Waste in BlackBerry Setup – Read WHICH First?


As with some (ok, many) of my complaints falls into the “nice to have these problems” category. That said, I had some avoidable waste and frustrations in the process of transitioning from my old dropped-too-many-times Blackberry to a new BlackBerry Bold. I need to do a root cause analysis of dropping held-held devices that leads to an answer other than “I'm clumsy.”

Process problems abound… the box included two “read me first” documents (one from AT&T and one from my company IT support). So I called IT and, after a phone tree and a few questions, and one of the first things they said was, “you need to call AT&T first.”

Um, great, the document they sent could have said that. So I tried to give some feedback to the IT guy and you can imagine the “that's not my job to update the document… sure, I'll pass that along…” Yeah, right.

So then I called AT&T, using the number on their “Read First” document. I was using my old BlackBerry. After the phone tree and waiting on hold, one of the first questions was, “Are you calling using a landline??”

Um, no. That's a useful tidbit that could have been on the AT&T document. So I had to call back… another time waster, another non-Lean Solution. How hard is it to think through things like this from a customer perspective? Do they ever test these documents? Do they ever take customer feedback to make them more clear?

Oh, of course when I called back, the second person followed a different line of questions — don't they have standardized work? I guess not. Each time I called, I had to punch in my phone number… and when a real live person came on, I (of course) had to repeat this information. Why type it in to begin with? Such waste…

It would be a nice practice of any customer documentation had a prominent link INVITING feedback. “Is this document unclear? Do you have suggestions for improving it?” There could be a website allowing customers to take a minute to give that feedback. What's less likely — customers giving that feedback or companies doing anything about it?

Oh, and from a product quality standpoint, I have to order a replacement. The memory card slot doesn't work properly. With the memory card installed, the screen frequently displays “memory card removed” and then “memory card inserted” and then “memory card removed.”

Still, the process quality stuff seems more annoying than the product quality issue. Three goofs… two of which should be relatively easy to fix, eh?

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. I had a similar experience with my first Blackberry. All I wanted to do was change the ring tone, but nowhere in the directions, user guide, or online help was there any help for me. I finally just had to ask somebody – and it was a “go here, and double click on this” situation. Why so difficult? And why not in the user guide??? Doesn’t anyone change ring tones???


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