Another reporter finds anti-Windows Phone 7 bias at carriers' retail locations
To see if the results would be repeated, Boston Herald reporter Jessica Van Sack attempted the same scenario at a Verizon, Sprint and AT&T store in downtown Boston and had the same experience as PC Mag's "Secret Shopper". At each store she went in to, she was dissuaded from purchasing a phone with Windows Phone 7 and was steered toward an Android model or the Apple iPhone. Meanwhile, the reps would comment that the Microsoft created OS is just not ready in terms of productivity. Some answered that they really did not know too much about Windows Phone 7 handsets.
The crew at Redmond cannot be terribly pleased with the results of these surveys. A spokesman said that there are many reasons to buy a phone loaded with Windows Phone 7 and that Microsoft keeps adding more reasons to keep current users happy and to convince future customers to go with a phone loaded with Microsoft's software. But a look at Van Sack's experience does not bode well for Microsoft. At Sprint, she went into the store seeking a Windows Phone 7 handset and the rep showed her the Android powered HTC EVO 4G. At Verizon, the rep told the author that he was a fan of the Apple iPhone and that his colleague used an Android handset. Neither one had ever used a Windows Phone 7 model.
With the millions of dollars that Microsoft spent on commercials touting phones loaded with its mobile software as a "phone to save us from our phones", it could be that most smartphone users do not want to be saved from their handset.
source: BostonHerald via WPCentral
1. WHOCARES??? (unregistered)
That's up to the sales reps. IDC whether its biased or not thats their sale position
2. ZayZay (Posts: 571; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)
If the customers askes about a certain phone you show them what they want, not what you want. Simple as that.
7. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4559; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
That is right. If I want a Windows Phone & they show me something else, I will get offended. It's disrespectful & unprofessional do deny me what I clearly asked for.
59. Tom (unregistered)
I've been selling phones for almost 6 years and It blows my mind that sales reps would risk losing the sales by trying to convince a customer to go with a different phone, especially when they come in asking for a specific operating system. Windows Phone 7 can do just as much as the other competitors, the only thing it lacks is an app market that is as extensive as the others. I think Microsoft did a great job with the operating system, they may need to just focus on training salesman or put a working model in their hands so they can see in fact that the OS isn't as bad as they think.
41. IAMI (unregistered)
In sales if a customer ask about a phone you ask them what about that phone interest them. Most people have no clue what phones are actually capable of and usually seen a cool comercial so they want it. Once you ask them what they want a phone to do you sell them a phone that best fits there needs. By doing this you make a customer very happy by listening to there needs and make them a customer for life. if a sales rep was to have a customer say I want this phone then just sell it then the rep did not do his job properly and if he worked in my store i would fire him and just hire a couple of kids for min wage to be cashiers not sales reps.
53. ZayZay (Posts: 571; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)
Agreed. If we were order takers we would work at McDonalds or Best Buy ,but we are there to listen to the customers needs and fit them with the perfect phone for them.
In the case being pointed to is the sales person was trying to sell what they wanted to sell and not what the customer was asking for.
57. WP7Fan (unregistered)
Then why when I went into Verizon the other day. I told the guy I would want a windows phone. I told him why. I have an xbox360 and play xbox live, I have a zune pass, I like built in FM radios of the phone, I like Windows 7 PC's, I actually have an option to even use sharepoint for work.....and this rep was still trying to get me a thunderbolt....Told him I didnt care about 4g...offered the incredible 2...told him im not a fan of android since ive had them before and they seem unstable...offered an iPhone!!...its just silly and I reported this to verizon higher ups..I still got my trophy online and havent looked back at android since. It was a perfect fit for my life...these reps need more training and need to understand the product and thats just it...they dont understand...I had to tell HIM about WP7 features and how it would best suite me. Its just a shame then so many closed minded people are wasting money when only thing they had to do is google/bing Windows Phone 7 and understand what it can do. Not saying all reps are bad by any means but its starting to get unprofessional.
