It was my 60th birthday at the weekend. Most people I met said I didn’t look a day over fifty-nine and a half, so I guess that was positive. It really got me thinking about my earlier years of selling and the sort of products that are around these days and how they are managed – amongst a whole load of other things that are better kept to myself!
In my first blog, I mentioned the lack of technological support that wasn’t around then but is readily available these days, so I won’t dwell on that too much. My second role in sales was with a subsidiary of a very large organization – although during my time there, it was subject to an MBO.
When I joined that company as an infant (well 30-years old) there was a really old looking sales guy in the team. He was actually 50. I remember thinking that there was no way on this planet that I would be doing THAT job at 50 (I presumed I wouldn’t be around at all at 60!!) In those days, though, as well as salary and commission, there were the additional benefits of occasional fun nights out with the sales team and even incentive prizes for the ‘star performers’. In fact, a few weeks ago I was reminded of these halcyon days by a surprising contact on Facebook (my daughter had to show me how to log on, of course).
There were a few pictures of myself, my wife, and other lucky members of the sales team who had won an incentive trip to Monaco. I had hair then, so it took me a while to realize who it was, although I recognized everyone else as I hadn’t seen most of them since 1996 so they looked just as I remembered them.
After this foray into new technology, I decided to focus my efforts for a short time on trying to understand how to work Facebook. I know there are millions (billions?) of users and most of them are far younger, with much less IT experience than me, so it was bound to be intuitive and easy to use – wasn’t it? Well, it probably is, but I struggled to get to grips with it.
But what do you do if you install an ‘App’ (admittedly at no monetary cost) and are dissatisfied with it? Who do you complain to? How do you send it back to be fixed?……………………………………………..
“Hi, I’ve just bought LinkedTubeBook.con and I can’t get it working”
“We’re very sorry to hear that John, do you mind if we call you John?”
“Dave would be better as it’s my name, actually.”
“Sorry Dave. How is the weather with you today? It’s raining in Salford..”
“Yes, OK thanks” (why would I want to know what the weather was……….never mind…)
“Could you tell me Dave, what the problem is?”
“I can’t get my new LinkedTubeBook.con to work. It says it should work out of the box – but I downloaded it or maybe uploaded it or even sideways loaded it – there was no box. Maybe that’s why it doesn’t work? I’ve followed the intuitive user guide and I keep getting an error message once I’ve entered my personal details which includes my name and age.”
“Dave, I’m very sorry to hear that. I am looking forward to working together with you to resolve your issues.”
“Thanks Donald, do you mind if I call you Donald – but I really just want to get my software loaded and working – I doubt if you are equipped to resolve my issues as well – are you a doctor?”
“Of course Dave. No problem. Can you tell me what version of IOS you are running and what storage you have?”
“Sure – Actually I have a Passat not an IOS, but storage-wise, I have a spare bedroom and my loft is quite empty.”
“Thank you Dave, but my queries were regarding your iPhone really.”
“Right Donald. Of course – please excuse my lack of knowledge. I’ve only just got a new mobile and I’m getting used to the terminology.”
“Thank you for explaining that Dave. I think the easiest way forward is for me to take control of your App so we can work through this together. Would that be OK Dave?”
“I guess so. How do you do that from Salford? Do you have to drive over here? It’s quite a long way and it’s rush-hour?”
“No Dave. I can log on through another App which I was going to ask you to install from the App store.”
“Hang on – I can’t get this one going and now you are expecting me to install another one to get that one going too? What happens if this one doesn’t work? Will you get me to install another one to get that one working etc. etc? There must be an easier way to get this working?”
“I can understand why you would say that Dave.”
STOP – I can’t write a blog without raising a favorite expression alert. Of all the irritating, patronising, and banal expressions, this must be in the premier division. If you can ‘understand why I will say that’ – why provoke me in the first place? What sort of understanding person would do that?!
“Thankyou Donald, for your understanding – but I don’t seem to be getting anywhere at all. I’m not happy and I want to send the software back to you. I just don’t want it anymore. I’ll stick to using my old favourite InYourFace.co.brexit.”
“Well Dave, that’s the first time anyone has ever said that. Maybe you are just too old to be using this software at 60. May I wish you Many ‘Appy Returns!”