On the metaphorical stairs of life there are a few big steps, their importance can be literal or implied. Today my production company and I got our official business cards… we are officially official. On this journey to legitimacy we found an amazing human being who showed that it does not matter what you do for a living, it’s how you do it.
Getting business cards is a bit of a right of passage for any business, something everyone must do. However, the process was not this simple as it’s mass appeal would imply. Instead of taking the business card template Lily and I had drafted on our flash drive and giving it to the human being on the other side of the desk, we are directed to a ATM sized Skype booth where we will be connected to a Staples rep in Toronto to help us process our order. This is how we met Colene.
After waiting about 15 minutes to be transferred we are greeted by a pixelated woman in the top right hand corner of our monitor named Colene. She introduces herself as her job requires and as she does Lily and I begin to laugh. I think hers was mostly in response to our outburst because you must realize… We are about to have a fully audible Skype session with a woman we have never met in the middle of the Staples print department. Colene takes the awkward laughter in stride and continues as her job instructs her to. Listening to our incredibly specific and needy requests through failing microphones and pixelated image quality.
Once we and the rest of the surrounding area got used to the loudness of our conversation in the middle of the room we proceeded to the task at hand. Within the first 10 minutes Colene had quoted us a price that was much higher than what we had expected and so, with our new found connection we asked bluntly but humorously “Colene! What the hell!? What did you do!?” With this began our online collaboration session. We bantered back and forth over colors and styles teasing back and forth. Colene put in the extra mileage to find us a combination that would end up costing us less than our original quoted price for twice the amount of cards. #Winning
With the new dollar amount on the table the team is having a grand old time. Until Colene doesn’t seem to be responding to anything we say. Then our eyes meet through the screen and thousand of miles of Canada. She gestures to us, like a firefighter to a trapped child in a burning building, “stay calm, I got this”. She pulls a cord phone from off screen and begins dialling. And just like a film noire bar scene the phone in the print centre begins ringing and the receptionist looks to us and says, “There is a Colene online for you?” The rest of our conversation would continue running back and forth from the video terminal to the phone.
Amongst the technological struggle and the circumstantial audience developing around us we found ourselves laughing and getting to know each other. At one point in between a man in a suit came up and introduced himself to us. “Gosh you two are having fun!” We quickly relayed the introduction onto our new friend Colene in Toronto who gave him a big smiling wave from across the country. He left by saying that we had made his day and we should “have our own show on TV”.
This is beyond an hour of negotiations, and usually I am totally done with the situation at this point, but Colene is this radiant source of encouragement we can’t let down for a second. She then begins to suggest new alterations for our card. A little hesitant at first we describe our business and marketing approach. She provides us with some surprisingly professional feed back as to how to properly represent ourselves. “I should be able to tell what you do before I read your card. At this point, no offence, I don’t have a clue what kind of service you provide.” At first we question her input but then decide to give the trans-continental friend a chance. “If you have something you would suggest we will consider, and if not we’ll just stick with what we got.” In a few moments she throws up a new draft on the page and Lily begin trying to pick up our jaws off the floor. IT’S PERFECT. Soon we are taking her advice in stride and re-branding on the spot. A few tweaks later and a overhaul on the original concept and we have ourselves with a slick, professional, new look for our production company.
Before we ended our conversation I pull out my phone and begin posing for a selfie. Colene laughs whole heartedly, rolls with the punches and smiles right on cue. A beautiful, documented moment from our new cyber relationship. We added one another on Instagram and offered our own homes to each other if we ever found ourselves in the neighbourhood. After a quick transfer and a long winded, sentimental good bye we settled up and left.
Only after waling 5 blocks did we realize that we were Colene’s last client. “It’s past 9pm in Toronto!” says Lily! What a valiant, over the top effort she put into a job people so often take for granted! I have never experienced such enjoyable, flavourful customer assistance in my life. If Staples doesn’t already know the service quality of this woman they need to immediately promote her to management!