Logic inspired reviews, smart talk and advice from a "Tech" Dads point of view

When wireless networks fail your brand – you must fill the gap

It’s important to put the following btch session in context – I had just had a picture taken of myself with Santa Clause – in a Karaoke  Bar at Universal Studios, he was wearing a tropical shirt and we were all happy. All I wanted to do was share that ‘special moment’ with my small network on Facebook and Twitter. My iPhone  had a good signal, it was nearly fully charged thanks to my Mophie Juice Pack AND it was at the perfect time of night to get some good shares or at least a few likes. All good for the Klout score. AT&T would have none of it!

The basic problem – not many around me could post either.  Throughout the night I saw other patrons of The Rising Star Club looking at their phones – also trying to send that awesome shot or video of Mary S. doing her best to sing Shania Twain’s “Man I feel like a woman” ( she killed it! ) yet failing … full bars but no throughput. Their phone’s progress wheels mockingly spinning only to fail seemingly on the last byte of data. Half-heartedly, they held their devices skyward in hopes of success. I think they could have been on top of the roof  – the tower was saturated. To much love was attempting to leave Universal that night. Those on Cingular seemed to fare better but it wasn’t Nirvana for them either.

To be fair, AT&T has recently attempted to rise to the occasion for special events but preparing for 70,000 fans that will be posting updates/pictures from the Super Bowl is a no brainer. Try to send your mother picture of the Naked Cowboy from Times Square (I still regret that image) and your knee deep in mule muffins . Consumers hate their network in that failed moment but the anger fades once they get back home. No real permanent damage is done to the network/consumer relationship (unless the network is a chronic failure everywhere they go). This is temporary problem for the consumer (and battery drain) –  it really sucks from those who would benefit the most from those posts, tweets, checkins or pins – the brands! Universal Studios was the overall victim of my failure to share Santa with the world. No presents for you AT&T!

I bet The Rising Star lost out on several dozens tweets that night and more then a few checkins. I wanted to post about how awesome our table service was and how much fun I was having; obvious by the $200 bar tab the four of us ran up. Nope, my posts to Facebook hit at 2:00 AM and I don’t think I was ever able to ‘check-in’. Half the night I actually saw the insulting “E” emblem on my “4G” phone.

Twitter Post from The Rising Star in Universal Studios

Each and every time I’ve gone to Disney or Universal Studios I experience the same sub-par service and bandwidth. Obviously, this is due to saturation. What surprises me is that the theme parks don’t complain more on behalf of their patrons. Then again, maybe they do – they haven’t called me in awhile. They sure aren’t suffering with low attendance due to poor network capacity. More then likely though, your small company isn’t a brand powerhouse like Walt Disney World and if your customers are having issues with 3G/4G service  (i.e. to share your awesomeness with the world) you’re a proportionately bigger loser then Mickey Mouse.

Do some testing in and around your location to make sure that you can connect to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest, etc. during peek times throughout the day. It’s not enough to have a good connection, make sure your bandwidth is adequate and up to the task. This is especially important if you offer WIFI. If your planning a special event, do some stress testing of your network to assure you have the proper amount of bandwidth available.

This brings me to my point. Universal and Disney still do not offer free WIFI. This surprises me since they have to know the state of things in their parks. Yes, Yes, this would cost them more money then the average business. While it’s also a technical nightmare, with ticket prices are close to $100 per person and parking fees north of $15 –  it’s just something they should do and they should attempt to do it well. Think of the marketing opportunities!

Finally, ‘I love me my brands’ and I want to promote them! I want to share so many pictures of my daughter running around Disney that my family will be sick with envy all the while wanting to be there themselves. My friends may have wished they were there to hear my sing ‘Red Solo Cup’ at Rising Star that night but they can be comforted when my wife posts the video immediately afterwards. I will be enabled but the brands will be the ultimate benefactors.

Make sure that your customers can connect. If not, provide that connection to them and do it for free. Just make sure that when your customers are standing next to Santa Clause in your establishment that they can spread the word and spread it fast!

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