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Mystery shopper exercise confirms sales people reluctant to push Windows Phone 7 gear

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Mystery shopper exercise confirms sales people reluctant to push Windows Phone 7 gear
There has been a rumor for a while now, confirmed with real-life experiences from many people that Windows Phone 7 handsets are left hanging by salespeople, who are mainly peddling Android and iOS smartphones.

Whether this is due to the lack of carrier strategy, or a general dislike of the phones by the staff has been debatable, that's why PCMag decided to make a secret shopping exercise. What they found, visiting stores of the four big US carriers, and asking for WP7 gear, was either ignorant about the platform sales reps, or ones biased towards the competition. 

Combined with less than maintained WP7 stands and inventory, this clearly shows complete lack of focus by the carriers towards Microsoft's fledging mobile OS, despite all of its virtues. And that seemingly goes even for the "premier" WP7 carrier, AT&T - in the test Manhattan shop there was only an LG Quantum with damaged screen on display.

These experiences clearly show why WP7 handsets are more popular abroad than in the US, as recent studies suggested. Lack of training, knowledge and general interest in the platform stems from the fact that carriers aren't considering WP7 a viable contender until Microsoft is able to show some more impressive sales numbers, which, of course, it can only do faster if carriers get serious about WP7. 

With just recently starting to sell Windows Phone devices on Verizon and Sprint, Microsoft still has a while to go with the platform to attract carriers and developers attention. Nokia Windows Phones might change all that, but the effect will most likely be felt predominantly abroad, not in the US, where Nokia has been quite marginalized. 

source: PCMag

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posted on 10 Jun 2011, 07:20 6

1. toottoot (unregistered)


why would anyone put an only display handset with a damaged screen? sheeesh...

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 07:34 1

2. android_hitman (Posts: 621; Member since: 07 Jul 2010)


bad publicity

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 07:58 5

3. FAndroid (unregistered)


I"m not a huge fan of Windows Phone 7, but this is still pretty douchebaggy (sorry for the word) of the stores.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 08:00 1

4. OhThatGuy.. (unregistered)


The UK was much the same during the WP7 release, only one working demo in an Orange store, and that was always on charge (out the back), you had to wait either for it to charge, only deemed by the store owner when it was good to come out on display (hence another 2x trip to the store) or wait for the next person to finish playing with it (happened on 3rd attempt). Though Apple seemed to have the iPhone 4 and 3GS (despite it being the old version) actively on demo and plugged into a power source.

In the end I sourced my phone from the US, as I believe the Samsung Focus is by far the best Wp7 it aint retailed in the UK, so much for choice eh..

The phone is great, but getting the buzz feeling of owning it, weltered with every attempt in its pursuit, it shouldn’t be that hard.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 08:30 4

5. Bob2312 (unregistered)


The rep int he ATT store I visited in Manhattan to buy my new phone told me that he would not recommend WP7 to customers because it was inferior to similar andoird phones and people who bought it weren't happy with it. He said his store sells very few WP7.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 08:40 4

6. simplyj (Posts: 404; Member since: 23 Dec 2009)


Yes, but sales people will always lie to you and give you their biased "opinions" on everything.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 11:21 1

37. kaylus (Posts: 2; Member since: 11 Jun 2011)


Not sure why you got negative feedback for the comment; I'm an Android user and I've noticed this often. One of the stores near me (Verizon) are Android fanatics, while the other (AT&T) store is not. I've caught both in lies (for or against) the OS.

The store for was making claims that a 600mhz Android phone without GPU would play flash video "smooth as butter", that there were no limits on the amount of apps you could load, and making claims of features that couldn't be done with a Droid X at the time (loading custom roms).

