2/27/2009

VerizonWireless.com is no Amazon.com

Yesterday, I decided to replace my out-of-contract and not-so-trusty Treo 700p. AT&T's network doesn't include Ada. That dashed my longing to have an iPhone fling. I'd love to boogie with a Blackberry. ONU is a Microsoft Exchange shop. Mail/contact/calendar sync over the air is essential. So Blackberry is off the table. Sorting through Verizonwireless' offerings of Exchange compatible phones, I decided to purchase a Samsung Saga.

So I headed to VerizonWireless.com to order the phone. That's when the fun started. I took a pass through the ordering process. The options made no sense. The detail available provided no clarification. I bailed without making a purchase.

Fortified by lunch and a beer, I tried again. This time I rounded up an IM buddy, a "VerizonWireless online pre-sales specialist" to assist me. Here's how that process unfolded:

Please wait for a Verizon Wireless sales representative to assist you with your order. Thank you for your patience!

A Verizon Wireless online pre-sales specialist has joined the chat. You are now chatting with MJ

MJ: Hello. Thank you for visiting our chat service. May I help you with your order today?
You: I currently have the unlimited data plan. what is the difference between the unlimited data plan and the less expensive email/web data plan?

MJ: The only difference is that the $44.99 package gives you access to corporate emailing, they both give you unlimited emailing and unlimited web as well.
You: What is 'corporate emailing'?

MJ: It is emailing for corporations, that use a special emailing system
You: hmm ... I configure the phone to connect with the exchange server. Is that a 'special emailing system'?

MJ: What is the exact name?
You: The exact name of what?

MJ: Ok the server that you use for emailing?
You: Microsoft Exchange Server

MJ: Please hold on while I check that information.
MJ: Is it a Pop 3 account?
You: No ... it is a Microsoft Exchange Server account ... when configuring the account, one selects Microsoft Exchange from the list of account types ...
MJ: Ok great, then the $29.99 package will not work for you. The Exchange server is counted as a corporate emailing account.
You: thank you

MJ: Are you looking to upgrade today?
You: yes
MJ: Are you ready to go ahead and place your order today?
You: yes
MJ: Excellent! To upgrade your equipment you will need to sign in to your "My Verizon" and click on "My Services". You will then click on "Upgrade Now" under the picture of your phone.

You: so ... even thought I already have an unlimited data plan i must still select it when ordering the phone?
MJ: Correct the new one you select will void out the one that you have now.

MJ: Are you logged into your account at this time?
You: yes
MJ: Excellent, have you begun the upgrade process today?
You: yes
MJ: Excellent, where are you in the process?
You: in the cart

You: fed ex overnight will have it to me tomorrow (friday)?
MJ: That is correct, as long as you purchase by 3:30.
You: 3:30? so i still have time?
MJ: That is correct, as long as it is not passed 3:30 in your time zone.

You: can you offer me a promo code to cover the overnight shipping fee?
MJ: Unfortunately we do not have any promotional codes at this time, and haven't for a long time.
You: ah ... the promo code is on the front page of the web site ;-)

MJ: There is a code?
You: yep ... on the verizonwireless home page

MJ: You will need to have selected it when you began the process today?
You: the code? no, gave a code to enter in the promo code box
MJ: I'm sorry the last statement was meant for the messaging did you select this when you went through he upgrade process?
You: no ... i didn't see it as an option
MJ: Does your current calling plan include unlimited messaging?
You: yes
MJ: Awesome, then your fine it will still be there for you!
You: thx

You: so hit submit order?
MJ: That is correct!

You: done. thx for your assist
MJ: Are there any other questions that I can help you with today?
MJ: Thank you for visiting Verizon Wireless, I look forward to speaking with you again. Have a great day!
Your chat session has been ended by your Verizon Wireless online agent.

Compared to Amazon.com's highly efficient, info-abundant, super easy, one-click ordering ecosystem, VerizonWireless' ordering process is perhaps the most complicated ordering process I've encountered in some time. Why? Verizon certainly has the resources to make the process informative and user friendly.

Why couldn't I have ordered a new phone with my Treo 700p? Verizon makes lots of money off of the mobile web. Why isn't VerizonWireless leveraging the mobile web to improve the customer experience in a way that makes it easier to remain a VerizonWireless customer? Why indeed!

3 comments:

  1. Why doesn't Verizon do a lot of things you wish they would. If you figure that out let me know because I would be enlightened to find out. Comparatively, no other carrier seems to offer the same coverage as Verizon (at least not to my knowledge or past experiences with friends) or I'd seriously consider switching.

    They've got me on the hook I guess, and they've been reeling me in for the last 9 years....

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