I’ve had a pebble in my shoe since Saturday about my brand experience with an AT&T store.
Friday, my Motorola Razr stopped working. I’d seen hints its demise was near — the screen would occasionally blink uncontrollably. By Friday mid day, it was dead.
I’ve had my service through Cingular since I moved to Seattle two years ago. I paid good money for a Razr at that time. To be honest it was the first phone I ever cared about – before that I took whatever my company provided or whatever was free. I loved the way the Razr looked, felt and worked. Last year, at about this same time, my first Razr died and Cingular replaced it under warranty. The one-year warranty was actually one day out of date, but they didn’t quibble. I really, really appreciated that.
Saturday morning, I visited the AT&T (nee Cingular) store first thing. The staff person was unfailingly polite when he advised me that the phone warranty was for one year and I’d had my phone for almost two years. The warranty did not reset when my phone was replaced the first time. I could get a new Razr for $20; $70 really, but Motorola offers a $50 rebate (read “hassle”). All I had to do was sign up for a two year contract extension with AT&T and pay an $18 contract-extension fee. A fee for letting them keep me as a customer?! You’ve got to be kidding.
I can’t live without my cell and I have little patience for ferreting out the best offer, so I paid for the phone and signed up for the two-year contract extension. I even bought a Bluetooth headset because I need one. The staff person was helpful in filling out the rebate form for me and setting up the Bluetooth.
But I’m going to have a bad taste in my mouth about the $18 and the phone warranty for awhile. That’s what a brand experience is. It’s everything about your relationship with a company. And in today’s world, it’s impossible for a company to keep one customer’s sub-par brand experience isolated.