‘Portlandia’ Clip Points to Consumer Frustration in Wireless Retail Activations

Nov 01, 2011 — Allan Pulga

The comedy series Portlandia, starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, debuted last season on IFC and its satire of West Coast yuppie and hipster tendencies is spot on (albeit a little weird at times).

One clip that stood out for us here at iQmetrix was when the protagonists visited a wireless store looking to activate a new phone. They need a phone equipped with GPS tracking in order to locate the mayor of Portland. Sounds simple enough, right? Not exactly.

Take a look at the video below:

What makes this scene so funny is how difficult and confusing the clerk (comedian Kumail Nanjiani) makes the process. They're clearly in a hurry. They're just trying to pick a plan and a phone, but Nanjiani strings them along from plan to plan (each one just a tiny bit different) until it's finally time to pick their phone. By the end, they're so exhausted and frustrated, Armisen and Brownstein can barely look at him anymore.

One of the best lines comes when Nanjiani is closing the sale. At 3:26, he says there is a "nominal fee" to keep their current phone number. Brownstein is dumbfounded. "Yeah, I thought that was a free service."

"After you pay for it, it is free... so..." Nanjiani replies.

Armisen shakes his head and looks over at Brownstein. He's frustrated.

Sadly, no matter how hilarious Portlandia can make it appear, the reality is: Picking a plan and phone can be painfully confusing for consumers. This scene is funny because a lot of it is true.

According to a 2011 J.D. Powers survey, the least satisfying way to buy a mobile phone is by trying to do it online: "Satisfaction is lowest among customers who most recently conducted a Web sales transaction (738 on a 1,000-point scale, on average), compared with retail (walk-in) and telephone channels (753 and 752, respectively)."

In-store and over-the-phone purchases are less frustrating for phone shoppers because they actually get someone to help them -- and hopefully the salesperson is a little more clear and helpful than Nanjiani is.

Our XQ Interactive Retail platform, complete with dynamic visual displays and informative content, takes the salesperson's explanation to the next level:

  • Faster Transaction Time: XQ simplifies and expedites the browsing, buying and checkout processes.
  • Access to Information: XQ clearly displays device and plan information, as well as prices.
  • Effective Sales Tool: Staff can use XQ to guide customers through the process of buying a phone.
  • Customer Self-Service: Customers can build their own package – device, rate plan and accessories – and send it to the POS for checkout.
  • Less Training Time : Retailers can use XQ to train staff on their products.

For more information on how XQ helps to deliver a better in-store customer experience, you can also check out our Customer Experience Whitepaper.

Give your walk-in customers the experience they're looking for: a more convenient, informative and engaging way to pick a plan and phone. XQ can help you do that.

Topics: Mobile Industry, Customer Experience

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