The store against was actually saying that you couldn't synchronize with email, that there was no true multitasking, giving incorrect information about the processors in them, and that the Android market had "barely any" games in it.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 08:49 4

7. MrColby (unregistered)


Sounds like a biased rep, Bob. WP7 seems to get far better reviews than was originally expected by consumers. People really need to do a little personal research when making a phone purchase (or anything else for that matter) and not rely on a sales rep to make up their minds for them. A lot of those sales reps get commissions on the particular phones they sell. So, they may be pushing a piece of crap only for the $$$. That wouldn't happen in America, would it? :)

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 16:05 1

25. EvoHero (Posts: 38; Member since: 15 May 2011)


Commissions in the industry are, by and large, determined by the creation or extension of a contract. Most reps, most of the time, could care less about which device is sold, as long as a device is sold. And I don't see anything wrong with a biased rep. Everyone has opinions. Even sales reps. And sales reps are (at least, supposed to be) the experts when it comes to mobile OS's. People value educated opinions.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 21:20

29. droid1 (unregistered)


if you only knew the whole deal, reps are more likely to sell the best product to avoid returns/chargebacks and customer dissatisfaction.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 22:19

31. kain (unregistered)


this is very true. as a rep, i find it difficult to sell a product when i know how poorly it's predecessor performed, and how often they were returned. as was previously mentioned, i don't care what device you buy, because there's more value in the contract, the added features, and the accessories a customer buys.

but to add to these things; people usually come in with an idea of what they want. most people aren't asking us to "sell" them on a phone. they're looking for deals, etc. maybe windows should ramp up their marketing, and try releasing more than one or two devices with each carrier so their potential customers have more options.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 11:12

36. B from AT&T (unregistered)


at at&t you'd make the same selling a windows smart phone as an iphone so that's not it ;)

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 09:05

8. Phonemode (unregistered)


Seriously? Every WP7 phone are the same, basically you only need one phone in the retail. They all the same, except the exterior. Plus, carrier already know consumer do not favor WP7 phone, they don't want to wasted time and resource on the phone. Period. Seriously, when is Microsoft going to change the UI of the WP7 OS? I guess until Steve Balmer step down as CEO, and then the new CEO raise his or her voice.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 10:22 1

15. Chakra (Posts: 123; Member since: 02 Dec 2009)


Same argument can be said of the android phone, and don't bother laying the motoblur, touchwiz, or sense argument. What UI do you propose? Generic icon base like iphone, or the androids. The UI is the most refreshing thing out there. I'm sure if the iPhone was to switch over, Apple would spend billions of dollars marketing, and convincing people they should have the patents rights, as it was their idea. Personally, when it's time to refresh my phone, I'd gladly take a wp7 phone because it does everything I want in a mobile phone. If I want to run an iphone or android app, I'll do it on my ipad or Xoom. The experience is much better anyways.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 14:28 2

23. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


FLAME, FLAME, FLAME!

Phonemode,
First: the WP7 UI is not only fine, but live tiles and hubs are preferable to the stale, boring, and less usable efforts that iOS and skinless Android boast.

Second: reasons for different WP7 models on display:
1) different form factors [landscape qwerty sliders, vs portrait qwerty sliders vs candybars,...
2) different manufacturers [LG, vs Samsung, vs Dell, vs htc, ...
Lets hope you can comprehend that some of us think for themselves and form opinions on what we like best [which may or may not differ from Steve Jobs' opinion on what we should like best

Third: if point 1 and 2 are true, then what is wrong? You. You already know that you do not favor WP7; do not presume to project your provinvial misconceptions on the rest of us. Your attitude is one of the reasons the platform is not more successful.
Not willing to give it a chance.
Not willing to acknowledge there is a difference between Windows Mobile and WP7
Not willing to consider buying a WP7 handset since everything Microsoft must be evil, subpar, and derivative.

As for the Carriers and Microsoft, they are both complicit in this as the carriers are not making ANY effort at the salespoint, and Microsoft needs to spend some of that $1B marketing budget getting carriers excited.
Regardless of whatever platform we individually prefer, the competition is best for everyone since we get new, more capable phones out of the bargain. Expecially since everyone just copies the best features of each other's platform...

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 16:39 1

26. jroc74 (Posts: 4936; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Live Tiles vs. widgets...if you prefer one over the other ...its preference. I feel widgets are better.

The UI appeals to some that like that modern, minimalistic look. There were Android themes that didnt look like WP7 but had that minimalistic look. I personally dont like it.

Based on both of yalls posts WP7 and Android are long lost cousins.

And I wish I had read your whole post. I thumbed you down...sorry. lol. It deserves a thumbs up..

posted on 13 Jun 2011, 16:27 1

42. corps1089 (Posts: 492; Member since: 20 Jan 2010)


I'll remember to start with my ending thought next time jroc74!

