Thursday, September 18, 2008

Best Buy Mobile Survey Reveals Cell Phone Buyer Frustrations

In conjunction with the launch of its first Best Buy Mobile location in Canada, the retailer conducted a survey to find out what frustrates Canadians when it comes to the purchase of a mobile phone.

Not surprisingly, 60% cited dealing with service providers because of things like unbiased advice, the inability to change their service plans, and pesky hidden service fees. Best Buy's Director of Wireless Solutions, Phil Johnston, says that service providers "aren't giving transparent, unbiased information to their customers."

Of customers who own a mobile device, 74% say that a salesperson who's knowledgeable about service plans, not just devices, is "essential" to their shopping experience. (What on earth do the remaining 26% care about?) Just shy of 58% seek out a neutral, objective salesperson to walk them through mobile options as well. (Again, what are the other 42% thinking?)

Call me crazy, but I'd focus on getting rid of the hidden fees altogether instead of just revealing to the customer that hey, there are all these other fees that you'll be nickeled and dimed for. But that's up to the carriers, not the retailers, so I digress. In terms of working with what we've got, so to speak, being upfront and direct with the customer always helps; and it'll build credibility for any business.

Further to contract considerations, Best Buy Mobile's survey also discovered that 44% of new mobile phone buyers aged 35 to 54 say they struggle to get their fancy, new device up and running once they get home. While this might not have applied to the phones of yesteryear that simply charged up for 24 hours and were ready to go to make phone calls the next day, today's new data services can be overwhelming. How do I access the 'net from my phone? How do I set up my e-mail account on a BlackBerry? I bought a Bluetooth headset and a Bluetooth-equipped phone, but now how do I get them to talk to one another? To industry members, these questions sound silly. To the average consumer, they are often head-scratchers.

Not surprisingly, the survey ties in with strategies that Best Buy is taking with its new Mobile standalone and store-within-store locations, including employing non-commissioned salespersons, and a walk-out working program that will provide coaching and set-up up for customers before they leave the store. The neatest aspect of the service, in my opinion, is a machine that the salesperson can use to transfer all the data from your old phone to your new one in a matter of minutes. Now that's service!

The survey was conducted online by Angus Reid Strategies on August 25 and 26, 2008 with 1,003 Canadians.

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