Reinventing the (Notoriously Painful) Device Activation Experience

For wireless retailers, their store reps, and their customers, the device activation process is famous for being laborious, long, and full of repetition.

From the retailer’s point of view, existing activation processes using standard software and carrier integrations make it incredibly hard to create a good experience for anyone. There’s a lot of training involved to get the onerous process right, store reps are inevitably frustrated with the swivel-chair processes, and customer loyalty is lost through the poor experience.

And that’s if you’re offering activations at all. For many big-brand retailers and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) brands, it’s easier to simply sell the device and leave the customer to get it activated elsewhere — even though that means leaving money on the table. 

The poor activation experience isn’t the only reason for this. Many national, big-box, and OEM retailers don’t have the carrier connections or the right relationships to even start getting into activations with those carriers. It’s often a minefield that retailers find is just not worth the trouble.

As Jason Raymer, iQmetrix’s Senior Vice President of Revenue and Client Experience, succinctly put it, Today, you’re either not offering activations at all, or you’re doing it badly.”

From the store associate’s point of view, activations are also a total pain. They’re hard to learn how to do, which means a lot of training and hand-holding of new staff. There’s a series of hoops to jump though, such as credit checks and customer data-gathering, many of which require swivel-chair and repetitive data-entry processes. Meanwhile, the customer is losing patience and could even walk out of the door. 

What a Nightmare”

Finally, from the customer’s perspective, the whole process is extremely painful. Here’s a real-life, anonymized example of a frustrated cellphone customer who wanted to share her story. 

After a lot of online research, Aspen, a social media manager in Chicago, finally managed to find the phone she wanted in a store 30 minutes away. She got there to find it wasn’t yet in stock but was on its way — in the meantime, however, her new SIM card with her choice of carrier and rate plan could be activated. 

Aspen spent nearly an hour in the store for this process, with the store rep having to call the carrier three times during the activation. Aspen then had to put the activated SIM into her old phone until the new one arrived. She told iQmetrix, I can’t believe it took that long and I still don’t even have my new phone. What a nightmare.” She added after she finally got her new phone, What a total waste of my time. I’m never buying a phone there again if I can help it.” By not offering a positive experience, that retailer has lost a customer forever.

Unfortunately, most of us have had similar experiences and know that Aspen’s story is a fairly typical scenario.

Fortunately, all that can now change with a new solution by iQmetrix that promises to completely reinvent the activation experience.

Carrier Connect for Effortless Activations

Carrier Connect is a unique software-as-a-service solution that is launching today and offers retailers a simple, frictionless way to activate devices with Tier-1 US carriers. 

Carrier Connect has been designed to eliminate swivel-chair and multiple data-entry processes, which:

  • significantly reduces transaction time
  • removes data errors and inconsistencies
  • lowers training costs and increases agent competency
  • creates more space for customer engagement and upselling
  • greatly improves customer experience and boosts loyalty

In fact, in a demo environment, the start-to-finish time for activating a device using Carrier Connect was well under 10 minutes, including generous time built in for agent-customer interactions and data gathering. That’s down from a typical 45 to 60 minutes in most retail environments.

iQmetrix Carrier Connect


As Carrier Connect has direct API access to the Tier 1 US carriers (Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T), it also has the advantage of keeping the retailer and store reps up to date on rate plans, promotions, financing options and device protection, all in real time. No manual research or updates necessary.

Easy to Implement and Maintain

Carrier Connect offers direct and maintenance-free connection to all Tier-1 US carriers through a single set of consolidated API integrations. There’s a self-guided user interface that is consistent, reliable, and highly secure. Carrier Connect caters for self-serve or assisted channels alike to enable omnichannel experiences.

Depending on your retail business and its needs, there are three different options for implementing Carrier Connect:

  • Standalone B2B Portal: This is a standalone, mobile, full-service multi-carrier activations portal for that plug-and-play option
  • APIs: This option lets you consume Carrier Connect’s lightweight multi-carrier activation API library via your point-of-sale or online channel
  • Embedded User Interface: Finally, this approach allows you to embed the multi-carrier activation UI experience via a web-based POS or online channel

iQmetrix’s experts can work with retailers to establish which option would work best for them, given their retail operation and its structure.

Deep, Durable Carrier Relationships

What’s more, because you’re working with iQmetrix and not attempting to create an activation solution in-house, you get the benefit of iQmetrix’s decades of experience and deep relationships with Tier 1 carriers.

This makes Carrier Connect ideal for those retailers who don’t already have a designated carrier — such as national retailers, big-box stores, and OEM brands looking to activate devices as well as sell them. Instead of the retailer having to spend time seeking out the right connections with carrier brands and negotiating arrangements for activations, iQmetrix has already laid a smooth pathway directly to those carriers.

iQmetrix’s Jason Raymer added, The only question to ask is: what proportion of your smart device sales do you want to activate? We can work with the retailer on this strategy.”

Carrier Connect is unique in that it is the only multi-carrier device activation solution on the market. In fact, its only competition is some national retail brands’ own in-house systems that do not offer many of Carrier Connect’s benefits, connectivity, and relationships.

Raymer added, For a device retailer wanting to enter into the wireless activation business, we can enable that in a unique way that no other software provider can.”

Whether your retail business is already offering device activations or not, it’s time to begin offering a seamless, enjoyable, quick activation experience — and the only way to do that is with Carrier Connect.

Want to find out more?