YOU ARE AT:WirelessN.C. Alltel store says business as usual until merger

N.C. Alltel store says business as usual until merger

Editor’s Note: In this monthly feature, RCR Wireless News talks to retail managers across the country to get a first-hand view of what’s hot in wireless.
Alltel Communications L.L.C stepped on the scene in the early 1990s and quickly established itself as a regional carrier. The wireless provider purchased a number of significant operators to expand its footprint across the nation, ultimately becoming the fifth-largest carrier in the United States. Alltel hosts about 13.5 million customers and has retail stores across the country. Verizon Wireless announced plans to buy Alltel in June.
After the merger is completed, it’s likely that many of Alltel’s retail stores will disappear or at least, sell under the Verizon Wireless brand.
But until that happens, Alltel retail stores remain in business. We’ve asked Matt Richmond, regional sales manager of an Alltel store in Fayetteville, N.C., how he is keeping morale up in the wake of the merger. The Fayetteville store has been open since July 1994, and Richmond has been in charge for the past two years.

What is the biggest challenge at your store?
The biggest challenge is dealing with changes in traffic patterns due to the overall increase in retail presence in Fayetteville. Specifically, in the Fayetteville market, a challenge we have seen is that the area is a major military hub, and our traffic at times has been affected by military deployments. The other daily challenge I face is to continue to grow the Alltel business and provide my team with the support they need.

Has your store suffered at all from the impact of recent economic turmoil? Have you noticed different patterns in customers? Buying cheaper phones, downgrading, etc.?
We definitely have seen an impact as the wireless industry has matured, and we have seen customers who are more educated about wireless. We are seeing second- and third-generation customers who have been around. As a more educated and application-savvy customers have been drawn to Alltel, we find that those customers are more attracted to phones and products that add a variety of applications and fit their individual needs and desires. Although price is a concern, customers are attracted to devices that help entertain, make life easier, more enjoyable and productive. At Alltel Wireless, we provide a full lineup of phones and products to meet all customers’ needs and price ranges.

What is the most popular device/devices right now? What phones are people flocking to?
Customers are very excited about the smartphone devices, which provide a wide variety of features and options such as Internet access, music downloads, cameras, games and navigation to name a few. In addition to these phones, customers are really taking advantage of our wireless Internet cards that provide mobility and flexibility with their laptops and computers.

What are some popular accessories right now?
Some popular accessories are Bluetooth headsets, the Bluetooth hands free kits and memory cards.

What’s most important to Alltel customers overall?

Our customers want us to provide value, competitive offerings for both products and services and unequalled customer service. These hold true for new and existing customers.

With the Verizon Wireless purchase approaching, have you had any concerns about your position, store closings, upset customers, etc.? Have your employees been wondering?

Alltel continues to win customers in the marketplace and has continued all of its retail operations and promotions. On the employee end, we’ve communicated openly with employees regarding all aspects of the pending merger and everyone continues to work together to win new customers for our company.

What are some year-end goals for your store?

Our goal is to continue to grow and protect our customer base by being competitive in the market. We continue to provide industry leading cu

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