T-Mobile Emphasizes Customer Service to Stay Relevant

by Matt Klassen on March 1, 2012

If you were T-Mobile, battered and bruised from the bad AT&T breakup, bleeding valuable long term subscribers at an alarming rate, and playing the role of Tortoise in a wireless network race it looks like you have no hopes of winning, what would you do while waiting for your plans of a speedier network future to unfold? You spin the story, that’s what.

I have to think that along with its significant multi-billion dollar investment in improving its overall network T-Mobile has earmarked some of its newfound wealth for hiring the world’s best marketing spin doctors, word and media smiths of the highest calibre who’s only task is to run the marketing playbook in an effort to keep T-Mobile relevant in a time when it really has nothing to offer.

Step #1 of the playbook: Invade the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this week. Not traditionally the stomping grounds of wireless carriers, perhaps making an appearance at the world’s premiere mobile technology fair and glad handing both the general public and the companies you’re hoping to fool for the next year or so is just the sort of radical thinking T-Mobile needs…or maybe its just a sign of desperation.

If there was a playbook for how to keep a company relevant through a long transition period, I’m sure step #2 would be “Emphasize your Strengths.” Much like the fictional paper company Dunder-Mifflin in the hit TV sitcom “The Office,” unable to compete with larger competitors  in the area of price, volume, or products, T-Mobile has one thing to offer, customer service, and it’s a point that America’s fourth largest wireless carrier has repeated ad nauseam this week at the MWC.

To that end, the company has developed a new interim message, “that T-Mobile doesn’t want to just be known as the budget carrier, but as the carrier that offers the “best” overall experience…a blanket statement that manages to join T-Mobile’s customarily lower price and strong customer service response with its product lineup.”

Of course talk of a “best overall” customer experience is really just marketing speak for, we know we can’t compete with companies in areas of network speed, coverage, or product catalogues but we’ll try to make up for those deficiencies by offering affordable devices and providing quality customer support (although I would guess its easy to offer unmatched customer support to an increasingly diminished subscriber base).

Now don’t get me wrong, I would expect any company flirting with irrelevance to do nothing less than get its name out there any way possible, and the Mobile World Congress certainly offers a strong venue to get your message out. But unfortunately for T-Mobile it’s not really a message worth hearing.

If the recent trend of customers leaving T-Mobile for companies with stronger networks and stronger catalogues says anything, it’s that many of us are willing to put up with shoddy customer service if it means access to the latest technology, and if that’s the case, T-Mobile is almost certainly doomed.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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