Do You Speak English?

I’ve been having trouble with my computer. Messages are popping up that I don’t understand so I took snapshots to show my daughters in hopes they could tell me what’s going on.  Their response was super helpful.  Make an appointment at the genius bar. So I did.  Yay, finally someone would actually hold my hand and tell me step by step what to do. I went in for my appointment and had to wait for 40 minutes.  The guy sitting next to me asked me what was wrong and I said that I was getting messages that I was running out of memory. Oh, he wanted to help and started asking me all kinds of questions.  “I don’t know,” I replied to most everything he asked me. Looking at my computer, he started telling me all these different things, but mainly that I had plenty of memory and now I needed to do this, that and something else, and then midstream of him helping me, his name was called and he abruptly left me in mid download.  Ugghhh!

Finally, my name is called. Mr super young all-knowing genius starts rattling off information.  I really have no idea what he is talking about. Here is the deal I say. I want to make sure I have enough memory to hold ALL my STUFF and if anything happens to my computer, I have everything backed up so I don’t lose it. Simple, right?  Eventually after going through all this dialogue, he tells me I need an external hard drive.  “Ok, what does that mean?” I ask. A new girl (about as young as is eligible to work) comes over to explain about my new choices of three different hard drives available for purchase. They range in price from $130 to $199.  I question the differences.  She doesn’t know, but they all have at least 2 Terabytes.  I don’t know what terabytes is either. When I ask for more explanation, she just looks at me like she can’t believe I just asked that dumb question. “Speak English to me I plead. I don’t know what a terabyte is. I don’t know what I have so I don’t know what I need. Is it like I have memory about the size of an apple (no pun intended, although in retrospect it is kind of funny that I should ask that! LOL!) and now you are trying to sell me a refrigerator or is a terabyte more like a big grapefruit. What’s the difference?”

I finally made my decision. Eventually she told me a terabyte was like the difference between a Honda Civic and an SUV for inquiring minds that want to know.  I’m not sure if it was actually an informed decision or not, but I bought a 2 Terabyte external hard drive.

The thing is, we need to speak to our customers in a language they can understand.  It was disturbing that upon visiting a different store with a completely different problem later that afternoon, that I found myself having a similar encounter.  Having this experience twice in one day has taught me the business lesson of clearly communicating, loud and clear!  I am going to do my best to ensure I am communicating to my customers in a language they can understand. Hopefully they all speak English.

xo, jan

Jan McCarthyComment