80. agent7 (Posts: 19; Member since: 20 Apr 2011)
That was the rep that you were dealing with. It's a shame that they did not do their job. But, we definitely do not want to just clerk to the customer. Discover the needs of the customer and then present a solution. If after that, the customer still wants a different device, then sell it to them. Just don't do it in a way that could be perceived as dissuading them. Our job is to make sure that our customers make an informed decision. If they already know all of the information- GREAT! An informed customer is nice to have.
71. JerzeySniper (Posts: 22; Member since: 21 Mar 2011)
I've worked for 3 of the 4 major carriers and its not quite that simple. What the general consumer has to understand is that some of the carriers actually penalize the sales rep for returns and exchanges that a customer brings back. While me personally takes pride in learning and knowing about all the OS's that we carry at SprintNextel, most reps will agree that it is generally safer to sell a device that they know the customer will throughly enjoy as to not have them return it an get in hot water with the higer-ups. I agree that a customer should be shown the device that they ask for and also be tought the strenghts and weaknesses of each device and then let them decide, thats how i sell.
On the other side, there are reps who are lazy and want to push a device on a customer that they are happy with and know about, thats a bad sales rep. But i can understand how a rep may be reluctant to sell a windows product. If they learn it though,they may be surprised how well they can sell them, i sell a healthy mix of all OS's with the exception of Palm which noone really cares to buy no matter how hard i try.
The public should demand the companies that punish reps for returns and exchanges to stop because this can lead to a bad customer service experience.
On a side note windows is a solid OS i actually like it, I think it will do well with some updates and if MS continues to support it and allow major things customers want like full customization, not just change the color of the Live Tiles or choose crappy preloaded ringtones.
3. URC (unregistered)
Not sure why any rep would steer a customer ASKING for WP7 away for an iPhone. I guess those reps don't like money. I've never heard a single rep say their employer paid more for an iPhone than a different smartphone, and at least the Trophy for VZW has a low cost and would generate more money for the sale. Plus you get that aging merchandise out of your store. Although I would certainly steer someone toward an Incredible 2 if they said that apps and customizability were important to them (both of which are most people's main reasons for grabbing a smartphone in the first place). Until WP7 gets developers to back their OS with a lot of apps, their phones are pretty much going nowhere. Otherwise it is a smooth operating system. I just don't think there is enough money in app development for a OS that is so far behind in that regard to come up quickly and start competing with iOS and Android.
29. bluechrism (unregistered)
Just thinkig, i'm sure a couple of months back was a chart on PA showing that the Apple App Store, Nokia Ovi store and Windows Phone Marketplace made more money for developers than Android stores due to the high volume of free apps for Android.
Ultimately, there is a issue for apps and developers pre-mango (and customers) in how multitasking is (or isn't to be more accurate) handled. I almost thing MS got Windows Phone 7 out incomplete because they knew if they delayed Androind and iOS would have a duopoly all set up and they had to get something out, though Mango will be the time to really judge it.
Where I work, people with windows phones have said they are good, smooth devices, but won't fully recommend them yet as ready for everyday use, though they are all excited about the things coming with Mango.
60. Tom (unregistered)
They have plenty of apps. They were the quickest to reach 10,000 apps in the amount of time they did. They are getting there and getting there fast. They have plenty of developers, you cant expect them to put out 200,000 apps in a 6 month period.
74. URC (unregistered)
Actually I don't expect them to reach 200k apps in a 6 year period.
4. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)
This is completely true at least in my store. A while ago in one of these posts I explained that the same thing was happening at my store and my boss was doing this sort of thing. I remember I had the customer sold on a WP7 phone they wanted with all the accessories and they were going to pay the actual upgrade price for the phone but then my boss comes up asks the customer why they wanted a WP7 handset and then proceeded to offer an Android phone for 99 cents. Not only did we lose money by discounting the handset, my boss convinced the customer they wanted a WP7 handset and made me look like a fool.
