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Secret shoppers find AT&T stores recommend iPhone to those interested in Lumia 900

Posted: , by Charlene S.

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Secret shoppers find AT&T stores recommend iPhone to those interested in Lumia 900
While there is some confusion as to just how much money AT&T is sinking into its promotion of the Nokia Lumia 900, we do know for sure that AT&T said this launch with be their biggest ever, so if you walked into an AT&T store today and asked for a smartphone, one would assume the sales associate would recommend a Lumia 900. Right? Apparently that isn’t the case at all AT&T stores.

WMPoweruser has reported that some of its readers have overheard sales people only recommending iPhones to customers who state they are interested in their first smartphone. A senior researcher at IDC visited a few stores in Massachusetts and found all but one associate were unable to articulate what makes Windows Phone different than its competitors. The folks over at CNET checked out several AT&T stores around Manhattan posing as a first time smartphone buyer. They also experienced employees who recommend iPhones first, followed by Android devices.

One associate at a store on the Upper West Side was specifically asked about the Lumia 900 and responded, “Windows Phone is alright, but it’s no iPhone.”

An assistant manager at another AT&T store said, “For your first smartphone, you should get an iPhone. When you get bored with that, you should try an Android phone.”

While this is a small sample of AT&T’s over 2,200 stores, it does raise some questions as to how much of this gigantic marketing budget was allocated toward associate training and generating excitement about the device internally.

"We are working to get as many sales representatives trained as possible and to give each of them some hands-on time with the device," said Senior product manager at Microsoft for Windows Phone, Greg Sullivan, "There are thousands of retail stores and even more authorized dealers throughout the country. Educating all these sales associates is not something that can be accomplished overnight. And we can't get to 100 percent on launch day. But we're making steady progress."

Sullivan pointed out that the success of the Nokia Lumia 900 would not make or break the company. He also said that Microsoft is in it for the long haul and will do whatever is necessary to make it a success.

source: CNET & WMPoweruser

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posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:32 28

1. fervid (Posts: 183; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Most ATT reps lack proper training, this just further proves it.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 15:54 11

49. alpinejason (Posts: 262; Member since: 06 Sep 2011)

dead on accurate

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 17:16 1

56. andro. (Posts: 1998; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)

While i can't speak for what training At&t staff have I could also see reasons why they aren't promoting the Windows phones. Windows phones are generally unpopular and unlike by the public and perhaps after seeing a drop in sales while trying to push Nokia windows they may well have gone back to the tried and trust popular sellers.

Also no sales rep with a conscience wants to sell their customer a phone they don't want or will hate and be stuck in 2 years contracts with,besides its back to you they will complain to!

I've seen it first hand these situations and have am not surprised if Lumia sales end up low

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 22:31 4

65. Pdubb (Posts: 248; Member since: 08 Aug 2011)

If that were the case then why when a customer asks for a Lumia the associate pushes the iPhone? They just sell what they think a customer wants.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 00:13 3

69. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)

do you have it documented that they are unliked? because i read articles on this site how they were top rated on amazon and other sources… also reviews constantly say how the os is simple and likable.. just the apps are lacking

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 19:56 3

61. Kilo_Gilo (Posts: 6; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

Let's get the facts straight here. Why is everyone trying to sell iphones instead of the Nokia? The answer is simple. Comission. If you were a retail associate and someone walks in the door saying "Hi I'm a fist time smartphone easier," unfortunately the first thing going through most associates heads is "this is a gold mine." They have the oppurtunity to sell this customer anything since they think they don't know anything about the phones. That being said, If you had the opportunity to sell either an iphone that starts out at $199, or a Nokia that goes for $99, I think most people are going to try to sell the more expensive phone to make more money. It's sad but it's true. I know this because I work for AT&T, not in a retail store, but the warranty services. I get 80+ year old customers with Blackberrys and have absolutely no idea how to use it. WHy? Money hungry associates picking off the weak for easy money.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 21:45 3

62. iDroidx650 (Posts: 78; Member since: 26 May 2010)

you don't know what your talking about. There is no difference if reps sell and iphone 4s or Lumia 900. Just because the iphone 4s is more expensive doesn't mean they get commission. AT&T reps don't get paid of devices but on features, accessoires, and new activation and upgrades. I would know because I am a rep.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 01:51 1

