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Smartphone Prepurchase Quiz

saves you time and the company money
  [vote for,

A lot of cellphone carriers offer greater discounts on new smartphone purchases based on credit class. I submit that a more cost-effective reward system would base such discounts instead on knowledge of the operating system the customer wishes to get themselves into.

Countless customers go out and buy iPhone and Blackberry devices, for instance, without even knowing what iTunes or Blackberry Desktop Manager are. Many of them don't find out, until they have to reload the OS due to an unresolved JavaScript error, that they are boned because they don't even HAVE a computer to perform such a function. I can't count the number of customers who call in to my desk every day because they don't know how to move a widget on their Android device's homescreen (or, indeed, even know that "that lil ol clock thingie" is called a widget), or think it's a good idea to erase the Message Center Number and put their own mobile number in its place, then wonder why they can't send text messages.

I submit that a 25 question multiple choice test (each subsequent test randomly generated from 200 possible questions to prevent cheating) be required of every customer prior to purchasing a smartphone. The questions are specific to the OS of the phone you wish to purchase.

Greater discounts are awarded to those who score higher, less for those who score lower (specific score ranges to be determined later). If a customer does not feel they should have to pay more because of their ignorance, they are more than welcome to attend a 2-hour instructor-led class on the subject to become eligible for the full discount.

The goal here is to reduce the number of tech support agents required to handle all those calls, as well as saving the customer the frustration of biting off more than they can chew and getting stuck with an expensive phone (and the data plan for it) they aren't equipped to use.

The way I see it, if most customers pass, then it means they've done their homework before deciding to buy the product, resulting in fewer support calls and more satisfaction for the customer. If most of them fail, then they either pay more to compensate for the support calls, meaning price increases in other parts of the bill may be mitigated, or most of the failed testees (I mean that kindly) take the class and get their education on the spot. Win-win.

21 Quest, Jan 08 2011


       // put their own mobile number in it's place// sp: its
csea, Jan 09 2011

       Corrected, thanks. Installed an alternate keyboard app, and the new autocorrect settings are taking some getting used to. Ironic, huh?
21 Quest, Jan 09 2011

       New ad campaign: "Our phones are smart so you don't have to be...". Obviously smart phones aren't smart enough.
Ling, Jan 09 2011

       Excellent. This should also be applied to cars, computers, GPS systems and domestic appliances.

       To be able to say, even just once, to a customer, "I'm sorry, Sir/Madam, you can't buy this item, as you're too stupid" is almost enough to make a career in sales bearable.
8th of 7, Jan 09 2011

       Oh no, this is even better. You get to say to a customer "I'm sorry sir/madam, you are so stupid we are obligated to charge you for it."
21 Quest, Jan 09 2011

       That would be nothing more than a tax on the stupid.

       Wonderful. Do it. Do it NOW.
8th of 7, Jan 09 2011

       Or a Firefly :-)
21 Quest, Jan 09 2011

       // 1997 Motorola StarTAC //

       Quality ... can be used to knock nails in, stun muggers, as a wheel chock for anything up to an MD-11. and even (though rarely) make phone calls ...

       Plus there's more than enough grunt in the battery to initiate a No.8 azide detonator down 100m of bell wire. Who could want more ?
8th of 7, Jan 09 2011

       But what about all the eejits that don't call tech support? This entrance requirement exam would exclude many users that are as thick as mince and kill off a whole revenue stream.

       I'm sorry, [21Q], I sympathise but, ultimately, you're an expendable soldier in the trenches and the pointless war against the idiot hordes continues...
Jinbish, Jan 09 2011

       // war against the idiot hordes continues //

       <Sixth Sense>

       "We see dead people ...

       </Sixth Sense>
8th of 7, Jan 09 2011

       sp: 'general public'
Jinbish, Jan 09 2011

       Sorry, too much of a rant involving gadgets that confuses arcane knowledge bits of running a gadget with actual intelligence. I'm the proud owner of an Android-based phone, and I must say that the miniscule tech book that came with it didn't offer any help as to some of its functions or behavior. And I consider myself mostly electronically literate.
RayfordSteele, Jan 10 2011

       That's because Android OS is Linux-based, Ray. Most of what you'll want to do with the device is handled through third-party apps, not native programs. Naturally, like Linux-based desktop computers, the manual is going to be pretty scarce and your best resource will almost always be online help forums. This is the kind of thing people should know before getting themselves into such a device, hence the idea. Linux isn't for everyone. Neither is Android.

