Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I've fallen and I can't call help! Samsung's 911 Jitterbug

Anna Yong

Today I noticed that Samsung was recalling 160,000 Jitterbug cell phones because “When the recalled cell phones are in a no-service area and display an "out of range, try again later" message, they could fail to connect to emergency 911.” As part of the recall “Samsung and Jitterbug are directly contacting consumers to schedule a free software upgrade.” (http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml09/09744.html)

Wow. Think about the logistics of this. Calling 160,000 customer takes at least 2 minutes, and therefore $2 of CSR labor and costs. That’s $320,000 right off the bat. Now Jitterbug needs to actually have the customer bring the phone back to the store, get it upgraded, which could probably take another 10 minutes at least – and that’s for a trained professional that probably costs $2 a minute. So $32k just to notify people , and then 160k * $20 = $3.2 million dollars to update the phone. All for a free software upgrade which could have been done remotely if the phone has been designed to include updates over the air.

Considering the fact that “Jitterbug was created for people who prefer a simple, easy to use cell phone, a friendly, helpful service experience”, perhaps a little bit of technology built into the phone ahead of time, would have saved a lot of headaches afterwards.

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