When I got my first mobile phone (at the age of 14) the requirements were simple: the phone needed to be able to call and text somebody. That was it. No internet, no Apps, no camera, no music. Therefore choosing a phone was simple. In the past few years that has changed dramatically.
For the last two years I have had an iPhone, just like a lot of other smartphone users all over the world. About three months ago, I dropped it for probably the 43rd time and the screen shattered. Since my mobile phone contract expires next month (or so I thought), I didn’t just get the phone fixed but learned to live with it in the short-term.
Now I really need a change, not only because my phone is shattered, but also because I am getting bored with it. So I tried to find out what the next steps with my contract were, and which smartphone I should get. Online, I couldn’t find out anything about my contract and I really couldn’t decide which of the hundreds of phones was right for me. So I decided to go for the personal service and called my mobile phone provider to ask them what would be the next steps to get a new, different phone and a new, cheaper contract.
In the end, it took me 30 minutes even to understand what I had to do and I must say it still doesn’t make too much sense. But I have to say: the really nice lady on the phone was very patient.
First thing she told me I had to do was to cancel my contract, which I now discovered has been automatically renewed until November 2014. If I cancel, then I can get a deal for €29 a month. If I don’t, exactly the same contract will cost €39 per month.
Am I the only one who thinks this is confusing? “If you take that offer,” she said “your new contract will run for the next 24 months.” That confused me even more. Didn’t I just cancel my contract? “Yes,” she said “but that won’t matter anymore as soon as you sign the new contract.” That was the point when I stopped trying to understand the German way of handling mobile phone contracts and started to just do whatever the nice lady told me.
Now before signing a new contract and getting a new phone, the nice lady, of course, wants to know what smartphone I would like. Before I started dealing with all of the formal stuff, looking through my contract, trying to find out information via the internet, talking to my mobile phone provider and recalling my contract, I thought choosing the right phone would be the most complicated part of the process, but now I know it isn’t. While on the phone, I didn’t even have time to think about the actual smartphone so when she popped the question “So, which phone would you like?”, I didn’t have time to think about it, and just told her the first smartphone that came into my mind. That’s what I am going to stick with. Hopefully it was the right choice!
If you work in PR you are always confronted with making plans: plans for the next quarter, plans for how to place your brand and plans for distributing the next press release. The experience from that day made me realize that sometimes you don’t need a plan. Sometimes you just have to follow your gut feeling.