As Seth Godin pointed out in his book, All Marketer’s Are Liars, marketers are storytellers, and a problem occurs when the story they tell doesn’t match the customer experience.
Jeffrey likes to say “marketers are too often forced to make promises that the business has no intentions to deliver on.” That’s also known as a lie. Verizon may well have the most “reliable” telecom network. All those folks they show in their commercials as being part of “the most reliable network” aren’t. The ads lie!
I’m sure the marketers don’t intend to lie but it was the hand they were dealt by Verizon management. Let me explain.
Jeffrey and I just came back from a very productive 10-day road trip. After some airport delays and several hotels iffy Wi-Fi, we wanted to buy wireless broadband cards for our Macs. The money Verizon spends on advertising influenced us. We want reliability. Our Crackberries aren’t enough connectivity for us.
We went online with every intention to buy. The website team and the live chat operators dropped the ball. We didn’t buy. We’re not sure we will. It’s rare that a company’s customer service is better than their sales acquisition department.
Let me show you some major disconnects in the experience (and what they need do to fix it):
The Verizon wireless site was obviously set up to sell mobile phones, not wireless cards (open this window to follow along). Wireless cards are an added appendage. This is a classic example of what I like to call the business prevention unit at work.
Let me show you why this site is having a challenging time converting visitors. Our Persuasion Architecture process has three simple questions at it’s core:
1. Who is the person you want to persuade? In this case, Verizon has no data about me; but let us use a simple profile of a busy executive, who has already committed himself in his mind to making the purchase (I really did just want to order it online yesterday) who has very little knowledge of wireless cards. I already had my credit card out on the table.
2. What action do you want them to take? This is the macro action of purchasing a wireless card and on the micro level at this category page to choose the right product for me.
3. What information do they need in order to feel confident to take that action? This is where things just unwind and their reliability falls apart.
As you scroll down the page, you can see seven cards displayed. The only information provided on the page is brand, type of access (they all have national and broadband) and pricing. In my mind, the first think I need to sort out is which of these will work with our Macs. At this point, I really don’t know what else to use to judge which card would fit our needs. The price of the card is not part of my consideration because I just want to be able to connect anywhere I am and not worry about it. The cost just didn’t matter. Well, there’s nothing indicated on this page to make a Mac-friendly sort. However, at the top of the product list, there’s a link, “select features,” to narrow your phone search.” Okay, it says phone and not wireless card but that’s a small detail.
Once you click, it shows you a bunch of options all of these related to their cell phones and not one that would help you sort wireless cards (they could have had things like PC or Mac, connection speeds, external or internal antenna, etc.) Okay, time to close that because that won’t help any. Verizon hasn’t gone through the effort to answer the 3rd question of the Persuasion Architecture process (see questions above). What information do I need to be able to feel confident to choose the right product from this category page?
At this point, I’m left with a couple of options. I can pogo-stick and go from category page to each and every product, and hope that each product description gives me enough information that I can actually distinguish between products–and trust me, I really don’t want to or have the time to do this–or I can select a couple at random and try to compare them (not that choosing and actually using the compare feature is that intuitive).
Somehow, I pulled up the Compare page with two cards and was prompted into a live chat. I almost always close these down right away but, today, I wanted to buy and I knew the website wouldn’t be helping me anytime soon.
I give Wes, my live chat agent, a lot of credit. He spent a lot of time with me even though he obviously was not given the ammunition to help someone armed with any real questions. In the end, Wes explained this was a new group (haven’t they been selling these cards for a while now?) and wasn’t going to be trained until sometime later this month and wasn’t given any additional information beyond what was on the website. How reliable do I think Verizon is now?
Check out the transcript of the chat below:
A Verizon Wireless online pre-sales specialist has joined the chat. You are now chatting with Wes
You: trying to figure out which card would work best with a mac
Wes: Hello. Thank you for visiting our chat service. May I help you with your order today?
You: yes which card works on the mac
Wes: The PC 5750 is the newest of the REV A cards to give you great Broadband access on your lap top. With a network of download speeds of 450-800 kbps this card will give you great access to your email and office applications. With the VZAccess Manager you can manage your applications, emails, and instant messaging very easily. This card comes with a high performance hinged antenna and an external antenna connector to boost signal strength and improve connectivity. The PC 5750 is both Windows Vista and Mac Compatible. How does that sound?
You: what does this VZAccess Manager do – why do I need it?
Wes: I’m sorry for the delay. I’ll be right with you.
Wes: It allows you to sync with programs such as Outlook.
You: I don’t understand – doesn’t the card just give me a signal and then I can use my own programs on my laptop
Wes: Yes, it does.
You: so then what extra is the manager do
Wes: It is provided for someone that does not have a program for that.
