To say that I am disappointed in both AT&T and Apple would be putting it mildly. I understand the need to pump up anticipation, as well as moderate supply in order to maintain a certain marketing illusion for the 3G, but the experience of standing in line was so remarkably poorly managed that I find it hard to believe that AT&T has any idea what dealing with customers should be like. They clearly didn’t exhibit any customer service skills on Friday, July 11 during the global launch of the iPhone 3G.
First off: You know how many iPhones you have, and what type. The proper way to handle the line is to print up vouchers for the available stock, walk the line asking people what type they are planning on buying, and give them a voucher. You can tell people without a voucher to come back in the afternoon and place an order…but there is no excuse for letting people stand in line for 3 hours when you know that they aren’t going to be able to buy the thing they are in line for. I’m talking to you, AT&T of Chattanooga: big fat failwhale for your customer service! The minute that your exclusive contract is up with Apple, expect people to bail with their phones like mad…way to think short term.