In a new "Battery Swap" program, U.S. Cellular customers will be able to exchange their dead or dying phone batteries for fully charged new ones in U.S. Cellular retail locations at no charge.
"We're all about the human connection with others," Alan Ferber, chief marketing officer of the company, tells Marketing Daily. "And for our customers, the cell phone is that connection."
The "Battery Swap" program will launch on Tuesday and will be supported with television, print and collateral advertising that targets both new and current customers, Ferber says. A "Phone Swap" dedicated television spot features a robot communicating the importance of always keeping an electronic device's battery charged.
Noting, however, that many telecom companies lure and keep customers by offering the latest in gadgetry and devices, Ferber says the program will only cover batteries for phones sold over any given 18-month period. Customers with phones older than 18 months will be encouraged to get a new phone and sign a new long-term contract, Ferber says.
The program, which is based on a test the company undertook last year, is the first of its kind for the wireless telecommunications industry. While it's possible that competitors might launch similar programs, Ferber says U.S. Cellular is not concerned. "We think our strategy is unique, and our program is built around customer service," he says. "We don't think that's high on our competitors' priority lists."