Let’s just go right at this. If you are a smart phone user of any type, and your network provider forces applications on your phone, then this post is for you. If you are a smart phone user whose network provider forces you to use their applications, then you are not alone.
I recently upgraded the OS on my Motorola Razr Android phone . To my horror, Verizon Wireless made changes during that upgrade to control my phone and what apps I decide to use. As if this isn’t bad enough, they made an even bigger fail that will have long term impacts if I have anything to say about it.
We live in a tech world online that has come to recognize the user as the customer and the one who has ultimate control. Jeopardize that and they will leave. The wireless industry doesn’t seem to get this. YET!
We pay a significant price for our smart phones and often even larger expenses for the phone, internet and application access we want. Wireless network providers, specifically Verizon Wireless, is crossing the line with three epic failures.
1) Forcing installation and upgrading of applications (bloatware) I don’t want, never asked for and that I can’t remove from MY phone.
Have you noticed your smart phone has apps that you can’t remove, are always upgrading and you never installed or wanted them to begin with? It’s MY phone and I bought it. I should be able to determine which apps I want to install. (Before everyone starts commenting on rooting phones, let me say this… I shouldn’t have to!) FAIL number 1 Verizon Wireless!
2) Forcing users to use THEIR navigation application VZ Navigator every time I dock my phone in my car.
Every single time I dock my phone in my holder/charger in the car, the VZ Navigator application launches. I don’t want the app, don’t like the app and should not be forced to click a bunch of screens to get out of it every time I get in my car. This speaks to the heart of controlling your customer and it is an epic FAIL number 2 I might add… *Additional information on this portion can be found in the bold revision section below.
3) The biggest fail of all is ignoring comments on Twitter and Facebook.
Seriously? I thought big brands already got the message from the many before them that tried this tactic and ended up getting national attention for the fail. I guess not. In fact, since they ignored some 12 tweets on Saturday, I decided to also hit the Facebook fanpage and attempt to start a conversation there.
After several hours of zero response, I went back to the page to see additional posts by others and how VZW handles their social media. I was utterly SHOCKED to see screen after screen of customer posts of positive AND negative comments with absolutely no responses from Verizon. Are you fricken kidding me? EPIC FAIL number 3!
Below are revisions I inserted Sunday night before posting Monday morning:
*Note to the credit of the Verizon tech support team on Twitter, I did get the following responses which started almost 24 hours later. But it’s not a tech support issue, as the application cannot be uninstalled either. It is a top down corporate power play that management has decided and is pushing on its customers. Only the executive team can make the decision to control users phones, install apps that cannot be removed and not put proper social media practices and resources in place. Tech support does not make those kinds of business decisions.
Again, the Twitter tech support team did make a valiant social media save attempt by researching more and getting back to me with the following thread.
@fondalo 1/3 I researched this, and it will be fixed in the next software update (this wasn’t by design). Work around: 1) Find VZNav in the
@fondalo 2/3 the app launcher. 2)Touch & hold app which will drop to home screen. 3)Drag up to top of screen to “More Options.” 4) Tap “App
@fondalo 3/3 info”. 5) Force stop, uninstall updates, and disable the app (this step may take a couple tries). This has worked for many. ^MS
It wasn’t by design? Really? Ok, let’s say it wasn’t by design and just horrible planning and implementation. That happens. But the fact remains that:
1) The app cannot be disabled or removed.
2) Verizon Wireless corporate social media ignored these issues.
3) Verizon Wireless corporate social media is ignoring a massive amount of comments, complaints and issues across the board on all of their network locations. If that is not epic fail of a major brand in the social age, I don’t know what is.
Please understand, I have been a very long time user and advocate of Verizon Wireless. In fact I have probably referred or suggested to at least a thousand users that they switch. I know that many have.
I am not trying to get something for nothing or bully a brand for some personal gain. I am attempting to point out the absolute control mentality that the Verizon Wireless executives feel is okay to place on its customers, their disregard for enagement, response and value of customers within the social graph and a clear display that they have no clue of what social media is all about. Their belief that it’s perfectly alright to control us, our phones and out app choices is so behind the times that it requires a bullhorn to call it out. Verizon Wireless would do well to move some of their Twitter support team to corporate social media and start getting kudos instead of posts like this! Their support folks clearing understand social media far better than the executives. Some consulting, strategy and education is in order guys. Call me…
Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone who read this posted the following on Facebook and Twitter? (Feel free to insert the twitter account or Facebook page of your own wireless provider as needed)
“Hey @VerizonWireless It’s MY phone, I bought it and I should be able to decide which apps I want to install, use and delete, NOT YOU! #TheMovement”
Imagine if the people started a movement in this and other industries to take control BACK! Want to start a revolution? I do!!
The Wrap Up:
If you do social media marketing and have a page, twitter account, etc., there is a very big lesson here:
Big brands typically don’t do social media right or effectively. Do not watch and emulate them in your social efforts. They often feel that they are above responding because they easily get millions of followers and likes due to their years of branding and major media spends. YOU must always respond, build relationships and handle issues promptly, so that you see revenue, results and long-term loyal prospects and customers…
My next post will go in the opposite direction and highlight a big brand that is nailing social media!