Advice to Mobile Phone Companies : Under-Promise, Over-Deliver

I’ve been blogging about and following the tech scene for over a year now, and it amazes me how little Psychology these Mobile Phone mega-corporations use with regards to customer satisfaction.  I’ve seen so many people griping about how they’ve been harshly treated by their mobile phone companies (and yes, people show quite a bit of passion about this), you’d think someone stole their first born!

We’ve all heard the term ‘mindshare’ being thrown around in recent years, basically referring to how socially popular something is in our culture — and some companies do a better job at achieving that mindshare, and it’s not by having fancy TV commercials or billboards.  It’s the attention to details that matter.

Here are some of my free suggestions to the mega-phone giants out there, tips that might help build a happier, more loyal, customer base.  I know you have your huge marketing machines with MBAs and most likely other Psychologists on board, which makes it more amazing that you miss the simple things.

  1. Manage Expectations – Whether it’s a new product launch, firmware version update, etc., give a PRECISE DATE for goodness sake.  Vague announcements like, “later 4th Quarter” or “Coming this Winter” or worse, “Coming soon” announcements only frustrate your customer base and lose huge loyalty points.  If the product isn’t ready, then don’t announce ANYTHING UNTIL IT IS.  Better yet, give one date at the announcement, then ship them EARLY!  You’ll win points with that move, and it costs you NADA.  In this age of social media, bad word of mouth spreads even more quickly than good WOM.
  2. Manage Execution – This is about those pesky Firmware updates, whether it’s for the next sweet dessert-sounding Android version, iPhone/iPad OS, or the Nokia lady names (Anna, Belle) a customer is waiting for, not only see Suggestion #1, but when the updates are available either make them available globally at THE SAME TIME, or (again) provide SPECIFIC TIME TABLES based on regions.  Heck, I don’t know the logistics of rolling out firmware updates to phones around the world, so educate us, otherwise customers in one continent who are still waiting for an update feel slighted when someone else half way  around the world is giddy over getting theirs.  Simple: JUST BE FAIR.
  3. Give customers value for the money – Smart phones aren’t cheap, whether one buys it unlocked, or subsidized with a ridiculous mandatory data package.  Luxury car companies offer great red carpet treatment to their customers, and phone makers need to do the same.  Surprise the customer with goodies that weren’t described on the box (like $ for free apps, or free accessory).  It’s like getting free car mats, people like that.  And keep that customer by offering great after sale service.  Always offer an upgrade or trade-in option, too.
  4. Build competent devices – Make a smart phone that is well built, easy to use, looks good, and durable over time, and you’ll have a winner.  Don’t make a phone that breaks when you drop it.  It’s 2011, and phones should not be FRAGILE.  Put out crap at any price point is unacceptable, and there goes your mindshare, down ze toilette.
  5. Building customer loyalty is NOT Rocket Science – Make good (make that great) products, provide prompt, professional (life long) technical support (don’t be on Twitter or Facebook and ignore complaints), treat the customer like gold, and treat your own products with enough respect to keep improving them (again, firmware) as long as customers are using them.  Smart phones have a “newness” life of less than a year, so let the customer know you’ll stick with them for the long haul even after newer ‘flagships’ come out on the market.
So, it all boils down to the simple phrase in the title, right?  “Under-promise, Over-deliver.”  Simple, yet very few are doing this.

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