10. lollipop (Posts: 43; Member since: 15 Feb 2011)
I know here at Verizon we are having problems with the Android salesboys. The simple truth is we have a sales staff that have too much loyalty to their phone and not to the customers and company they work for. Here is the thing convincing a customer do go to another device is easy but the truth is you should be getting the customer what they like and what will fit them. Not what you like and what fits you.
11. derp (unregistered)
sadly they will have to endure replacement after replacement for that piece of shit android phone. your boss is a moron.
15. ZayZay (Posts: 571; Member since: 26 Feb 2011)
Sounds like he jumped on your sale and needs to be told to back off. The only reason I jump into my reps sales is to help not hurt them. Does he not trust your ability to provide customer service?
17. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)
I'm on of the top sellers in my store. It wasn't that he wasn't trusting my ability to sell or provide customer service. He's just an idiot that refuses to sell anyone anything but an Android. He's biased on all OS' including webOS
31. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
Does he post on PA because there's a bunch of idiot fandroids on here.
66. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)
I doubt it he doesnt know about new phones until our store announces them or if he hears his employees talk about them.
5. SteveJobs (unregistered)
9. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4559; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Shepherd Steve Jobs NEVER posts. This is an obvious iSheep trolling around as usual! Shepherd Steve Jobs has his iSheep do his dirty work! iSheep always hoping around never making sense!
14. lollipop (Posts: 43; Member since: 15 Feb 2011)
right now you make no sense either Antroll.
27. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4559; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Ok lollipop, I was just trying to step up & defend the Windows users but it's all good. I have had a very pleasant experience with Windows phones. The new OS is cool. I played with my brothers phone & it is intuitive. I love Android, but my next favorite is Windows. Apple not so much at all.
6. Vittorio (unregistered)
I don't understand fully the purpose of this article. Are you trying to covince anyone there is some kind of conspiracy going on? Really? Android and iOS are two succesful products, people know them and love them. In the other hand, you have a product barely out of development, that has not sold that many units anyway. Lack of proper marketing? Lack of high end recognisable models? No. Is the guy selling phones in the little shop at X whose to blame. Come on. Be serious. Would you encourage anyone to buy a product at your store which you don't know and is selling poorly (if at all)? I like the concept of WP. Seen the videos. But I wouldn't.
13. lollipop (Posts: 43; Member since: 15 Feb 2011)
Verizon Employees are trained via VzLearns on every handset they sell. Verizon Authorized retailers have to take the same VzLearns aswell.
The thing is right now the carriers are having a very MAJOR issue with the sales staffs pushing brands and talking bad about the products we are selling. Example: I work with a salesmen that is so diehard Android that he will do anything to steer someone away from an iPhone or a WP7. Right now he tells out customers that iPhones have a 60% return rate which is such a lie he should be fired for lack of integrity and it damages OUR reputation. Verizon sales staffs need to remember they are VERIZON sales people not Google's or Apple's.
22. snowgator (Posts: 3346; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
Actually Vittorio, I do blame sales reps. It is their JOBS to know the upside, disadvantages, operations, and accessories of all their devices. And to get the customers feelings and needs correctly lined up to said devices. If comeone comes in, want an easy OS, smooth UI experience, only cares a little about apps and they DON'T show them a Windows phone, they haven't done their job. Period.
54. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
its completely up to the reps. 95% of customers will get a set the sales reps reccomend. Most will back away from any product the sales rep says is junk.
WP7 is a great OS. Its smooth as heck, its easy, and its very streamlined. For anyone who wants smartphone functioning but doesnt need 400000000000 apps to choose from, its a great choice. With the mango update, its even better.
The only thing it is missing is flash support and some apps. The only thing that made me trade in mine for another android is my need to tinker with my toys.
8. Falcon (Posts: 11; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)
vvelez5 that is awful! Did you talk to your boss about the situation afterward?
18. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)
I did, I explained that I had the sale done and the customer was ready to buy. My boss explained that he didn't want to see a return because of the WP7 OS. I proceeded to ask him how did he know it was going to get returned and all he said was that Android is better than WP7. He's just biased against any OS.
50. IAMI (unregistered)
Your boss is not a moron. he knows what sales and he knows what sticks and what makes customers happy. while the windows phones might be smoother and a overall better phone based on a lot of opinions im reading today. the fact is is the software is still new and most people buying smartphones do so for the apps. When was the last time you went anywhere and saw a sign that sound download this now on your windows phone. You dont yet you can go to a bar, movie, boardwalk, restuarant, gym or just about anywhere and youll see something saying download this app on your iphone or droid for discounts. You boss knows once the person has the windows phone even if they like how it works they will feel deprived because there is nothing out there yet for there phone. At that point the customers always blame the reps for not tellin them about the other products and what it features. Yes someone wanted a wp7 might have researched it but did they research the bad about it or the good about other things. We have one windows phone on display and it never sells even though it is free. They love the phone but ask about apps or how many people buy it or things liek that and i am alwasy honest to my customer. When i am honest they say theyll wait for the next upgrade then to try a wp7 and get a android or apple today.
67. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)
My boss is a moron. He would rather lose money on a sell than sell WP7 because he just doesnt like it. It's been like this at my store since WP7 came out. When we had our meeting about it he actually didn't even explain what WP7 had to offer all he said was that "it's like Android but much worse" He didn't even use it yet to make that statement. He's just a fandroid.
And I have also dealt with customers who don't download many apps except for the major ones and WP7 has the major apps. Also if a customer asks about an easy to use OS I explain Apple's and Microsoft's because it is true that Android is not as friendly as those other OS'. So my boss is a moron by the fact that he thinks that Android is the OS for everyone. I would rather have a customer who can actually use the OS and be happy at it than work at it if that isn't what they want.
12. Dj21o (Posts: 437; Member since: 19 May 2011)
Microsoft needs to send people to each of the carriers and teach the sale reps about WP7. They make the deal in the end. It is not that hard to sway people in the other direction to buy a cheaper, easier product to maintain. Especially when your boss completely d**ks you on a sale? Cmon. If people do that at my work, they get slapped in the face.
19. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)
They do and the Android and Apple fanboys don't take anything they say into consideration. I'm one of the very few sales people in my store that actually gives the customer what they want not what I like.
24. Dj21o (Posts: 437; Member since: 19 May 2011)
I dont understand why they don't give the customer what they ask, or what is better for them. If they return the phone, don't they get screwed out of the sale anyways? And what if a mid-70's woman came in, would you offer her an android or a WP7? I would love to work at a phone retail store, just so I could tick those guys off. Microsoft really isn't getting any credit they deserve. Everytime I go over my friends, I mess with his WP7 just to see if I would prefer it over Android, and I hate putting my phone back in my pocket lol.
68. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)
There is a big bias when it comes to OS' in my store. The sales people always claim what carrier or what phone or what OS is best so they sell along those lines. I work at a store that sells several carriers and I have salespeople there that claim that Sprint is the best carrier and tell people Verizon and ATT are way too expensive.
16. knuckleballer34 (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Jul 2009)
If a customer walks into a mobile retail store and specifically asks for a Windows 7 device, there is no reason to try and dissuade them from doing so. In such a case, it should be obvious that the majority of people who are interested in Windows Phone 7 have done their research about the OS and the devices it is offered on, and know the strengths and limitations of the device. Furthermore, for many first time smartphone users, Windows Phone 7 is a better choice than Android in terms of simplicity. I've had several really good Android phones, but was amazed at how much I had to babysit the OS when I acquired my first one. Once Windows Phone 7 has a better selection of apps, I think the OS will become more popular and won't be shunned in carrier stores.
