Monday, July 23, 2012

One month on and still no GSIII for me

Over one month since the 'launch' of the Galaxy S III on WIND, and I still can't buy one.

Yes, I'm bitching.  And why not?  Unfortunately, I'm too budget-minded to vote with my wallet and switch away from WIND, as that would entail me paying several hundred dollars more over the life of the phone. 

But there is such as thing as goodwill, and mine is being seriously eroded by this whole debacle.

I do think WIND could have done a better job of managing expectations.  They cast themselves as all 'social' and connected to their customers, a company who listens.  But in the end it's just a facade; they keep things to themselves for the most part.

Part of this may be from a legitimate understanding that they simply cannot make everyone happy.  Certainly that applies to tower construction / coverage zones; that's a purely economic decision, and WIND has to spend the money for the best return on investment.

This obviously comes into play for the Galaxy launch as well.  They have limited phones - who gets them first?  New customers, who generate the most lasting return.

However, I'm not sure I see the rationale for all of the silence surrounding the issue. 

Here's a theory:  maybe they simply don't know when they are getting adequate supplies of the phone. 

OK, fine, but that begs the question as to why they did not say so in the first place.  After all, it would be the easiest thing in the world to say "Sorry, Samsung didn't supply us with enough for now.  In the meantime, we have to restrict to new activations only."

Why didn't they?  Because they can't afford to piss off Samsung.

Note that none of the big carriers in the USA or Canada are dissing Samsung over the delays.  In fact, I can't find hardly a single mention of delays anywhere, and certainly not even a whiff of discontent between the carriers and Samsung.  WIND can't do it either.  You don't bite the hand that feeds. 

Now, you can debate the merit of the new activations only policy.  From some accounts, WIND stores have GSIIIs in stock, and are hella anxious to sell these things.  Given this, they should be selling them to existing customers because they have spare inventory.

That is hindsight, though. In the months running up to launch, WIND made a bet they would gain more new customers than lose existing ones.  In other words, they planned their marketing strategy and launch campaign.  And they are probably right.

It is now also clear why WIND just didn't react more quickly and open up the GSIII to existing customers sooner: they had to execute the intermediate step of allowing Tab owners to upgrade. 

You can't necessarily move this date anywhere you please - computer systems and operators need to be prepped and ready to handle the new orders, for example.  A company like WIND, for all their small-town/close community image, can't just turn on a dime.

No, the whole thing was pre-planned.  The Samsung supply shortages were just icing on the cake that WIND had baked months before.

Not just WIND, either - the GSIII marketing campaign probably took as long to plan and prepare as the phone itself did.  All of the major carriers spent months preparing their campaigns and the logistics to supprt them.

It's just disappointing that, after all that time, WIND is at the tail end of the line for actually selling devices to their customer base.  Instead of being the first kid on the block to have a GSIII, I will now be the last.

And here is where WIND could have adjusted.  There is nothing stopping them from putting out a little note or two telling their existing customer base what to expect from this point.  This is not disruptive to their existing campaign, and it would give people like me (and most of the other tens of thousands on the pre-register list) something to look forward to.

They also could have been more up-front about the restrictions.  A little asterisk on their launch announcements to say that supplies are extremely limited and restricted to new customers only would have been a help.  Disappointing, yes, but better than people having to call their local store to bug them if the phone is actually available for me, please?

If they don't know when the supply situation will be resolved, then they could say they don't know.  No need to assign any blame to Samsung or anyone else.  Just put something, anything, out there to say that supply issues are still occurring and the launch date for existing customers will be announced as soon as possible.

The pre-register list is the ideal vehicle for this.  After all, isn't that why it exists?  Surely the WIND CEO or whoever can take an hour to write a note and fill in the information gap.

Really, dude.  We just want to know what the deal is.

As it stands, I don't know when Christmas is coming.  And that's disappointing.

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