Wes: Not everyone has many programs.
You: but how does it synch email? will it just work with my outlook
Wes: I would suggest contacting our Technical Support Department at 888.233.4813 for more guidance.
You: can’t you help me I want to buy one today and don’t have the time to go through tech support
Wes: I do not have access to the information you desire.
Wes: This is a technical issue.
You: I am looking to buy two of them
You: why is the WHAT the software is good for a technical issue
Wes: You’ll receive free Back-Up Protection so you never have to worry about losing your phone’s contact list. As a My Account member, Back-Up Protection will let you automatically retain a copy of your saved phone numbers to a secure website, so they’re always available if you lose or upgrade your phone.
Wes: It just is.
Wes: I am not sure what all it can do.
You: I am sorry it doesn’t make sense to me I don’t feel comfortable buying if I don’t understand what it is for – is there somewhere else online I can read about it
Wes: I know it syncs Outlook.
You: synchs outlook with what?
Wes: That is what I am saying.
Wes: With your handset.
Wes: I have been looking online and do not see a description of what all it is capable of.
Wes: This is something Technical Support has knowledge of.
You: what handset? this is for my laptop to have wireless signal – is there someone else who may know more?
Wes: Yes, Technical Support.
Wes: I already told you that.
Wes: If I knew, I would tell you.
You: I can’t believe I have to work this hard to buy 2 wireless cards – I want to order online now I have to wait to tech support and I am not convinced this is a tech support issue
You: oh I know you would
Wes: I am simply trying to help you get the information.
Wes: Then do not call.
Wes: It is your choice.
You: is there someone else on your team that has more knowledge of these cards
Wes: Not that I am aware of.
Wes: I have asked everyone on my row.
Wes: They say the same thing.
You: I am just shocked that is all the information you have, I am sure people must have lots more questions about the cards
Wes: They do.
Wes: I try to answer them to the best of my ability.
Wes: But if it is something I do not know there are departments that deal with these questions.
You: I can appreciate that – is there anything else I need to know before I purchase these cards
Wes: We have spent 10 minutes discussing the question. If I knew don’t you think I would have told you 10 minutes ago?
Wes: It is what you use to connect to the net.
You: no I am asking any other questions other than the software – any considerations I should have before I choose one card or another
Wes: That is what someone just told me.
Wes: You say you have a Mac right?
Wes: One moment.
Wes: The PC 5740 PC Card is a great air card that will offer you nice features. The 5740 offers you download speeds of 400-700 kps and with wire-free and cable-free it offers you laptop the ability to go where you go. The 5740 offers both Broadband and National Access and gives you VZAccess for easy connection management. How does that sound?
You: what is the difference between the 5750 you mentioned earlier and this one
Wes: That is also Mac Compatible.
Wes: The KPC650 card utilizes our VZAccess manager which serves as a focal point for all of your internet connection needs. Using BroadbandAccess the KPC650 operates with typical download speeds of 400?700 kbps and bursts up to 2.0 Mbps. It also features an adjustable antenna which can be angled for optimized reception.
Wes: That card is also Mac compatible.
You: the 5740 is 9.99 and the 5750 is 59.99 is there any real difference besides the price. I am willing to spend more if it makes sense to – quality of connection matters to me most
Wes: The 5750 is a faster card.
Wes: Maximum download speeds burst to 2Mbps (with typical data speeds of 400-700 Kilobits (Kbps) per second, and peak upload speeds burst to 144 kbps (with typical upload speeds of 60-80 kbps).
Wes: Yes, VZ Access Manager is the program that is used to connect to the Internet with the card.
You: ok thank you for the clarification
Wes: Your very welcome.
Wes: Cards are funny.
You: and the difference between the 650 and and 5750
Wes: There is not enough information online to be full informed.
You: that is exactly the way I feel
Wes: The 650 has an external antenna.
You: can I ask a side question – do they train you with more info than what appears on the web or just that.
Wes: Just what is seen.
You: so you don’t get any extra info
Wes: There was not real in depth air card training.
Wes: But we have training on the cards in late May.
Wes: This is a very new department.
Wes: The chat.
Wes: Still working the bugs out.
You: thanks I appreciate you being patient and helping me out
Wes: It was my pleasure.
You: have a great day
Wes: Your satisfaction is very important to me.
Wes: You as well.
Of course, if you go to the last card, the Verizon 650, it doesn’t say anything about it being compatible with a Mac. It is (I researched it elsewhere) but you can’t tell that from the website. Ugh!
We started out ready to but but we’re back to square one.While I appreciated Wes’s honesty the whole experience has me doubting Verizon’s reliability.
What would you do? Does anyone have any good recommendations of what will work with our MacBook Pros?