70. roscuthiii (Posts: 2217; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

Maybe not "commission" then exactly, but as a sales rep then you should at least be familiar with the fact that companies keep track of sales. (Sales are kind of important.)
Tracking of sales can be from as simple as an individual performance evaluation for promotion all the way up to a regional company outlook/self-audit like the "top shop" competitions my roommate's corporation holds. So yes, while there may be no exact commission involved, having higher sales numbers always benefits the sales rep.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 10:44 1

84. jimmyeat311 (Posts: 1; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)

not true. no one cares about the price of phone you sell. it is actually more beneficial to sell a lower priced phone because that way we can sell more acc. att as a company really wants to push android and windows over iphone. iphones actaully make the company less money than other phones

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 14:11

88. DanMarino13 (Posts: 63; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

Any carrier will end up making more over the 2 year contract on additional features and more costly plans then they will on a phone that's more expensive!

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 19:59

97. jroc74 (Posts: 6005; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

There were articles on here and around the net about Microsoft paying money to sales reps for pushing WP7.

That would be a commission.

I dont know if anyone else was supposed to do the same....

Since you are a sales rep....were those articles true?

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 16:00

91. urc2828 (Posts: 4; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)

It's not quite as simple as that. Usually, the more expensive the phone, the less commission you would make as a rep. That is on the indirect side. Generally you would make a set amount for selling the contract on the rate plan, plus what you charge for the phone, minus the cost to the company. So if your store sells a rate plan that is worth 300 gross profit, and you sell the phone for 199.99, but it costed the company $450 to buy you are looking at $50 total gross profit, and the rep would get a certain percentage of that. However, when speaking about a corporate employee, they are not paid on Gross Profit. They are paid based on opportunites (contracts), and the ratios associated with those. So whether you sell one flip phone or one iPhone, that is still an opportunity. Where the money comes in is features and accessories. You have to maintain a certain level of each to get paid. So if you sell a simple flip phone, the likelihood that you are going to add any accessories or data packages to that is very little. When going between a Lumia and an iPhone you get the same data packages associated with each, so that is a push. But it is well documented that iPhone users buy more accessories than any other phone user. I mean, just go into an ATT store and ask them what cases they have for a Lumia, then ask what cases they have for the iPhone. Plus you have insurance. Are you more likely to add insurance onto a fully glass phone that has a history of being stolen, or a plastic phone that no one outside the phone community has heard of? And then there is Apple Care, another thing to sell. There are so many extra opportunities to sell things with the iphone at a corporate location that it would be dumb not to push them. Now at an authorized retailer, that's completely different.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 16:15

94. waltah (Posts: 9; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)

So Kilo_Gilo, do you always go around commenting on things that you know nothing about? Just wondering. What you know about AT&T is that can swap out via warranty inside of one year. It's sad but true.

posted on 15 Apr 2012, 15:24

104. Kilo_Gilo (Posts: 6; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

Ha. You would want to think that, but fortunatly I do more about the company, since I pay attention. And Urc is right about the iphone customers generally purchasing more features and accessories because there is just more there to sell. Also, I don't blog or post on blogs unless I absolutely have an opionion to express, or something to say. I don't throw in a meaningless comment just to call someone out because I think I know who they are and not express my own opinion, Waltah

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 12:19

86. betaman18 (Posts: 3; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)

it's not so much that AT&T representatives Lack training but more of some of their disinterest in "other" types of phones. The trainings that are given for new equipment usually are bland and go over the basic features of a handset so there's not much of the WOW factor to be able to promote it. Combine this with the common person single mindedness and you have the perfect storm for "iphone is the greatest phone, iphone is the only phone."

