April 02, 2013

Smartphone Contract: Your Decide The Right Omnichannel Offer!

Here's one for you omnichannel fans out there.

My smartphone contract runs out on April 23.  While visiting a Best Buy store, the rep tells me that he can get me a new phone on April 16, just stop by and see him and he'll get me a new phone one week early.

So I email my smartphone provider, communicating the situation.  Here's the response I received (after being told that I was a valued, loyal subscriber).
  1. I can upgrade my phone, in-store, on April 23.
  2. I can upgrade my phone at Best Buy on April 16.
  3. I can upgrade my phone over the internet today.
Ok, omnichannel gurus.  Time for your input:
  1. We're told that, in order to be an outstanding omnichannel retailer, we have to tear down silos and align our business equally, across all channels.  This implies that each channel should adhere to an April 23 phone upgrade schedule, correct?  Because 4/23 is the date that my contract runs out.  You can't get a phone ahead of schedule, or you'd have chaos.
  2. We're also told that we're supposed to personalize our experience and reward our best customers, reacting in real time where possible.  This implies that I should feel honored to be eligible for an upgrade, because my smartphone provider is treating me better than the April 23 deadline they impose for average customers.  The personalization / CRM community would likely laud this kind customer service initiative, while omnichannel experts would pan it as another example of silo-based channel nonsense.
Now, I suppose both parties might be happy if the upgrade date were today, in any channel, and all systems between retailers linked data together properly (Big Data advocates are heard cheering from near and far).

But given an imperfect world, wouldn't you rather that my smartphone provider approach the problem in a silo-based manner than in an integrated, but less customer friendly omnichannel manner?