This wafer-thin, crazy-expensive phone in my pocket is both a technological masterpiece and a constant thorn in my side. It always rings at the most inconvenient times, like in the first half-hour of a critical customer meeting, when I finally get a lunch break, or when I’m about to walk into the dentist’s office.
Not only that, it completely ruined my all-time-favorite Taylor Swift song. After hearing it 50 times a day over the last month, I never want to hear “Shake it Off” again as long as I live. (Thank you, Samsung.)
And then this happened.
Last Friday, I got a text message that said “Freight charges were collect. Need your credit card ASAP!”
Only problem was, I had absolutely no idea who it was from. The number appeared on my phone, but no name. Hm. “Phishing scam,” I thought to myself, and deleted the message.
Five minutes later, the phone rang, and a very flustered loading-dock supervisor was on the other end of the line. He was upset I hadn’t gotten back from him, and the delivery guy had left, and wouldn’t be back until Monday.
A call from beyond the grave.
A couple weeks ago, about 9 at night, my phone rang, and I almost had a heart attack. The caller ID showed “Kenneth Barlow,” the name of our after-hours facility manager. Normally not a startling situation, except Ken had tragically passed away the month before in a car accident. My conscious mind knew that the caller wasn’t Ken Barlow. But my subconscious mind was disturbed. My voice wavered as I said hello. “I just wanted to let you know that there’s a flood warning, and ask you if there’s anything specific I need to do in the server room,” came the female voice that definitely did not belong to Ken Barlow. “Oh, thanks,” I said, reaching into the cabinet above my stove for my emergency bottle of whiskey. Obviously, the new facilities manager had been issued Ken’s old phone.
So, there’s a moral to this story. In each of the scenarios above, Caller Name ID could have saved me some pain. If I know who’s calling, I can decide whether it’s worth stepping out of the meeting to take the call. I’d know who desperately needed my credit card. And no one would ever call me from beyond the grave.
The bottom line is—we NEED to know who is contacting us. We all do so much business on our cell phones that we need the same functionality we’d have if we were sitting at our desks. Having the caller’s name appear on the screen when it rings is priority one.
Think of this as a cautionary tale. After all, it’s great to have all of your corporate contacts on your phone. But it’s even better to know who the heck they are when they call you.