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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

106 Comments
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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: 1999; 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: 79; 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: 2226; 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: 6015; 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: 200; 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: 2226; 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!!

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