My previous post discussed the Windows Phone, a cellular option most people don’t even know exists. I highlighted a few of the features and then shared the lack of success falls on the heads of the retailers. That viewpoint deserved some amplification.
Yesterday I paid a visit to my local Verizon company store. My first task was to see if the WIndows phones had a viable presence in the store. Of the 56 phones on display, only 3 were iPhones, and 3 Windows phones were buried amid the other 50 Droids. There were no signs indicating the existence of the WIndows phone system, or it’s benefits.
In my conversation with sales people, I found they never show the phones unless someone walks into the store and insists on seeing one. The models on display are the older WinPhone 8.0 versions and do not have the current features of the 8.1 system or Cortana. One salesman informed me if someone needed to have access to Office documents he might show them a WInPhone, but otherwise it was Android all the way. Another salesman immediately offered that no one in the store had any training ( or experience ) with a Windows phone. When I showed a few of its features, they were quite surprised, but not enough to ever show one. The one salesman who had some knowledge of the phone did offer that it would absolutely be the best solution for someone who wanted excellent photos. He acknowledged that Nokia cameras were the best of any phone.
Clearly the WinPhone is a very viable solution for many people. The technology, and ease of use, is exceptional. The screens are bright, active tiles turn the start screen into a meaningful tool, and there are features simply not available in other phones. If the salespeople actually displayed, and showed, these phones, market share would likely rise dramatically.
I won’t speculate on why Verizon wants to sandbag these phones though many theories are possible. I know there is a clear arrogance associated with the brand because, as the store manager pointed out, they have the best coverage of anyone, and keep gaining customers who drop the competing carriers so they can have no dropped calls, and stronger signals almost anywhere. They know even contract buyout offers from other carriers are not going to be appealing when coverage is not solid enough. Thus, they can do whatever they want, and sell whatever products they want, and hide the others.
I’m always impressed with Amazon because, though they are huge, and very popular, they have a corporate culture that focuses on doing the right thing for their customers. I only wish Verizon reflected the same corporate culture. Reading online comments from customers would lead us to believe otherwise. In this case, they are depriving their customers from seeing what might be the best solution for their needs.