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 09:21 3

9. Iami (unregistered)


yes a lot of sales rep are biased or just sell the phone that pays more but comming from a sale rep perception which i am I have worked for two major companies over the last few years and the companies as whole dont care about the wp7 phones. I have worked for big red for a few years and now i work for all three major companies and the truth is apple pays these companies to train us and pays for extra space to display the phone and gives bonuses to the stores for selling a certian goal of iphones. Android started doing all this about a year ago as well. Windows platform does no such thing. So the reason we sell more android and apple is because apple and android train us and give our companies incentive too. If windows wants to make a dent then maybe they should get off there butts and send people out to the stores to tell us about there product or set up training at there own expenses. They cant expect to do nothing and make money.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 09:25 2

10. ChrisTheTechGuy (Posts: 84; Member since: 04 Nov 2010)


hard to believe because these phones some advantages over other OSes. I've actually recommended WP7 to quite a few customers, and haven't had any returns on them just yet.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 09:47 2

11. oh well (unregistered)


I work in a retail store. We get paid commission and windows phones return more than other phones. Why push a phone that has bad signal quality and you have to set up 2 accounts just to be able to use the worthless market. The same would have happened to android if we would have been able to sell the iphone. We recommend what is best for the customer and us.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 10:12 2

13. Chakra (Posts: 123; Member since: 02 Dec 2009)


It's probably because, like 99% of commissioned sales people out there, ya'll didn't qualify the customer. Those are probably the same customers that already had their mindest to buy the phone coming in, and like most salespeople, will just take the sale. It's not our fault, or the phones fault. It's a ignorant customer fault.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 09:51 4

12. Kam (unregistered)


I had done a legitimate amount of research on WP7 and walked into a Verizon store the other day to get a feel for how snappy the device was. I was impressed with the responsiveness, but the model they had on display wasn't even connected to the network. I reluctantly grabbed a salesman to ask him if he had had any returns on the platform and I don't think he understood there was a difference between Windows 6.5 and Windows phone 7. He then proceeded to tell me that the android phone next to it (some Samsung affair) was a much better choice for me. No wonder Microsoft cant sell a respectable amount of them.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 16:47 1

27. SemperFiV12 (Posts: 813; Member since: 09 Nov 2010)


Same with me... The model out in the Verizon store was not connected to the service. And conisdering you need a hotmail/live account to download apps, there were no apps, no internet usage, NOTHING. I guess you could use the phones calculator and time. Oh and MS Office. Maybe go crazy and set an alarm. It was shameful, and then the workers have the nerve to get angry when I ask them to connect it.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 10:17 2

14. Chakra (Posts: 123; Member since: 02 Dec 2009)


Let's be honest. Most mobile salespeople are not career sales people. The majority of them are young impressionable kids who are more concerned about the image of a product than what it actually does for a customer. I'm a fan of WP7, but I'll be the first to admit, "cool" or "wow" isn't the first thing I think of when someone says WP7. So of course they are going to push what they like.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 21:27

30. droid1 (unregistered)


who's going to be the guinea pig for WP7 and WebOS. Both are nice systems but need improved hardware upgrades and larger developer support. Let's blame this on the sales reps!

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 10:36 3

16. jroc74 (Posts: 4936; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Wow...the one AT&T store I went into wasnt like this. WP7 was smack in the middle of Android and iPhone. Working display, phone the whole nine. I never asked about it but the display wasnt biased towards the other phones.

Everybody that gets a phone from a store dont rely solely on the sales ppl. But.. if salespeople are being biased in trying to sell itl, that a real problem.

