Confession: I don’t own a smart phone. I think I’m the only one in my office, and possibly in the world of PR and Marketing, who still uses a flip phone. It’s not that I don’t want one. I do. It’s not even that they’re too expensive.
The reason I don’t own a smartphone is that, every time I attempt to peruse the lovely, shiny, thin phones, I’m convinced that my service-provider has secretly entered me into a meticulously-coordinated retail version of the Hunger Games.
Upon entering, the potential customer has to sign in at the kiosk. After that, the real action begins. Angry customers ahead in line are reaching the end of their ropes, having stood around for almost an hour. Others are feeling screwed. Having entered the store with excitement about the prospect of a new shiny phone, they quickly descend into depression when extra, all-but-obligatory “options” are sold to them. The guy next to them has not purchased those options, and now has a broken phone or has gone over his monthly allotment of data thingers. Grandmothers unused to this new retail model enter the store and immediately approach seemingly-available salespersons, only to be rejected, told to sign in, and leave confused.
I want a smart phone. I even need one. This should be a win-win for me and the cell phone company. But this dance is enough to make a man leave empty-handed and call his buddies on his flip phone to meet elsewhere for drinks. Instead of models in flashy pink dresses or bold phone coverage-area proclamations, the cell phone industry should start by simplifying and improving its in-person customer service model. Do you hear me now? Good.