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O2 and Deutsche Telekom create an innovative customer experience

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Choosing a new smartphone, tablet or accessories can really be difficult for most customers. Not only does technology constantly evolve, but you won’t be allowed to actually touch, feel and try real devices in cell phone stores. The risk to get unsatisfied customers is high. Very high.

This situation is just unbelievable. Customers about to buy a 500€ device must rely on not trustworthy sales guys and will discover when they are home whether what they were advised to buy is actually matching their needs. Who would buy a car without trying it at first ? That’s basically what telecom stores propose.

The customer experience proposed by O2 in their store on Tauentzienstraße 8 and by Deutsche Telekom in their 4010 store on Alte Schönhauser Straße 31 is of a completely different nature. Those two brands have finally understood that choosing a smartphone is also a social act: the decision needs to be matured and the device needs to be tested. Both stores propose a wide range of real devices that visitors can test and play with. Accessories are also available and knowledgeable salespersons (something that seems not to exist in Belgium for instance) are available to at any moment, yet without exercising any form of pressure.

Customers can relax at the bar of they want, enjoy a coffee or a free drink (which is offered even if you’ve not purchased) and can spend some quality time discovering the latest technology around. In that perspective the O2 store is particularly well conceived with numerous stations within the store dedicated to a specific functionality : you can test for instance the latest Sony Bluetooth-connected QX10 objective, the Samsung Galaxy Gear, a fitness bracelet, … everything is at your fingertip and ready to be tested.

The customer experience provided in that type of store is just way beyond what is proposed in classical shop. If you’re in Belgium for instance, visit a Mobistar center and its fake cell phones to feel the difference. Chances are also very low that you’ll be able to actually see and test accessories (most of them are anyway not available in Mobistar, Proximus and Base stores). One very simple example ? Where would you go to get a Jawbone bracelet ? In Berlin that’s easy, you just go to one of those O2 / Deutsche Telekom store. In Belgium ? You have to order from the Apple website.

This being said, and with the gap between customers’ needs and the actual offering of telecom operators, I’m still wondering why such little attention is given to customer satisfaction. It’s like if Telco operators were not interested in satisfying and keeping (loyalty) their clients… You’re right, I forgot. It’s an oligopoly. They don’t have to care about details like this.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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