Margo, one our remarkable Customer Solutions Advocates recently purchase a “Smart Phone”. Margo, who is also our resident comedian, often jokes about when smart phones became smarter than all of us. Quick background: Margo spends her days working closely with people as they attempt to navigate technology that our kids and grandkids may find rudimentary. For many of our senior customers whose ages range between 72- 85 years old, it’s a completely different world. A world of new vocabulary. A world full of gizmos that they lived without most of their lives….and did just fine, might I add. So she is well aware of how it feels to be an intelligent person, with rich experiences and stories to tell and to feel incompetent when faced with navigating social media or even a basic app.
So, back to the purchase of the smart phone. Margo is proud of her new purchase and starts playing around with it. Trying to get it “to do” what she wants it to do – the “job” she “hired” this product for. Well, after messing around for days, reading the manual more than once and lamenting to her friends (who, by the way, share the same frustration with the complication of things.) she decides to stop into the wireless store where she purchased this new “smart phone” hoping some nuggets of brilliance will fall upon her as she enters. She steps up to the counter and is greeted by the same sales gal who originally sold her the phone. A young, fast moving and very friendly sales gal who is more than happy to assist. Margo explains that she just can’t seem to get the phone to do what she wants. The sales gal takes the phone and her fingers move like wildfire, changing this, adding that, saving this & that setting – all under Margo’s close watch as her eyes start to cross from the speed in which this gal’s fingers are moving. Of course Margo is certain she did all of these things, yet the sales gal gets cooperation from the smart phone that seem to mock Margo as they stand there. Margo is looking at that smart phone feeling pretty stupid.. in fact, down-right inadequate. Being the humorist that she is, she figures she will weave this story into a trouble-shooting call, sacrificing her own self esteem in order to make a customer feel good.
As Margo heads out the door, she spots a cable she needs. She picks it up and heads back to the counter. This cellular store is equipped with all the latest check out equipment- you know the kind that probably has not seen cash in like – forever. Margo pulls out a $20 bill as the sales gal (yep, the same one who navigated the setting of Margo’s new “smart phone” like she was reading from a Dr. Seuss ABC book.) announces the total was $19.96. Instinctively, Margo reached into her pocket and low & behold there is a penny. She hands the sales gal that penny. The sales gal just stares at it….she stares at it with that same look of confusion and inadequacy that Margo had as she stood there looking at that smart-ass smart phone.
A grin that would rival the Cheshire cat spreads across Margo’s face. Wait a minute- is this gal confused, unsure, lost! Wow! In that moment, one penny turned the tide. That one penny made Margo feel brilliant. Her realization – not everyone is good at everything. Our knowledge and understanding is based in our own experiences. Margo knew what to do with the penny (the fact the sale gal did not, is kind of scary). She also knows how to help people as does everyone on our team. She felt total empowerment.
So the next time you feel stupid as your grandchild rolls his eyes as he sets up your new tablet, smart phone or whatever “smart” device you just got – think of that penny….. You really are brilliant.