In 2012, a small business like my communications shop runs via the smartphone. That's how I manage voice, email, video, research, and accessing the latest apps. It turned out to be retail sales consultant Jimmy Azhari at an AT&T corporate store on Universal Drive, North Haven, Connecticut who saved my business today.
Maybe it was the Nokia hardware, the Microsoft Windows software and/or me the newbie with smartphones. Whatever. The bottom line was that client calls on that brand of smartphone would be disconnected, voice mail would vanish into the ether, email was not accessible, and good luck not having a meltdown trying to use other features.
This morning came the tipping point. A long-term client which is that type which still pays bonuses called. They couldn't hear me. I couldn't hear them. I rescued the situation through SKYPE on the laptop.
On the point of meltdown, I returned to the AT&T store where I had opted for the Nokia. In politics (as Bill Clinton proved out) and in small business it pays to feel the other's pain. Azhari said he felt mine. Since he is a member of Generation Y and I am a Baby Boomer, I asked him how that could be. He explained that before he had his current job he had been out there in the trenches as a entrepreneur running, among others, cafes.
He listened. He suggested, as a replacement, the iPhone, not the android for a digital immigrant like myself. He negotiated with the manager Marc Vojick to bypass the usual re-stocking fee. AT&T not only felt my pain. It was going to absorb some of it. Yes, they did appreciate my business.
Azhari set up the phone. Then he took the time to train me in the basics. There's more. He took more time to observe as my chubby little Italian fingers did the keying in.
On the way back to my home office and all the rest of the business day, voice and email functioned ever so well.
Reflection: It's my business to connect the dots. So connecting them I am. If Azhari is representative of sales consultants on the front lines, AT&T Wireless could replace Staples as the best buddy to small business. Currently, Staples' positioning in that niche seems precarious. I take a look at that for the financial information company Motley Fool. Here you can read that analysis and attend to your own set of dots.
Meanwhile, if you are based in Connecticut, make it your business to do business with Azhari. Find out his schedule by calling AT&T's North Haven store at 203-985-0486. Tell 'em Jane sent ya.