Friday, December 23, 2011

Two generations' perspective of customer service


My dad and I are shopping for a new cellular phone. 

You've got two generations looking for the same thing but with different perceptions of the capabilities of a smart phone. You also have a technology gap between us both--my dad still think I know the answers to anything digital or wireless oriented.

During my recent trip to the valley, my dad took us all to the Sprint store to look at phones. His interest was on the HTC EVO, which I like as well.  

Supposedly, he was told by a sales girl that the EVO would be free and that he would just need to pay the $70 a month for the voice and data plan, a few days before.  However, when we all returned to the store, he was told that he'd have to pay $150 for the phone, then we would receive a mailin rebate of $50. 

Naturally, my father was upset. He challenged the sales representative before him with no avail. 
I knew it was too good to be real. I asked the sales representative to tell me how much I would need to pay today in the store to upgrade my phone to a HTC EVO. I was told I would need to pay $150.

I didnt' care for that deal and made my way to the store's exit leaving my dad behind still arguing his case that the previous salesperson promised a zero payment for a new phone.

A few days later, after we returned back home to Austin, I called my dad to inform him that Best Buy was offering the EVO for $50 and the INSPIRE for free. His reply was that he would return to the Sprint store and inform them of Best Buy's offer.  I countered, "No dad. Go to Best Buy and look at their phones and what they can offer you. Forget about Sprint.  They aren't going to give you the mail-in rebate Best Buy will give their customers at the store."

The contrast between the two generations were evident. The old "the customer is always right" philosophy is well... old. Contracts and terms of services protects the companies from those annoying oops made by company employees.

Now the oops are commonly found in violations of company contracts after the agreement has been made. Perhaps the only way a customer can be right is at the local mom and pop stores where legal documentations aren't as viable.

So did we ever get a phone? Yup.

My parents and I went with the HTC EVO.

I returned to Best Buy and went with the HTC EVO Design 4G. So far I love it.   

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