Psychology of Technology - 21 August 2009
Author: Dr. Jim Taylor

Disclaimer: I am an AT&T customer with a data plan. Despite this relationship, I have tried to be objective and impartial in this post.

Did you see the post on boygeniusreport.com indicating that AT&T will require data plans for all smartphone purchases starting in September? Their press release is a real piece of work, filled with illogic, circular reasoning, and downright BS. So let’s parse their press release:

· “We want our customers to have the best possible experience with their Smartphones.” Shouldn’t it be up to us as to how we want to use and get the best possible experience with our Smartphones? How do they know what’s best for us?

· “A predictable bill is a key factor in customer satisfaction…” I’m thinking that an accurate bill is a key factor in my satisfaction. Bills would be predictable if customers understand precisely what they are paying for and how much they are paying. Having contracts written in simple English (or other language) would  help (research has shown that many types of contracts are written at a graduate-school level when most Americans read at an eight-grade level).

· “…Smartphone customers will need to subscribe to a data plan, as the vast majority of customers already do.” If the vast majority of customers already have data plans, why the need to force the remaining people into something that they obviously don’t want or need (unless we don’t know what we need, but Big Brother AT&T does).

· “Data plans let customers fully utilize their device…” Maybe some people don’t want to fully utilize their devices. Perhaps they are happy just the way they use their Smartphones (I don’t think a Smartphone is defined by having a data plan).

· “…without the worry of bill shock.” It’s been my experience that bill shock only occurs when I’m charged for services that I didn’t enroll in or use.

· “A Sales Coaching Session will be available…” When sales representatives need to be coached on something, that’s a big red flag that there is dishonesty and not the best interests of the customer going on.

I think there should be law that requires companies to be brutally honest about their intentions, in AT&T’s case, they made the change to increase their revenues (we should acknowledge that AT&T isn’t the first to do this. Verizon started this last November).

I would file this press release under the category of Do They Really Expect Us to Believe This? Better yet, crumple it up and throw it out!









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(1) Reader Comment

  1. Very well put, Jim. I felt the same way when I read this and had the same thoughts… these guys are such a joke.. I just hope and pray that they don’t disable my $15 unlimited plan that I’ve had for the past couple years :D