20. snowgator (Posts: 3346; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)
Apps and maybe device selection are the only downsides to a Windows device. Microsoft is working hard on the Apps, I remember an article in the two month ago range they are actually ahead on app development at this stage of the OS then Driod was at a similar point. If they can keep development going, they should be competitive fairly soon. Though they may be a long time coming before being equal. (I think they are already ahead of RIM.) The device selection should take care of itself once Nokia starts churning out handsets.
I hope sales reps take these findings as creative criticism and improve. I am not sold on any system yet, but if I want a W7 phone and they try to steer me somewhere else, I will do what I do at other stores- take my money somewhere else. Very loudly. So other customers hear......
26. knuckleballer34 (Posts: 119; Member since: 27 Jul 2009)
I couldn't agree with you more. It takes time for any platform to fully develop their OS and app selection, and Windows Phone 7 has a good base to build from. Like my others, i'm very curious to see how far the platform is advanced with the Mango update. I've had phones with each system (other than WebOS) and each has benefits and drawbacks. But someone who walks into a store and wants a Windows Phone 7 device isn't going to be dissuaded from buying one; just maybe from buying one at a particular store that attempts to dissuade them from the product.
21. bossmt_2 (Posts: 438; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)
I can't vouch for other carriers or if this is still in place today, but when I last worked at Verizon there was a huge focus on return rates, for defective and just for a customer not wanting it. Even if WinMo 7 is awesome, the experience that probably every not-green sales rep has had with Windows is terrible. Crashing, poor UI, slow internet, etc.
And reps have always done it, I've known reps who refused to sell that RAZR. or I refused to do sell the Pre when I worked at Verizon. Simply cause the return rate was insane on them, only people who had the Pre before liked the device. Nothing deflates the mood of a rep then to see a pre they sold with 5 accessories come back for a blackberry or android with 1 or 2.
42. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)
Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7 crashing? I haven't heard of any widespread issues of WP7 crashing as opposed to the dubious documentation history of Windows Mobile crashing a lot.
Which do you mean when referring to the probable experience that every not-green sales rep has had with Windows? Green Sales reps would have the same 8 months experience with WP7 that ancient Sales reps would have, and there is a dearth of reports of crashes...
25. geo (unregistered)
It is important to ask the opinion of the salesman. They will see what is fuctional and customer complaints. If customers required a windows based product we as sales reps have to set the expectation. Being that windows in the past hasn't been either reliable or user friendly. Hence why the droids and the apple os has taken over the cell phone market. Ohh yeah it also out preformes windows. This is coming from a person that windows phones...
44. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)
Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7 hasn't been either reliable or user friendly in the past?
Are you talking about the last 8 months of WP7 or the last 8 years of Windows Mobile since they are completely different?
28. ps316 (Posts: 18; Member since: 19 Oct 2010)
It happened with me as well, both at AT&T and T-Mobile... I wanted to by Samsung Focus without contract for full amount from AT&T.. And he said we don't sell it without contract. There are other android phones which you can take without contract but not the windows phone. And at T-Mobile, I went for HD7, she gave me (are you crazy kinda look) and started telling me about android and iPhone.
And finally I got Samsung Focus, believe me or not, it is really the best thing from Microsoft and Samsung. Not sure what is going on with store sales representatives....
30. bluechrism (unregistered)
I had a similar experience trying to buy a Nokia astound by the way - i can understand them mentioning Nokia going to windows phone, but 2 reps i spoke to seemed knowledgeable and sounded like they had looked at the device and tried it out so they could talk about it to customers. Another told me to wait 6 months if i want a nokia until they have a WP7 device, and that the astound was crap, told me to get android or (from a t-mo rep, and i don't think my memory is failing me here) an iPhone - i am not sure if he mentioned the HD7, though i think a co-worked might have, trying to be a bit more helpful. Obviously, if i'm asking about a device from the get go, I've probably done at least a bit of research and know a little about it. So yeah, the guy who told me to wait 6 months didn't get a sale.
