IPhone in store ? The bait and the scarecrow

Scarecrow

Once upon a time I considered swapping my nice current iPhone 5 for the new and seemingly slightly better iPhone 6. Nothing crazy yet.
Since not being in a hurry, the pre-orders frenzy and all the crazy queuing were not on my list and I finally happened to put my hands on a phone yesterday, in a (non-Apple … I know, still beating myself about it) store.

Welcome to the world of Telstra

And welcome to Australia by the way. Since Telstra is major here, not having the iPhone in store would definitely not make sense.
Not only for the sake of being able to offer the main products on the market but also to draw advantage of the marketing impact of the device itself (or devices indeed).

Oh joy, since a few weeks after the launch, The smartphone was there on display for every commoner to approach – and even test – it.
Supposedly.

Customers – sales people

Before moving to hands on matters, I would begin with a slightly more business-oriented observation : the absence of a crowd.
First, not a single body to be seen around the iPhone 6. And nobody apparently willing to show even just a sign of interest for the device.
Ok, I may have come to be more geeky than I thought and all the buzzing around this phone may not mean people should show interest. Still … .
Then, in a shop where a couple of dozens of customers could fit, only one person was to be seen, nonchalantly browsing the various phones on display.
While a bunch of sales people were apparently busy having a chat between themselves. Why should I care ? Well, for once, no one came to me wondering if I may need help with a purchase or just even information.

No touching!

As a customer, I do not necessarily like to be disturbed while quietly browsing stuff I will certainly not buy. And as logic wants it, I would definitely ask, would I need further details.
So, there I was, happy bunny, testing this new iPhone which, by the way, is already too big in its small version and could have kept on offering black as a color.
That is until I set on looking at the touch ID. The oh-so-new feature for me, poor user of a 5 with no such (fun ?) technology.
And so much for conspiracy theorists (yes, the NSA collects your prints from your iPhone) that did actually trigger the most amazing response from the bunch of sales people with one lady rushing to ask me to stop. Because … I would “lock the phone”.
– But “this is a demo, Mam’”.
– “Please stop or the phone will get locked”.
– “Erh … demo ?”.
But facing a crazy look and a person who, visibly, does have no interest in a (minimum) 800 Australia Dollars sale, that was me on my way.

The bait and the scarecrow

This is a more serious take regarding this slightly funny story.
The iPhone, in Telstra’s case, is basically not only an added offering to the range and the ability to offer the full portfolio of devices, it is also a necessary one for a telephony leader.
They basically have to have the iPhone on offer.
But, also, the phone serves as free marketing and lead generation.
I am the example of it as I only stopped at this shop when seeing the phone on display.
And that is the perfect bait – when customer-hunting – as it would draw a population of potential buyers with the ability to foot the bill for a high-end device.
Yet, the bait is not enough. Especially if next to the bait, you put a scarecrow.
In the form, here, of a lazy sales team and a – seemingly – crazy sales person.
Not letting a potential customer test a product is already bad enough but done in a questionable way it then raises further questions, not only on the people but the brand too.

Here, that is a lead lost, a very bad image for Telstra and, well, a post about it which will be read by the hundred of thousands of you (I wish …). 

 

The lesson to be learned

Generating leads is not easy. When you have a bait like the iPhone to generate easy leads make sure to have the right structure in place to handle the second part : closing the deal.
And not just a bunch of scarecrows.

Social Media, social networks and apps : Both Smart and Dumbphones Hate You!

dumbphone.jpg

Social Media and Networks are the thing. Living the social life is a matter of do-or-die nowadays for anybody willing not to be left out.

Who wants to be this kid girl, let us call her Lucy, left out of her group of friends for having the wrong smartphone, yes an iPhone, when her f(r)iends would all make use of their Blackberry – and BBM – to get, and stay, in touch ?

Social development is not individual. 

Basically, social media beg to differ by being … social.
This does easily make sense when just having a look at Facebook for instance. An account with no friends suddenly feels quite useless.
Geek or not, being willing to use or just discover social media overall and some new kids on the block in particular may prove difficult.
Not that it has become such a mission impossible to download an app and create an account but, rather, that social media need to be social.
Find yourself in the kid girl’s position and you are up for some tasteless deja-vu.

Push adoption or rely on adoption ? 

Still keeping up with Lucy and her iPhone ? Do you think that even if Lucy installs the latest and fanciest, iOS-only, app, her friends will all turn to an iPhone ?
The answer is most likely a solid no.
So what about making the most of discovering new apps, new social networks and tools ?
I found myself in that position quite a few times. I happen to be one of the very few registered users of Line (messaging app, to make it simple) in France. And looking at members of my 500+ address book (boasting contacts in various other countries in the world), only three of them happen to be found on Line.

That is three out of hundreds while only one of them is a French contact. The other being … Japanese.
So how can I really proof-test the product when so little people do actually use it and the only users are not people I would often get in touch with  ?

Discard your friends. 

How do you enjoy this slightly rude statement ? Blunt joke aside, there is still truth in there.
That is the result of my look into my own list of unusable apps. A very dramatic reading of a situation where those fancy products I have downloaded will only begin to make sense once my very own circles adopt them and the behaviour to make use of them too.
That is never to happen.
Too bad my Line, too bad my Ding Dong, too bad my Path and so many others.
My close circles are not your close circles.
As a tester more than any kind of geek or early-adopter, I first want to test things, in context, prior to judging them and making use of them if they pass. However, with quite a lack of like-minded people, this very first step of testing and sharing gets down to the ground from the very start.

Bear with it and be more social. 

When contacts, networks or even devices prevent any kind of development towards the proper use of social tools, there is little to be done.
First, just bear with the fact that friends and family may not be feeling the need to beta-test every single app being released.
Then, be social. Not only is it the point of social media but that may offer an opportunity to connect with more like-minded people and finally be able to ring the Ding Dong bell with more than a couple of people.
And last, can you not live with it, please check this new app : “Get me a Psychologist” … .