EDIT: Seeing the comment above about incentives for selling Android and iPhone...oh well...lol. I would push Android and iPhones too in that case.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 11:18 2

17. snowgator (Posts: 3233; Member since: 19 Jan 2011)


When I started testing devices, my local AT&T store had to activate a LG Quantum for me to test. Only the store manager knew anything about them, and spent some time asking why I was interested in Windows. There was no attempt to get me to other phones, but by the end of my visit, we had two of the salespeople playing with the phone to learn it better. Microsoft needs to address this issue soon- with Nokia hardware coming, they need equal facetime in stores.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 11:28 1

18. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I'm not surprised. Windows phones have left a bad taste in a lot of peoples mouths with all the poor OS's before the current windows 7 OS. It will take a while to turn their image around.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 11:34 1

19. captn3x (unregistered)


this is just my opinion but Nokia seems to be getting a ton of credit for "saving" WP7. I believe people are waiting for Mango more than Nokia. I am the "tech guy" of our group and I have told a few people to wait until Nov, Dec, Jan, to get a windows phone. I am excited to see what Nokia brings to the table but I won't rule out HTC or any of the other handset makers. I worry about this Nokia deal alienating other companies.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 12:37 2

20. Danalvi1981 (Posts: 47; Member since: 02 Jun 2010)


The Crazy thing about it all is that I was in The Sprint Store here in NJ right outside of the Deptford mall. I was taking my HTC Evo cell phone for repairs. One of the employee's there was selling the Android phones really hard but totally ignored the Windows 7 phone and said to the buyer "you wouldn't want that one. The software is to new, you won't like this phone."Even when the customer seemed a little bit attached to the Windows 7 phone. In the end the customer choose the Andriod phone.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 13:09 1

21. john (unregistered)


Hey guys, I am from Singapore and this is very different from what it is in the US. I have been to a couple of carrier here and the salesman would usually introduce iPhone to me then a windows phone such as Samsung Omnia 7. Android is always given the least priority and there is hardly any android device for testing than wp7/IP...

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 13:23 2

22. iami (unregistered)


Not only do we get incentives for selling these phone but the store gets penalized and Apple will send you less product and at time of new releases youll get hardly any if your not selling mostly there phone. So if we dont sell it we get verbal warnings basically we are forced to sell apple even thou i personally do not like anything about it Im stuck pushing it. Including the applecare which i think is a waste of money i have to sell. Most importantly thought apple and moto or samsung send reps to each store and test our knowledge and teach us about droid or iphone. I know samsung makes a wp7 yet I have seen the guy about 4 times this year and not once has he even said a word about the wp7 all he talks about are the new androids and wants to know what i know about them and shows me all kind of things on it. Wp7 again no one not even samsung reps care about them lol its funny. And most people are sheep if there friends has android they want android if there friends have apple they want apple. If customer where nto ignorant and researched there product then no one would ever by iphones anymore. they only want it cause Bobby had one and he made it look cool so now they need to go lite there smoke and get one too. The wp7 can be worlds better then a iphone but untill they advertise it as much or teach there own employees about it itll never sell as much.

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 14:36

24. BigEaze22 (Posts: 25; Member since: 17 May 2011)


lets see. i went to the vzw store and asked about wp7. the guy said they were glitchy, unresponsive, and hard to use. i go over to the phone and it's 5 times easier to use than android, quick, and very responsive. why do they say that windows need to seel more handsets before they take them seriously if they're the ones who should be selling them

posted on 10 Jun 2011, 19:09

28. HumboldtGreengo (unregistered)


I've had iPhone,androind(evo) and now the HTC ARRIVE (WP7) and my wp7 is by far my favorite. This saleswoman at the local target told me a month before the arrive was released not to buy a wp7 because the "whole os is being scrapped and they are pulling the plug on wp7" she should be fired immediately. I recommend wp7 to anyone try it for a week or two most carriers give you time to decide and return if you don't like

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 00:30 2

32. vzwtech86 (Posts: 20; Member since: 31 Oct 2009)


I can assure you that carriers are not the ones pushing users away from Windows Phone 7. It is the reps themselves. I work for one of the carriers and the reason why these phones do not sell is for a few key reasons:

1. The OS is still in it's infancy. Once "Mango" hits, I believe that the WP7 offerings will be more on par with current Android and iOS devices.

2. Reps are too lazy to research WP7 and learn to recommend as a viable solution to customers. Since iOS has such a large following and Android is growing at an exponential rate, representatives allow themselves to settle on these smartphones as being "universal solutions" for everyone, without really understanding the benefits to WP7 and other smartphone operating systems such as WebOS (which is pitched even less) and BlackBerry (which is constantly decreasing in popularity).