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:33 21

2. phoenixpr (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

So true, when I was looking to activate service at AT&T, they recommended Verizon.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:38 9

6. Virile (Posts: 38; Member since: 01 Mar 2012)

I call lies on that one, why would they tell you to go to another carrier when its technically their job on the line

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:42 2

9. -box- (Posts: 3991; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)

Unless the customer were wanting service in an area known not to offer coverage with said carrier. If I were in that situation I'd rather keep my customer happy and tell them honestly what they can expect instead of misleading them into a contract and making them feel betrayed and taken advantage of. Granted, there's buyer's remorse periods, but I'd rather please a customer than risk losing commission in that instance. I'm not a sales rep, so maybe my opinion would change in that instance. Sniggly (and remix I think) would know more about that than I

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 19:09 4

59. phoenixpr (Posts: 167; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

Was a silly joke...

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 23:37 2

68. Eingild (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 Apr 2011)

You should upgrade your sense of humor

posted on 13 Apr 2012, 00:40

98. ardent1 (Posts: 2000; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)

You are being unctuous.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 11:24 1

85. ECPirate37 (Posts: 195; Member since: 14 Jul 2011)

I was with at&t for over 10 years. I started when it was Bell South Mobility DCS, then it became Cingular (the best company I ever dealt with in the mobile marketplace), and then became at&t. I HATE at&t.

When I was dealing with at&t, my last conversation with them, a manager with them told me I should go to Sprint, so I did. I hung up the phone, and the next day went and switched to Sprint. I have been happy ever since. So I can believe at&t recommending Verizon.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 01:53 2

71. roscuthiii (Posts: 2217; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)

I thought it was good... but things like irony and sarcasm get lost in translation though.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 14:12

89. DanMarino13 (Posts: 63; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

i could easily tell it was a joke, not sure how everyone didn't get that.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:33 8

3. fervid (Posts: 183; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

Most ATT reps lack proper training, this just further proves it.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:36 5

4. fervid (Posts: 183; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)

I only posted this once, system is messed up and doesn't allow deleting your own messages. I thought it used to allow this?

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:37 7

5. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)

As far as I know you've never been able to delete, only edit.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:38 1

7. nb2six (Posts: 298; Member since: 27 Apr 2011)

This could be a case of both the rep not digging deep enough to find out exactly what would be the perfect fit for the customer and also the assumption that the person would get bored with a Windows phone. They didn't specify the age range of the folks who did the secrect shopping. If they were young to middle age, the iphone would be a good fit for them, if they were in the more aged range (47+) the windows phone would of been a good choice as well. Until the app market/store for windows starts carrying many more of the major titles that help make a smartphone, a smartphone to "the general public", you wont see reps reccommending them for fear of returns and lost revenue.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:40 8

8. troybuilt (Posts: 155; Member since: 16 Dec 2011)

I believed this immediately just from the title. AT&T sales rep have one phone in mind to sell and it's the iPhone. They even try to push the iPhone to elderly people who want just a basic phone. I've dealt with many of them. Sales reps somehow manage to sell the elderly (What I mean by elderly, 80+ years of age) an iPhone, then throw out the door and don't bother trying to show them how to use it.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:43 9

10. mrvid (Posts: 77; Member since: 02 Oct 2008)

Could be Windows phones suck too!!

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:59

23. TROLL.IS.AHA (banned) (Posts: 58; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

It look's like it! 3 thumbs up!

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:45 10

11. CharlieAtInfinity (Posts: 253; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

LOL I bet AT&T guys are being paid by Apple to do this!!!

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:46 9

12. iDroidx650 (Posts: 78; Member since: 26 May 2010)

As an AT&T rep. One of the main reason we push iPhone is because of apple care+. That counts as an accessory sale. We are all about numbers. With the iPhone if we sell apple care, case and screen protector that over $150 in accessories. Our goal is at least $70 in accessories per upgrade/ new line etc. now I personally don't always push for the iPhone like my co workers. I just ask questions and based on the answers they give me I will do the best to recommend the phone for them. I just give the facts.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 14:04 10

25. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

Okay, I'm not trying to bash the sales reps here or anger any reading this post, but... Wouldn't eliminating commission and raising reps base pay help in situations like this? I think it would help if they didn't have to worry about the easy sale, or meeting upgrade or accessory goals. As a former Customer Service Rep, I was required to ask customers what is it they wanted or needed in a phone, along with a few other qualifying questions that would help me determin which phone or OS I should recommend. But when I go into a store I don't hear any of that because the agents have to worry more about meeting all these silly, unobtainable quotas. The sales rep don't have the time to learn about these new OSs and even less time to educate customers about them. So I'm not surprised that this is happening at all.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 15:21 4

