Category Archives: Marketing

iPhone 5 Upgrade – AT&T Customer Service (Part 1 of 2)

iPhone 5 pre-orders set a sales record last week, selling out in less than one hour following the smartphone’s September 12, 2012 debut. I ordered mine from AT&T. This two-part post will cover 1) my AT&T customer service experience and 2) why I upgraded to the iPhone 5.

Lily Tomlin SNL Ernestine the Telephone OperatorAT&T iPhone Orders

How do I change my shipping address from my billing address? Many AT&T customers have been searching for answers about why you can’t ship your att.com or apple.com iPhone 5 order wherever you want. These sites offer free shipping to your account billing address only. This is supposedly to prevent fraud. (Oh how easily I could have committed fraud on my eventual call center order.) Online, the only way to request a shipping address different from your billing address is to actually change the billing address on your AT&T account. Not ideal. And if you can trick the system that easily, not sure how they are preventing fraud. Your other option (what I did) is to order by phone from AT&T. Shipping then goes up to $9.95.

Calling AT&T

Ambience: The call center on-hold song is a muzak version of “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor. The lyrics could be interpreted as reflecting on not taking risks in new relationships for fear of getting hurt, then wondering what could have been. This amused me; start playing the song as you read on so you can join me on the call.

Senseless upgrade fee: AT&T’s reasoning for a $36 upgrade fee on my contract eligible upgrade from iPhone4 to iPhone5 (while maintaining my same unlimited data plan) is that “they have to charge a fee in order to provide the phone discount.” Please. At least give me an excuse such as, “it covers the cost of internal processing for updating your line’s new capabilities such as 4G.”iPhone 5

Customer recognition and retention: The least the call center agent could do was to greet me with, “Hello Ms. Binder, thank you for being an AT&T customer since 2005, we appreciate your business” like my credit card company does. But the seven years of our relationship was unrecognized. Successful customer rewards clubs and frequent traveler programs and any company trying to engender loyalty through suggested exclusivity or recognition recognizes length of patronage as a basic given. (The best custsvc companies have a purple goldfish.) The loyalty years thank you is one sentence an agent can read from a prompt that can change the entire tone of the conversation for the better. Especially as a wireless provider, you better be thanking a customer who’s stuck with you for seven years, especially considering that you’re the main print yellow pages robber barons company.

This is why I keep one foot on the ground in our contracted affair; I hear Verizon’s voice in my head, I hear Sprint’s music serenading me, but still, AT&T, I pay you an extra $45.95 so you can “prevent fraud” and ship the phone to my office…

I never loved nobody fully
Always one foot on the ground
And by protecting my heart truly
I got lost in the sounds
I hear in my mind
All these voices
I hear in my mind all these words
I hear in my mind all this music

And it breaks my heart…

Fidelity – Regina Spektor (AT&T’s call center hold music)

Check back for Part 2 of this post on Thursday 9/20/12.

Sense of Entitlement- The Digital Dive Podcast Episode 1

The long awaited first episode of The Digital Dive Podcast: My co-host Melanie Touchstone of missmelt.com (@MisssMelt) and I discuss a smattering of digital topics from social marketing to search, Facebook, Pinterest, Google, and Instagram, to user psychology and more (in less than 23 minutes!)

The Digital Dive Podcast – Episode 1 from Digital Dive on Vimeo

This twenty minute bi-weekly podcast quickly hashes out and ties together what’s happening in digital that matters: social media, marketing, emerging technology, and guilty tech/app/ego pleasures.
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In this episode we discuss:

  • Instagram
  • Sense of entitlement and privacy demands
  • Facebook
  • Like button / +1 button
  • Google. Social search.
  • Pinterest
  • Social bookmarking. Twitter – favorite tweets.
  • Tips on Tap – 3 Things to Know This Week

Bear with us as we get this thing rolling. Questions or comments? Write below or tweet us @thedigitaldive_

You can download or stream The Digital Dive at thedigitaldivepodcast.com or search for us in the iTunes Podcast Directory–> If you like the show, please subscribe and leave us a review!


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You can download or stream The Digital Dive Podcast at thedigitaldivepodcast.com or search for us in the iTunes Podcast Directory. Stream The Digital Dive Podcast on Vimeo.

Dying of Loneliness on Facebook

Attack of the 50-Foot Woman star died at 82 completely alone: Mummified body of former Playboy playmate Yvette Vickers found in her Benedict Canyon home:

With no children, no religious group, and no immediate social circle of any kind, she had begun, as an elderly woman, to look elsewhere for companionship. Savage later told Los Angeles magazine that she had searched Vickers’s phone bills for clues about the life that led to such an end. In the months before her grotesque death, Vickers had made calls not to friends or family but to distant fans who had found her through fan conventions and Internet sites.

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman movie posterA great book about the breakdown of American community is Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam. The author provides an interesting analysis about U.S. society during the last century and last 50 years. Of course this has implications for marketing. Putnam examines the causes and effects of the fact that in the 1950s, bowling leagues, PTAs, church groups, and general neighborly interaction was very popular, while nowadays we spend a fraction of the time we used to spend socializing (and voting or participating in community).

Vickers is not the first elderly person to pass away unnoticed.

But a less dramatic form of loneliness pervades people of all ages; it is disguised as complete connectedness.

Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? New research suggests that we have never been lonelier (or more narcissistic)—and that this loneliness is making us mentally and physically ill.

Continue reading Dying of Loneliness on Facebook

Gamification: I Ain’t Mad At Cha, Coke

Expand your customer base to form lifelong brand loyalists, increasing average selling price and frequency by decreasing price sensitivity while garnering evangelists to promote your brand through word of mouth. That’s the goal of marketing.

Gamification

vintage Coca Cola ad poster Yes beach girlI started playing My Coke Rewards in December 2007. I usually enter codes for 2 liter bottles of pop (worth 3 points) or 12 pack cans (9 points). After almost five years, I have about 1,050 points. I don’t cheat or buy codes online. (Yes, there is a black market for Coke Rewards codes. Much like property swapping during the McDonald’s Monopoly game.)

I’ve amassed my points organically. I keep playing because I’m a consumer who has been gamed, because I expect a great prize when I reach a high point level, and because Coke accomplished their goal: I am more engaged in the brand and spend more time on their site. Continue reading Gamification: I Ain’t Mad At Cha, Coke

Your Product Isn’t Safe

It was a jumbled Nappy mess. In 2002, the music industry was fumbling as online piracy and the loss of control over releases, quality, and theft threatened their bottom line. The major music companies couldn’t get their hardware and software silos to work together. In software, Sony and Universal had PressPlay and AOL Time Warner/Bertelsmann/EMI’s creation with RealNetworks was MusicNet. These were two of the primary subscription services. You didn’t own the music; you rented it. And most mp3 players were clunky, overly complex, and poorly integrated with software.

Florence + the Machine Ceremonials album coverApple had released the first generation iPod in 2001. But the 2003 release of the iTunes Music Store, introduced a new, consumer-centered concept for distributing music digitally. While artists frequently maintain that the proper experience of their music is to listen to an entire album in order, we all know that record labels typically release just a few good songs on an album. (Except for Florence + the Machine’s Ceremonials, on which every single song is good (as far as the last five years are concerned).) Steve Jobs and his team at Apple asked why it had to be that way. Continue reading Your Product Isn’t Safe