       The biggest problem is really the marketing. You don't see desktop Linux distros being advertised to the masses for good reason. Most people won't know how to use it and will be too intimidated or too lazy to learn. Android really should be treated the same, IMHO.
21 Quest, Jan 24 2011

       // Most people won't know how to use it //

       Shame. "Let them eat cake".

       // too lazy to learn //

       Ooooh, won't THEY be in trouble when the Revolution comes ...
8th of 7, Jan 24 2011

       Came across this one again today, and going through the annos realized that my reply to Rayford's annotation wasn't the most relevant. His concern was that he feels I am insulting his intelligence by telling him he must pay more for a smartphone that he feels would be challenging to many people who are quite intelligent.

       Let me repeat a line from the idea, as I posted it: //The questions are specific to the OS of the phone you wish to purchase.//

       A great many customers have switched between different smartphone OS's. Blackberry customers, while usually quite intelligent and tech savvy, are not typically used to touchscreen devices. The Blackberry UI is vastly different from Android or IOS. Just because you are intelligent and have smartphone experience does not mean you aren't going to need a lot of help getting to know a new system.

       Regardless of your intelligence and experience, if you need the same level of help to figure out how to use your new smartphone as someone who has never used any kind of cellphone, you should get charged the same. It's not a matter of rewarding or punishing people for being more or less intelligent. It is a matter of knowing the difference between intelligence and education.

       Things you should know about an Android device before making the decision to purchase it:

       1) What is a widget?
a) An interactive, dynamic icon
b) A virus that has recently infected thousands of smartphones
c) A type of robot-based life form found in Star Trek episode 33

       2) How do you add/remove icons to/from the homescreen?
a) Hold the search button until you are prompted to speak, then tell the icon where you would like it to go.
b) Location is selectable from the in-app menu screen.
c) Long-press the icon, and drag it to the spot you wish it to occupy.

       3) What are 3 buttons that are found below the screen on EVERY Android phone?
a) Home, Menu, Back
b) Search, Home, Speak
c) Facebook Post, Back, Search

       4) How do you, the end user, benefit from being required to have a Google account synced with your smartphone?
a) You don't. Google gets access to all of your info and you get screwed.
b) Your Google account can be used to sync your contacts, emails and calendars with any other Android device or computer, as well as saving your Market purchase history.
c) You can use your Google account to turn your Android into an iPhone.

       5) Who should you contact if an application you downloaded from the Market doesn't seem to work right?
a) Your wireless service provider.
b) The app developer
c) Your phone's manufacturer (ie, Samsung, Motorola, or Nokia).

       If you do not know the answers to these basic questions, regardless of how intelligent you are, then you are GOING to struggle with learning how to use this device.
21 Quest, Aug 08 2011

       Question 1: // Star Trek episode 33 //

       TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise ?

       Question 2: By writing on the Post-It note.

       Question 3: Ctrl, Alt, and Del.

       Question 4: (a)

       Question 5: (d) The french. It's all their fault.
8th of 7, Aug 08 2011

       If you are ignorant about these matters, where do you learn?
bungston, Aug 08 2011

       Most, if not all, of the information is available on the manufacturer's website. What isn't available there can be found with a simple Google Search, YouTube search, or asking someone who has the same kind of phone.

       The problem I frequently run into with trying to assist customers with something advanced, such as corporate email setup, is that they can't follow basic directions such as "tap the 'mail' icon, then press the 'menu' key and tap on 'settings'" because they don't know what an icon is or where on the screen they should be looking to find the menu key, which isn't even on the screen.

       The customer gets frustrated because they think I'm using advanced terminology here, and they start blaming me and the equipment for their lack of comprehension. I shouldn't have to begin every troubleshooting interaction with a basic device tutorial. These are things you should know if you're going to own a smartphone, and I should be able to reasonably expect you to understand basic terminology and be familiar with at least the physical layout of your device.
21 Quest, Aug 08 2011

       1) a fictional placeholder commonly used in economics textbooks to avoid people talking about cows. But due to the context I'd guess it could be found in the Definitions section of the user manual.

       2) I'm sure it's in the user manual.

       3) This thing does come with a user manual, right ?

       4) a.

       5) Google for it and/or Search the relevant app's user forum.
FlyingToaster, Aug 08 2011

       // trying to assist customers //

       There's your problem, right there. Make 'em learn the hard way, like everyone else had to.

       Why not display a life-size cardboard cutout of Stephen Hawking with a banner that reads, "You must be at least this smart to buy this product." Superbly effective, beause if they don't recognise Stephen Hawking, they clearly know nothing of science, technology or engineering.
8th of 7, Aug 08 2011


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