A trip to the Microsoft store reminded me of what the company needs to do to improve itself to the point where it can compete more effectively with Apple. I was at the Westchester Mall yesterday in White Plains, New York and the staff was very friendly and helpful but they made a mistake worth pointing out.
All the workers I encountered in the store asked if I took their survey which could result in me winning a new phone. It was located outside the store in the mall hallway. My thinking is, in general, you don’t want to encourage customers to leave your retail establishment.
Moreover the survey didn’t work. It was taken on a Nokia 1520 phone which is impressive in terms of form factor and weight but it didn’t accept my answers after repeated attempts. Obviously it must have worked for others but the experience reminds me of the challenges tech companies face when designing platforms that are bulletproof.
Apple has it’s share of problems as well such as frequent crashes when using email on the iPad – at least in my use. But Microsoft and others need to do things better to take more share.
We will know they are successful when they have more non-sales people in the store than employees. In my last few trips there I’ve witnessed a sea of purple shirts.
On a positive note, I brought two 10-year olds with me who I couldn’t get to leave the store. They seemed to love the tablets that have a stylus, something Apple doesn’t have – yet. This part of my trip at least was a good sign for Redmond.