Mary Jane Copps is raking in thousands of dollars for teaching Generation Z-ers — who have spent most of their lives only using texts — to have actual conversations via telephone.
Business Insider published a report Monday on Copps — who has dubbed herself “The Phone Lady” — revealing that she charges up to $480 per hour for private lessons in phone etiquette for those who either don’t understand how to use a phone in the workplace or who have a phobia around doing so.
VeryWellMind defines Phone Anxiety as “the fear of making or answering phone calls (also known as telephobia)” and notes that it “is a common fear among those with social anxiety disorder (SAD).” Emotional symptoms of Phone Anxiety include: “Avoiding making calls or having others call you, delaying making or answering phone calls, obsessing about what was said after calls, stressing about embarrassing yourself, worrying about bothering the other person, and worrying about what you will say.”
Copps told Insider that she had seen the rise of what she referred to as “phone phobia” — which coincided with the rise of smartphone usage and text/chat features coupled with the gradual death of the traditional home telephone. A recent Fox News report explored the rise of phone phobia, especially among younger generations.
“Gen Z have never had the skills given to them. In my generation, the phone was on the wall in everyone’s house, and we were taught to answer it and make calls at a young age,” Copps told Insider. “Now we have several generations that were never taught anything about talking on the phone, and people have removed phones from their homes.”
But phones are still part of the job in many workplaces — whether they be retail stores, restaurants, or offices — and prospective employees who don’t have previous experience carrying on a telephone conversation may find themselves feeling anxious when the situation arises at work.
Copps said that her consultancy was designed to ease that anxiety and give clients the skills and confidence to answer phones effectively and with less stress. Toward that end, she charges up to $480 an hour for individual coaching and $365 for 30-minute webinars. Her program also includes corporate workshops, for which she charges $3,500 daily.