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I haven't personally seen this error message, but according to Microsoft Support (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2663513/excel-is-waiting-for-another-application-to-complete-an-ole-action), Method 3 for resolution is to Troubleshoot Add-ins in Excel, "The error can occur if you have too many Excel add-ins or one of the add-ins is corrupt. We recommend you temporarily disable the add-ins and test your workbook."
Assuming there aren't multiple other add-ins installed (which if that is the case, you or the user could try disabling those other add-ins first) and since disabling the SmartView add-in doesn't allow you to test what was causing the error (refreshing SmartView), maybe try uninstalling then re-installing the SmartView add-in. Have you tried that? What version of SmartView are you/the impacted user running? What other options have you tried so far?
I've only had them restart their PC and try a refresh on a new workbook. They're running 188.8.131.52.620. We'll try a re-install.
Turns out the user was trying to use Smart View while security patches were being applied to his machine.