T-Mobile launched the T-Mobile Tuesdays app on Tuesday as a way to demonstrate their appreciation of their customers by giving them freebies every week. Its opening week gift lineup included a medium, two-toppings pizza from Dominos, movie tickets, and a Wendy’s Frosty. T-Mobile even offered a single stock of their company to customers who downloaded the app.
Most people would agree that this is a great customer perk; however, T-Mobile underestimated the volume of customers who would be interested in these giveaways, leaving them vulnerable to serious performance problems. In fact, if you opened the app that day hoping to score a free pizza for lunch, you were likely met with the error message below:
It was immediately obvious that T-Mobile was experiencing an overload in their servers; but, being the data enthusiasts that we are, we were curious to see just how far spread this outage was. After setting up a proxy to sniff network traffic, we were able to locate the API calls used by their mobile application. We decided to test this by mimicking the requests using our Object monitor, and after looking at our test data, the results were less than ideal:
Both of our tests failed continuously due to high connect and wait times, which gave us a clear picture as to just how much traffic the T-Mobile servers were experiencing. With each of those red dots above indicating a test failure, we also saw just how inefficiently their servers were handling the overload.
Fortunately for their users, the servers began to handle requests again around 6:00PM EST:
After almost an entire day of not being able to access the T-Mobile Tuesdays app, their users were finally able to claim their promised goodies for being loyal customers. However, the high overload also came with a lot of frustrations, along with the social media posts that tend to follow negative user experiences. Although the app is now up and running, if your servers are not prepared to handle a massive influx of customers, then even the best intentions can result in a damaged brand reputation.