47. djg71087 (Posts: 70; Member since: 10 Oct 2010)

a lot of it actully does not have to do with it being an "easy sale," but more-or-less what has the least amout of churn (what phone that will not come back). furthermore, if they are a 1st time smartphone buyer than they shoud at least show "a" WP7 handset. it truley is a nice device.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 14:18 1

90. DanMarino13 (Posts: 63; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

and that right there is why Best Buy Mobile is perfect. Base pay is slightly more than minimum wage and they don't care what phone we sell because they grade our performance on attaching accessories and adding our Black Tie Protection which is slightly more than the the carrier insurance cost but with a 0$ deductible for any phone, even the iphone. The way we make our money is from wage, and then if the department as a whole hits the numbers they set for us. Which eliminates co worker issues because i don't care if he buys the phone from me or a coworker. It also helps because i will suggest a phone based on what the customer tells me.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 16:08

92. urc2828 (Posts: 4; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)

Doesn't sound perfect to me. ATT reps make $13 an hour plus commission, which usually averages around a grand. I think I would much rather work at ATT.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 16:10

93. urc2828 (Posts: 4; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)

It sounds great in theory, poor in execution. If you got paid the same no matter what you sold, would you try and add accessories to any sale? All reps would become Wal-Mart clerks. You think ATT gets a bad rap now for customer service, imagine if this happened.

posted on 13 Apr 2012, 16:21

99. georgiaboyz (Posts: 11; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)

For company that makes its' money based solely off of the salemanship of their employees, a non commissioned pay structure wouldn't work at all. If you make the same amount of money no matter if you sold and iPhone or an old Nokia brick where's the incentive to make the most of a sale which in turn makes the most for AT&T. Being paid commission forces you to to meet goals that have been set, which ultimately do nothing except make yourself and your employer more $$$$$

posted on 14 Apr 2012, 06:13 1

101. DanMarino13 (Posts: 63; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

i just want to clarify that iphones literally make no money for BB. my most dreaded customers, are a) ones who can't speak english and come into buy effin Cricket phones. b) people who upgrade to an iphone and don't want any accessories or services. The way we are "commisioned" if that's how you want to call it, is the Best Buy Mobile department has goals set for us, as an entire group if we hit 100% on our main goal (profit) then we get an additional bonus in our check that is based on how many hours you worked that month. and the more you beat your profit goal by the higher amount of bonus you get.

posted on 14 Apr 2012, 06:17 1

102. DanMarino13 (Posts: 63; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

it's very productive because you never want to be the one guy in the department who's numbers and metrics are low, because that brings the entire departments numbers down which you don't want to be the guy that makes it so you and your coworkers bonus is smaller. it also eliminates coworker issues because if i talk to a lady for 35 minutes today and she comes back tomorrow and doesn't buy from me, i don't care because i have already done my job and convinced her to come to Best Buy. I'm honestly not quite sure why people buy phones from carrier locations. do you guys have any benefits as to why i would buy a phone from a carrier store as opposed to Best Buy? gimmer your best shot.

posted on 14 Apr 2012, 23:08

103. W.P._Android_in_that_Order (Posts: 208; Member since: 15 Feb 2012)

I agree with @danmarino13 on this one. I used to work at a corperate Verizon store and the system is set up to make people hate each other and walk on eggshells. I now work at BestBuy and make just slightly less but now am able to get people into phones thay are best for them without being forced to be incredibly biased so that i try to reach some outrageous goal.

