A Sprint customer (veteran) took a trip to the Sprint store a little over a week ago (December 16, 2012) to sign a new two-year contract agreement and select his new smartphone, courtesy of Sprint and other major carriers. When he arrived at the store, the customer told Sprint representatives that he wanted to get a free phone with his two-year contract extension. The Sprint customer is not alone in this; Apple has a $0 phone it offers each year with a two-year contract in order to attract customers to select an iPhone as their next phone or concede to a two-year agreement. The plan has been successful for Cupertino so far.
The Sprint representative to whom the customer spoke went through all the necessary work of pulling up the customer’s account to register his new agreement and phone when he did the following, according to the customer:
“The rep says ‘Are you sure you want the iPhone? It’s really a piece of [ ].’ I tell him yes, I’ve had iPhones in the past and I’ve done my homework about the possible phones I would be leaving with…Apparently ‘yes’ wasn’t good enough. He [Sprint rep] proceeded to tell me EVERY shortcoming this phone had: the battery life sucks, if I dropped it, I’d break it, it’s a little small compared to my last phone, etc. but the icing on the cake? ‘Your fingers are too fat for such a phone. You should get the Galaxy S III.’
Really? I replied ‘Okay [M] your nametag doesn’t say “Sprint Rep/Nutritionist” so don’t tell me how I can’t use the phone because of my “fat” fingers.’ Fed up with his attitude and tone of condescension, I walked out, no phone in hand. I’d rather have a broken phone than to have to put up with such a rude person.” (underline mine)
Tech writers over the blogosphere agree that the representative was rude in his comments to the customer. He was rude in order to make a sale, and that is never a good thing. Customer preferences are important in the phone selection process, and the iPhone should have been given its fair place in the selection process (the Galaxy S III, from me, someone who owns it, has its own flaws as well!). With that being said, however, what was so “rude” and “condescending” about the representative’s behavior?
With regard to the representative’s comments about the iPhone, was he off base? It depends on whom you talk to. Having written on the iPhone for some significant time now, I can say that there are things about the iPhone that could be better. Apple has a great, tried-and-true product; however, the product has become boring to many of its users. That is not a good thing for a company that has to compete with the likes of Android and its ever-multiplying manufacturer base.
And what about the “fatty fingers” comment? To the customer, the Sprint rep’s comment was negative; to me, however, the comment has some merit. CNET’s Marguerite Reardon, in her “Ask Maggie” column, received a letter from a gentleman who wanted to gain her advice on whether to go with the Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2, or the iPhone 5. His letter to her stated these exact words:
“I’m a 6’1” big man with fairly large hands so the screen size of both the Galaxy S3 and the new Galaxy Note 2 really appeal to me.”
For this gentleman, at least, the size of his hands matters when it comes to phone selection. The Sprint representative, then, may have been making an observation that has some merit to it. Before we throw stones at the Sprint representative, how many of us know how large or small the customer’s hands were?
Hand size is a significant factor when considering whether or not to purchase a smartphone. At the same time, however, it is not the only or deciding factor—unless phone size is everything to you. And to some, it is everything.