This last week has been the most hectic week as B2B AT&T representative because of the iPhone launch. Before the pre order day which was Friday September 12th at 3am Florida time, I was contacting AT&T Mobility Business customers and asking if they wanted to order the new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. The response was not as enthusiastic as I thought it would be, I assumed the customers would jump at the notion that I was going to be up and placing the orders for them at the launch.
The response I got the most was I am interested but I did not get many commitments on orders. But I did save those customers emails that were interested and a few days before the launch I sent out a email stating the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus was ready to be ordered on Friday and I again asked if they wanted me to place the orders for them at launch. The response I got from calls and emails was overwhelming, I was not prepared for the amount of customers looking to obtain the new iPhone.
My first mistake was sending a email with all the email addresses in BCC which got me all the replies in one long email chain. I tried to make sense of the emails and reply to customers asking the details of the orders. Most emails would state yes order me 3 phones, but which 3 phones, what models, color, Gigabyte size and which number do you want the phones were not in the email replies. Also AT&T has two options for upgrading or adding a new line to the accounts.
The regular 2 year agreements and the Next program are the options for equipment. If you are on the Mobile Share Value Plan then Next was the most cost effective way to upgrade your phone. If you are on an older plan like one with unlimited data or the older Mobile Share Plans the regular upgrade was the best way to go. Now the regular upgrade only can be done if the line or another line on the account is eligible for an upgrade (the 2 year agreement is done). These details made the ordering of the iPhones even more difficult than it was already.
The AT&T system for placing the orders along with every other wireless carrier system was overloaded so they ran very slow or had to be restarted numerous times before each order would complete, even Apple’s own website crashed that night. Apple had sold 4 million iPhones in one day, a new record, great for Apple but not so great for the customers. Customers wanted more phones only to find out that by noon all the iPhone 6 Plus models were already sold out and on backorder.
Customers were calling me and emailing me at 3am so much it go to the point I had to make the decision not to answer my phone or check my emails until the orders I already had were put in. Now I am writing this post a week later and I finally got my emails done which I know I still probably missed a few because of the BCC thing and my voicemails, I still have not listened to any of my voicemails.
What I learnt from this experience which has been very different from the past when I worked in retail stores. On release date for the stores we may have had 10 devices in stock so after that 10 we were done there were no more until the next shipment, much less hectic. My position now the phones are shipped directly from AT&T warehouses which has thousands of devices and that means I need to be more prepared and let my customers know in advance of what to expect and how we will place the orders. I will email an order form in advance, explain the options of upgrading by the regular way or the Next and advise them on the best option for their plan.