with employee pain and suffering at the hands of area managers who seem to be given carte blanche to demean, mismanage and generally treat store employees like trash. This seems to have created a web of fear wherein employees are unable to do the most basic of tasks without worrying they will be written up for the most ridiculous and petty infractions.
    There is one area manager in particular who seems to be continually promoted despite losing four stores and twice that many employees who quit because they could not bear to be around this individual.
    Sadly, this manager is not the only inept middle-manager who seems stuck in the 80s form of “supervision.” Corporate constantly makes excuses for these individuals, primarily stating they are needed for their “skills” and “knowledge”. In the meantime the backbone of the company, the salesforce is leaving. I know for a fact many of the top salespeople who were there last week have left, and if they haven’t they are looking for another job that is more stable.
    At the end of the day this is a luxury goods company, and the clients should come first. This is not what happens here. It seems customer service would rather be recently left at the wayside in the favor of short-term “profit”, leaving longtime customers to become angry and confused. For a company which has been around for 90 years this is astounding to me. Unless B&O wakes up and realizes that only with great customer service FIRST will the big profits FOLLOW, they might not reach age 100.

    Advice to Management

    More than half of corporate offices recently was let go, but all the WRONG people were fired!! Talk to the employees at the bottom level and find out what your stores really need to suceed and why you are failing. Stop listening to HR representatives who helped lead the company to its current state of decline and have ZERO experience in the technology industry. Seriously why is an HR representative making policy regarding the sales programs in the stores when they don't even know the names of the product or how they work? Put that individual back in their cubicle to cut the paychecks.


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Danish Audio Video"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great corporate culture, exciting products and an excellent team of employees. Customers come from a variety of social economic backgrounds which make the interactions interesting.

    Cons

    Compensation growth is almost nonexistent, glass ceiling if you are not of Danish Decent. Company continually misses launch dates and then does not have the production capacity to put product on the shelf.

    Advice to Management

    Stop launching new products unless you can have the inventory to sell immediately after launch, otherwise build inventory then launch. People don't want to wait.


  9. "Product Specialist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Amazing sound and design. Passionate about quality.

    Cons

    Somewhat proprietary in nature, needs more compatibility.

    Advice to Management

    Diversify!


  10. "Sales Specialist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Bang & Olufsen full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Get paid to play with some of the most beautiful and well made products in the world. Selling a product the customer not only wants, but in many cases lusts for. Most days I would look forward to going to work.

    Cons

    Working on weekends and holidays. Very hard to earn more without fully giving up your life. If you don't work weekends and holidays, the times your target customer is in the showroom, you can't expect to maximize your sales potential. Hard to spend any significant quality time with your family.

    Advice to Management

    I cultivated many leads doing a fair amount of outside prospecting. There were quite a few instances where a customer would ask for me on my day off, yet the salesman helping them would take the entire commission for themselves. I repeatedly brought this to the attention of management. In most cases the offending salesman would be chastised yet the behavior kept persisting. Worse yet, the commission was rarely ever reversed. "Its too complicated, we'll make it up to you" The lost commissions were never "made up to me" Protect those who do those extra things to succeed.


  11. "Equipment sales, creating system designs and executing system installations while consulting on marketing matters."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Installation Specialist in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Installation Specialist in Houston, TX
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Bang & Olufsen full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Working with superior technology, understanding the cost and logistics of installing electronic components within many different types of structures, both residential and commercial.

    Cons

    Working with Bang and Olufsen America to coordinate product orders, delivery, product defects, marketing material and event planning.

    Advice to Management

    Make changes to personnel at Bang and Olufsen America, the new president is a great start. Keep going.


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