Verizon Offers Workshops For The PDA-Challenged

Verizon Wireless wants to give subscribers that warm and fuzzy feeling each time they pick up their phone to make a call, check email or surf the Web. So, next week the carrier begins offering workshops that appeal to time-conscious or tech-challenged consumers who prefer to learn about PDA and smartphone features in classes rather than on their own.

The service provides guidance for those who want to learn all the bells and whistles on the latest phones, but lack access to technical support or help desk services for advice. Verizon wants consumers to know they can rely on the phone for more services than communication.

Sending the message that anyone can do it, Verizon is promoting the service through press and word-of-mouth marketing. Consumers who walk into retail stores will see in-store displays, posters in storefront windows or fliers on countertops with information on the class focus, days and times, according to Verizon spokesman David Samberg. "Stores are promoting the classes locally," he says. "Some post the information on community message boards, Chamber of Commerce community Web sites, and small business Web sites, too."



Each region throughout the country markets the classes in their community differently. Some might rely on more traditional advertising such as print.

Marissa Gluck, co-founder and managing partner at Los Angeles-based Radar Research, says large companies with many retail stores offering free services need to have a marketing plan, even if it means jotting down guidelines or suggestions for store managers to follow. "The promotion seems a little half-hearted," she says. "There are many Web sites where you can promote local events such as Craigslist and Upcoming that won't cost any money. These are low-cost or no-cost ways to bring in people."

A consistent message with structure will bring in existing or potential subscribers. The classes are for the small businesses and consumers who want to learn about devices they have or intend to purchase. Once strictly a business tool, PDAs and smartphones have moved into the consumer market, but many buy these devices without understanding how to use them. Subscribers might have a task to accomplish and not realize they have the tools at their fingertips to complete it.

The service-"20 Things Your PDA Can Do For You"--teaches consumers to maximize all the capabilities that new wireless devices offer. The free PDA and Smartphone workshops at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores begin at locations in the New Jersey/New York Metro area, but Verizon expects to expand the classes to locations throughout the United States.

Each class focuses on a particular product and service, so customers can get quick in-depth information about text messaging, music synchronization, email management and Internet browsing. These workshops will focus on HTC products such as the Verizon Wireless XV6900 and Verizon Wireless XV6800.

Aside from the classes at stores, Verizon has a data lab in New Jersey where it holds sessions for small businesses where Research in Motion employees offer hands-on instructions. The sessions are promoted though salespeople.

Consumers can register for classes by calling the store location or go to

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