I say the same thing. If i were sending a family member in to get a phone, there is no possible way that i would send them to a corperate store.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 14:07 7

30. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

Poor way to sell phones - you should sell according to a customer's needs, not your own.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 14:17 2

34. iDroidx650 (Posts: 78; Member since: 26 May 2010)

Maybe you didn't read my comment. I ask qualifying question. What is most important for you to do on a smartphone? Do you download music or apps? Things like that

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 15:16 4

46. Whateverman (Posts: 3262; Member since: 17 May 2009)

I did read yor comment, that's why I replyed to it. You talking about what you do. I'm talking about what the customer experiences, and that is something I heard a lot of from customers and then experienced myself as just a customer for my former employer. It sounds like your doing a great job, but that's not the norm when people walk into a store. Reps learn from ME whenever I go in. Shouldn't it be the other way around?

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 14:18 5

35. shadowcell (Posts: 300; Member since: 28 Mar 2012)

More of the reason why my last two cell phone purchases have been online. Sales reps will never receive a dime in commission from me.

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 08:32

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

Yes! Arrogant MFers who think they know what you want better than you do. Their employer gives them direction which they ignore and instead use their own discretion. They should be fired in my opinion...

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 16:19 2

95. waltah (Posts: 9; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)

You're an idiot. Just sayin.

posted on 14 Apr 2012, 06:06 2

100. DanMarino13 (Posts: 63; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)

that's one thing we can agree on waltah. lol if corps1089 saw the uneducated idiots us sales associates have to put up with on a daily basis he would know why sometimes you just have to make a decision for a customer. Because in honesty, we are required to know our stuff, and most people that walk in my doors never do any homework or look up reviews or even think about anything before they come to us...

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 16:16 1

51. RamyRamz69 (Posts: 390; Member since: 12 Dec 2011)

Case and screen protector worth 150$? Thanks god I got an Xperia.

Oh also guess what, it came with what you mentioned above plus a car charger, Micro HDMI Cable and 2 smart tags for free.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 21:49 2

63. iDroidx650 (Posts: 78; Member since: 26 May 2010)

you didn't include apple care+. $99 + $30 case plus $20 screen protector.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:47 2

13. Tre-Nitty (Posts: 468; Member since: 16 Nov 2010)

Its the reps choice what they sell. If they dont want to push wp that's their right.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:49 7

14. DigitalJedi_X2 (banned) (Posts: 346; Member since: 30 Jan 2012)

That's not actually true. The reps have to push whatever management tells them to push. That's part of the job.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:55 7

19. troybuilt (Posts: 155; Member since: 16 Dec 2011)

That's right. Some in here think Apple is paying extra bucks to sell their phones. Seriously? Apple is a greedy company. What makes you think they pay extra per sale? I'm thinking it's apart of the AT&T contract with Apple. Every AT&T sales rep has to sell a certain number of iPhones a month or be put on a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan). If they don't hit their goals the next month, they're let go. End of story. Yes, I work for AT&T too.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 14:33 3

40. thnkthru3 (Posts: 73; Member since: 25 Dec 2011)

Troy....Appreciate the facts...It's a sad state of affairs. I gave you a thumbs up.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 17:00 1

54. troybuilt (Posts: 155; Member since: 16 Dec 2011)

Thanks my friend. I gave you one back. I believe in facts and not rumors, which is what some on here believe in.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 14:47 5

43. iDroidx650 (Posts: 78; Member since: 26 May 2010)

Actually we are getting 75 reward points for each lumia we sell. That goes to a website were we can order gifts like clothing, fragrance and electronics. we did the same for the galaxy note.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 17:03 1

55. troybuilt (Posts: 155; Member since: 16 Dec 2011)

Yes, that's the samething Samsung does with each phone you sell. You get some kind reward points and you can buy products on their site. Also, LG was doing something like that too. LG has gone down hill with the devolopment of devices and all we have is the Nitro and the new flip phone.

posted on 11 Apr 2012, 13:56

20. TROLL.IS.AHA (banned) (Posts: 58; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)

True may-be?

posted on 12 Apr 2012, 07:58 1

79. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)

The reps job is to find the right product for the customer. Through asking questions and talking with the customer. But if a customer comes in and asks for the Lumia 900 specifically why would I try to sell them something they don't want. When I picked up my phone the rep I had (I go to another store because its less comfortable for me) did not question why I wanted the Lumia 900. Because I went in and walked right up to him and said I wanted the Lumia. That's it nothing else, if he tried to suggest to me another phone I would of asked for another sales rep.

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