Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another product for an uncool target market - the Jitterbug

Back in July, I wrote a post about leasing your home phone, noting that this option (available from QLT Consumer Lease Services) would primarily appeal to people of an older generation.

Fast forward to this week, when I read this WinExtra post and looked at the picture of the nice man holding the mobile phone. The nice man happens to be a man named Steve Ballmer, who's pretty much been running Microsoft since Bill Gates announced his plans to, borrowing a phrase, Do No Evil. But when I saw the picture of Ballmer, I observed:

But he looks like a calm, nice gentleman. Not one who's going to run around and yell and stuff like that. Of course, someone with that look should probably be selling the Jitterbug, not a Windows 7 mobile phone.

Ah, the Jitterbug. I don't think I've written about the Jitterbug before now, and I became curious regarding how they approach their target market of people (usually older) who just want a mobile phone that works, without all the fancy and confusing gadgets that most phones have today.

I gravitated toward the customer service page, figuring that Jitterbug would want to differentiate itself in that area. And they do:

At Jitterbug, we don’t believe in automated voice systems or hiring someone outside the United States to answer your calls. That’s why we’ve developed a special team of 24-hour, U.S.-Based service professionals that includes our helpful Customer Service associates, as well as our friendly Jitterbug Operators. Our U.S. based Customer Service experts are standing by to assist you with any questions you may have about your new Jitterbug cell phone or your service. We’re here to listen and learn from you and we are committed to providing a helpful service experience.

And if you think that the paragraph above doesn't mention "helpful," "friendly," and especially "U.S." enough, check the following paragraph:

Our live, friendly Operators are also 100% U.S. based and available to assist you 24-hours a day. You can reach the Jitterbug Operators by dialing ‘0’ on your Jitterbug phone anytime, day or night. Our Operators will always greet you by name and they can assist you with everyday Jitterbug services, like updating your Phone Book, connecting your calls, or helping you find numbers through directory assistance. Give us a call anytime. You’ll discover that we don’t treat you like an account number, because we consider you part of our family.

To reach our helpful Operators, dial ‘0’ on your Jitterbug phone, 24-hours a day.

Personally, I believe that the helpful description of how to dial the operator can be even more helpful. Pretend that you've never encountered a phone before in your life, and you're asked to dial the operator. Do you dial the letter "O" or the number "0"? Now Jitterbug phones (see here) tend to have very large numbers, but even so, it might be a little confusing to dial something other than the letter "O" to get an operator.


I'll try to delve into Jitterbug a bit more in a future post, but it appears that they know how to market to their target audience.
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