Sunday, January 13, 2008

Alpha-Numberic phone numbers will be less valuable in 2 years

I know we have some Luddites here at Page 132, but the truth is that the future is cell phones, and smartphones at that. In 2007, the iPhone was introduced and brought the smartphone from the business suit to the jean pocket. That spawned similar phones like the Sidekick and the Moto Q. Combined with the ubiquitous BlackBerry in the work world, the newest phones will have internet access, e-mail and a QWERTY keyboard.

Why all that background? Because of this: Today I had to call 1-800-Zipcars and I couldn't. I have a BlackBerry with a QWERTY keyboard. The "F" isn't where it is on the standard 1-9 phone keys. I wasn't able to contact the company I needed to. I had to look at my wife's phone to figure out what to call. I was grumpy and frustrated even before I started talking with anyone at ZipCars.

So alpha-numeric phone numbers that seemed such a good investment 4 years ago, will soon become worthless. In fact, even worth less than zero because they will cause your customers headaches. So tell me, will you miss 1-800-Flowers? 1-800-Got-Junk? 1-800-I-FLY-SWA?