3. Reps do not have enough confidence in WP7 to sell due to fear of returns. Most of the reasoning behind this comes from the first two reasons, as well as lack of knowledge in result of having the chance to really get to know the OS. I have a great level of respect for WP7, and can see it being a viable competitor to both iOS and Android, as long as the right paths of innovation and implementation are taken, which seem to be the case as of late. Anyone who loves music, plays Xbox, edits Office documents, or even heavy social networking would find a love for WP7. Having Zune Pass on the phone truly drives the multimedia experience, and having your Xbox Live account with you at all times is very convenient for knowing what your online friends are up to. And with Mango adding over 500 new features, it's just the beginning.

I may sound like a WP7 fanboy, but I'm honestly not. I love each smartphone OS for different reasons, yet I understand the benefits of each. In my area's corporate stores, WP7 is vibrantly displayed and although it may not be the first type of phone recommended to a customer, I never see any of the reps downtalk the OS.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 00:42 1

33. jroc74 (Posts: 4936; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


You dont sound like a fanboy. I agree with you. It sound believable about the reps.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 11:11

35. B from AT&T (unregistered)


I work as a salesman for at&t and I know in our store we talk about windows phones and sell them just as much as the other phones, and I live up close to canada in Minnesota. If they aren't selling them and talking about them they just aren't doing their job. I love the windows phones and just got an hd7s as my company line. Once you get tired of Android running like a PC and slowing down all the time, you will love WP7 like i do ;)

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 11:31

38. showtime_tech (Posts: 2; Member since: 11 Jun 2011)


yea I agree with this article, just three days ago I went to a sprint where the sales rep was giving me bs about windows phone being glitchy maybe 6.5 was because i had it but not windows 7 i can in sure you that, so after he tells me that he tries to pitch the evo to me and i was having it, seen one iphone and seen alot of android phones and now i feel like i seen it all. Windows is the way to go for now at least for me.

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 12:19

39. apostrafee (Posts: 1; Member since: 07 Jan 2011)


im an android guy and our store just recieved the htc trophy, to be honest with you i love the phone, its clean, simple and easy with great animations from screen to screen. as far as customization goes it lacks what android offers but most of the time i find myself customizing my android with the simplest roms and themes which the windows phone already has, if they launch something with beefier specs maybe a higher res camera and develop more apps i may take the plunge, but never ever would i sell off of this phone

posted on 11 Jun 2011, 16:59

40. Sid (unregistered)


I find wp7 right up there with the iPhone or mayb better than iPhone...pls guys remember that since iPhone 2g was launched everyone has been trying to match it...u can say android surpassed it in terms of customization or symbian on the n8 surpassed it for being old school...but u know what has held the iPhone above all?? It's touchscreen response..no android phone even s2 can match the original iPhone's touchscreen...even though on paper or in reality android devices are powerful..but still...the only phone or OS that has been able to challenge apple in terms of it's screen response is wp7...it's as sensitive as the iPhone..or even more..so stop criticizing wp7 pls..let it develop...give it time...when we could do with the iPhone not having video recording for 2yrs then certainly we can give this wonderful OS a chance

posted on 12 Jun 2011, 07:59

41. Gcombs (unregistered)


WP7 is a very nice OS that I'm waiting for. I just wish the manufacturers will support the OS like they do for Android. A nice dual-core with all the bells and whistles with 4G LTE for Verizon.

posted on 25 Jun 2011, 18:04

43. B12 (unregistered)


It is terribly sad to say w7 is held back by reps but it is a correct accusation. Beings a sales rep for a major carrier we push what is suitable to the customer as well as the company. Losing profit for returns of the w7 for an os device that has something more,and as petty as free apps in the market is a reality. Why sell it if thenreturn rate is high. Although, if a customer comes in with enough knowledge of the w7 phones I wouldn't see why a rep would discourage a customer. But, of course it's because the rep doesn't have enough knowledge of the phone and is scared to sell it. Don't assume the companies do not train well. They do, and very well. Reps just don't care or pay attention in the trainings. Windows mobile made a very bad impression on reps. Just like every other consumer reacts to a bad experience so do sales people.

posted on 30 Jun 2011, 16:10

44. kr (unregistered)


Just came from a Verizon store and was told by the sales rep that

"We all know how windows freezes up all the time and has blue screen errors and viruses - well it's the same for their phones"

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