Study shows 85% of users are frustrated with setting up their new phones

Study shows 85% of users are frustrated with setting up their new phones

Summary: I write a lot about all the great functionality and power of today's smartphones here on the blog. I spend a lot of time showing off my devices to family and friends, including the services and 3rd party applications I use on a daily basis to get things done. I followed a link from the IT Facts blog to the BBC news site that quoted a study that said 85% of users reported they were frustrated by the difficulty of getting a new phone up and working. As a mobile enthusiast who has been using PDAs since 1997 it is easy for me to get wrapped up in mobile technology and think everyone should be as familiar as I am with these devices. My friends and I are often found looking for the latest and greatest and wondering why a certain device has this or that feature missing. In reality, I think those people who don't read this blog and have cellphones just want a few basic features and could care less about the high powered features I care about.

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TOPICS: Mobility, Telcos
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Study shows 85% of users are frustrated with setting up their new phonesI write a lot about all the great functionality and power of today's smartphones here on the blog. I spend a lot of time showing off my devices to family and friends, including the services and 3rd party applications I use on a daily basis to get things done. I followed a link from the IT Facts blog to the BBC news site that quoted a study that said 85% of users reported they were frustrated by the difficulty of getting a new phone up and working. As a mobile enthusiast who has been using PDAs since 1997 it is easy for me to get wrapped up in mobile technology and think everyone should be as familiar as I am with these devices. My friends and I are often found looking for the latest and greatest and wondering why a certain device has this or that feature missing. In reality, I think those people who don't read this blog and have cellphones just want a few basic features and could care less about the high powered features I care about.

The quoted study organization interviewed people in the UK and US and data showed that 61% of those people said that setting up a new phone is as challenging as moving bank accounts. 95% said they would try more services if phones were easier to set up. A spokesman for the survey group said that it should only take 15 minutes to setup a new phone. If you have ever tried the T-Mobile G1 (see my review) then you have experienced this ease of use since Google and T-Mobile did a great job in walking you through a simple wizard that gets the phone setup and going in less than 15 minutes. The iPhone is also fairly easy to setup and I think manufacturers and carriers should focus on a simple out-of-the box experience. The device can have all sorts of power and functionality, but if the first experience makes the person stumble then it won't really matter.

Do you find family and friends frustrated with their mobile phones? My purpose in writing this blog is to help people learn about and get the most from their devices and I love helping people out because I think there are real benefits to these devices. Let's all help make it less frustrating for people.

Topics: Mobility, Telcos

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10 comments
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  • QUOTE: The iPhone is also fairly easy to setup - HOW GRACIOUS OF YOU! - NT

    NT
    raycote
    • iPhone does require a PC, G1 doesn't

      IMHO, the G1 is currently the easiest device to setup because you do everything right on the device and sync to the cloud. The iPhone requires a PC/Mac and iTunes to get going, which is not the best/easiest solution.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • RE: Study shows 85% of users are frustrated with setting up their new phones

    There should be no set up required at all. The phone should be ready to roll the minute you get it.
    mnasca
    • Depends on where you buy.

      We buy all our Verizon phones from a B2B 3rd party Rep who has been in the business from the dawn of time. When Moses came down from the mountain Joe sold him a phone...
      Joe Kelly who own Cal Wireless here in Watsonville is an old school service oriented store. http://calwireless.com/ When we get our phones from him they are ready to rock and roll, all charged up, phonebooks migrated and backed up, car chargers, bluetooth paired, ready to go.
      He stresses service. He takes care of his customers. You do not go to his store one day get waited on by a kid and then the next day that kid is gone and all the promises that kid made are not valid... (Company Stores)
      Spend some time and learn who offers what service, You may find a gem like Joe Kelly and then you will enjoy your phones even more...

      (And no I do not work for Joe, I just buy all my phones there, both personal and company)
      agohige
  • RE: Study shows 85% of users are frustrated with setting up their new phones

    My wife's LG flip phone broke in two, so we went off to ATT store to buy her a new one since she was eligible for an upgrade. Cheapest model was something like $39.95 with 2-yr contract extension. Everybody's pushing media phones, smartphones, everything but the kitchen sink. She is not a techy, just wants a phone. We went to Walmart and got a Sony that was free with 2-yr contract renewal. The clerk was very helpful in moving everything to the SIM card and getting the new phone working. It has mp3, texting, camera, etc., but never uses those features.

    Biggest frustrations: 1) she needs her reading glasses to read the screen and 2) the UI is just enough different than the LG that it frustrates/baffles her at times.
    dinosaur_z
  • yes--cell phones have terrible interfaces

    my response is for your typical cell phone--not a smartphone/iphone.

    setup is only decent for me because the sales rep at the store showed me what to do (it still took like an hour).

    the cell phone keys to access the menus make NO SENSE and then the menus themselves are arcane. i don't know anyone that thinks their cell phone menus are even half way decent. i frequently get to a point where i finally have found the option i want and then hit the wrong key to select what i want and then wind up stuck in some horribly wrong option.

    it would take VERY VERY LITTLE EFFORT to make these menus and keys easy to use but it is clear that the cell phone makers aren't interested. i tried multiple ones at the store and all of them suck.
    hansonjb
  • Not just phones

    I have lamented for years, that so many of today's tech items have poor interfaces. I use a Palm Cento which has 10x the tech that my wife's Chocolate has. However, I won't pick up her phone because it's so poorly designed for a new user to just pick up and use, even for basic functions.
    This problem plagues most of the tech world. Companies spend millions in R&D to put new gadgets and gizmos on their equipment, then hire an elementary school drop-out to design button layouts, and interfaces.
    Good example: On my Centro phone, when you push the OFF button after a call, 90% of the time, it dials voicemail, because the voicemail dial button is located at the same touch location as the OFF button. A millisecond too long on the touch, or if the connection ends before you hit OFF, you're off to get your non-existant voicemail.
    Bottom Line: Companies need to at least double their spending on interfacing, if they're going to have repeat customers.
    vweaver
    • setup vs design

      The article dealt with "setting up" a new phone i.e. configuring email, internet, etc.

      The problem you're describing is related to bad design. I agree with all the points mentioned, but I don't think its relevant to setting up a phone.
      Loggies
  • Easy Smeasy

    You are right about not wanting a bunch of features on a "telephone". For me has nothing to do with being frustrated setting one up. I'm fairly gadget savy and have had no problems. What does irk me is all these features they try to cram into such a little space and then seem to be annoyed when it all comes crashing down.

    Why not just make a phone that has a good quality sound reception and you can turn it on or off and dial without a lot of beeps, tunes, chimes, and brakage of wind.
    Oh, no pictures please!
    El Condor
  • RE: Study shows 85% of users are frustrated with setting up their new phones

    I have very little sympathy with the 85% techno-challenged (lazy?) people.

    Cell phones are complex pieces of equipment. If you want easy, buy something basic that can text and phone, but nothing else.

    If you want power features, you must be prepared to spend the time to learn how your phone works....or buy from a dealer that takes care of the specialised bits as mentioned in the "depends where you buy" post.
    (be prepared to pay a little more for quality service)
    Loggies