32. YoseYO (Posts: 8; Member since: 02 Feb 2011)
I will be completely honest. When I first started selling Phones I was kind of iffy when it came down to WP7 handsets, especially with past experiences with WP6. I would never reccommend the handsets because I never had a chance to play around with one, and I would sell only what I knew which was iOS and Android, especially when your Manager, and Higher ups would constantly push you to sell those devices. To make a Long story short, I got a chance to play around with a WP7 handset and I was impressed with the way everything flowed, now I'm actually kind of sad that where I work we don't sell anymore WP7 handsets for T-mobile because now I believe its an excellent alternative to Android, especially with Netflix which kind of closes the deal for most people (Until Android gets it all sorted out for all devices anyways)
45. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)
you mean Windows Mobile 6 versus WP6 right? Because WP7 is completely different than Windows Mobile 6 and past experiences with Windows Mobile 6 or any version of Windows Mobile has absolutely no bearing on WP7...
48. IAMI (unregistered)
I agree but try explaining that to customers. the word windows leaves a bad taste in the mouths.
52. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)
Exactly, which is why I think MS' biggest mistake was to continue teh Windows brand name on WP7
76. YoseYO (Posts: 8; Member since: 02 Feb 2011)
Lol yea thats what I meant, I was actually comparing Windows mobile platforms to the Current WP7
33. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)
I think a lot of sales reps either A. are afraid the customer won't like WP7 and don't want the return rate or B. Aren't familiar with WP7
We have to rememember before WP7 microsoft had some really bad s/w for smartphones so a lot of people haven't forgotten about that. I know cause I've used 2 windows smartphones before the new s/w and they were awful.
35. monstermash123 (unregistered)
You're totally right about previous versions of windows mobile. Windows Mobile before WP7 was GARBAGE. It was laggy, buggy, slow, devoid of features, and, no matter how powerful your device was, it always seemed to just run like crap. WP7 is really nice, I can't wait to see newer phones with the OS.
47. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)
I am comfortable with a PC computer and therefore I an comfortable with WIndows Mobile. They certainly had thier drawbacks and require mainteance [like computers], but they are eminently customizable if you have the knowledge [like computers], have a large aftermarket support base offering tons of features [like computers], and back in the day when Windows Mobile invented smartphones all phones were laggy and slow. Hell, the officeial WebOS market never got close to having as many apps as the freeware offerings that you can still find out there for Windows Mobile.
78. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)
Yeah, its sad. I personally do not like the iphone but I still have one [business reasons] and have taken the time to form an informed opinion about it [especially since I get lots of questions!
34. monstermash123 (unregistered)
Windows Mobile 7 is a really nice mobile OS. I have a blackberry now, but I've primarily used Android in the past. I played around with a Windows Mobile handset and thought it was really awesome. New features are constantly being added, and I would totally be down to buy a windows mobile handset in the future once I get some more money in my pocket, especially if they make a portrait QWERTY style handset like the Droid Pro.
36. jokersixty9 (Posts: 8; Member since: 01 Jan 2010)
Windows will be Windows, No one really wants one. For the time that windows 6.0, 6.5 stopped coming out in handsets, consumers and retailers found and concentrated on the new popular devices and OS. Microsoft needs to offer more to retailers to sway them to use the devices, offer them free, trainings, incentives. I work for a retailer and to be honest with you I was disappointed with Microsoft, usually they have a rep go and show the new product, give out some trinkets. I expected much more this time around since this is a game changer OS. Problem is people don't want it, its up to Microsoft to do more with the retailers to change that. I have played with the HTC Trophy and I LIKE IT. It is a huge improvement from previous Windows versions which I have also owned. The previous versions were slow, and not very smooth. The Windows 7 is very smooth, easy to use, and offers an array of options for the end user. Win Mo was popular and big before only because it was one of the very few alternatives, companies needed them because that's what they already had and need to stay with they same, now totally different, there are more alternatives and Microsoft needs to do more to convince they have a quality product, marketing won't be enough.
P.S. I own an Android Device....