Last month (November 2015), ChargeItSpot Field Service Technician Charlie Williams – affectionately known as “Charge-It Charlie” – completed a grueling 6-day, 10-mall charging kiosk installation tour. The kiosks were commissioned by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) and were installed at ten prominent shopping malls across six states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia. We sat down with Charge-It Charlie (#ChargeItCharlie) to ask him about his cross-country roadtrip:
Describe a typical ChargeItSpot installation at one of the PREIT malls
Upon arrival at each mall location, I would first inspect the kiosk, making sure there was no visible damage in shipping. Then I would scout the desired location and verify there was an outlet and good network connection. Following that, I would start the process of unpacking the kiosk, rolling it out onto the floor, and doing final testing. Finally, I would gather the key mall representatives and do a 20 minute training and Q&A session. I really enjoyed meeting the mall staff! They were extremely helpful and gracious, and excited to have a new cell phone charging station.
What tactics did you use to stay on schedule?
I tried to arrive at the first mall early each day hoping that the extra time would help me during the rest of the day. I’d call my primary mall contact approximately 30 minutes prior to my arrival to make sure they would be available to meet me, show me where the kiosk was located (usually in the labyrinth of hallways and storage rooms beneath the mall), which mall entrance to use, and any special requirements for the installation. Having that conversation before I arrived helped maximize productivity.
Any surprises during the trip?
I found it pretty amazing that these kiosks work after getting moved around in shipping, manhandled and who knows what else. The inside of the kiosks contain highly sophisticated electronics and it’s incredible that they arrive in such pristine condition. Turns out these charging stations are actually incredibly durable and rugged!
What were some of the reactions you heard during the kiosk installations?
People were so excited to try the kiosk out. They would hang around and keep asking me when I would be done so they could charge their phones. Typical comments included “This is so cool” or “I wish I had thought of this!” The PREIT staff were very impressed with the level of technology involved for something that “just” charged phones. Once they understood how our software and system works to keep phones safe and secure, their perspective completely changed.
What was the funniest thing that happened to you on the road?
Probably being nicknamed Charge-It Charlie!
What did you learn during this experience?
I think the most valuable lesson I learned was how much preparation and planning goes into a smooth roll-out. It was a true team effort with the support staff at ChargeItSpot. The experience also confirmed that there’s a high need for charging stations in malls. Shoppers are really clamoring for it! That was pretty eye-opening to me.
What was your favorite PREIT location (either mall or city) and why?
They were all beautiful, clean malls but I think my favorite was Altoona because of the placement of the kiosk, right by the Christmas Tree!
So…would you do it again?
Absolutely! I love and embrace challenges, and I had a blast! The fast pace, the pressure, the teamwork, the responsibility of representing ChargeItSpot and finally getting the installations done was very cool. It is such a pleasure to be part of something new and growing. Can’t wait to do it again!