Feeding America in San Diego

by Sue Walsh

Ever feel like global hunger is too big of a problem to solve? How about hunger in your own backyard?

Chalkboard sign: One in four children in San Diego country are food insecureStatistics say that 460,000 San Diegans live in households with an insecure food supply. That means one in four kids in our own neighborhoods don’t have enough to eat.

A group of Phone.com staff volunteered this past Saturday at Feeding America San Diego. The day was organized by Starbucks San Diego—if you’re a local, you may have seen food-donation bins in stores over the past month.

Feeding America San Diego (FASD) is part of a nation-wide organization that fights hunger by distributing basic food items and fresh produce to kids, families and seniors that need it.

Their programs include:

Our volunteer shift was fun! My son and I worked on a team that sorted Granny Smith apples and crated them for distribution. We also stripped the damaged leaves off over 300 heads of cabbage and boxed those up too.

Gleaning cabbages

Fun fact: FASD delivers all the bad apples and cabbage leaves we discarded to a group that makes compost for local growers and farmers.

Other volunteers stuffed backpacks, labeled cans and measured out family-sized packs of breakfast cereal from the bulk packs that FASD purchases with donated funds.

Volunteers packaging cereal at Feeding America San Diego

What did I learn? That this organization is making a real dent in hunger in our city. They distribute 23 million pounds of food annually, and serve 73,000 local children, families and seniors each week. Every dollar donated to FASD results in six meals. That’s what I call making a difference!

Their volunteers make it happen. During the three two-hour shifts organized by Starbucks on Saturday, 600 volunteers prepared the equivalent of 31,280 meals, which will be delivered to people in our community. We at Phone.com look forward to helping out again and again!

How Can You Help?

Meeting Up With Other Customer Service Professionals In San Diego

by Jeremy Watkin

pizzaThis post originally appeared on our customer-service blog at CommunicateBetterBlog.com

A little over a year ago, I made a terrific connection with author and customer-service expert, Jeff Toister. After attending a webinar about his book Service Failure, I began reading Jeff’s blog and communicating with him on Twitter. We eventually realized that we live less than a mile from each other, and have met a couple times to hike and talk customer service. Eventually, we arrived at the idea for a meetup for customer-service professionals in San Diego.

Last week, Phone.com hosted the meetup by opening up our office and providing refreshments. I had the opportunity to share some of the key components that we strive for when we talk about achieving awesome customer service. It was fun to give a tour of our customer-service operation and answer questions from attendees.

Jeff followed up with a discussion on the common customer-service challenges that we face. You can read a terrific recap of the event on Jeff’s blog.

Without going into great detail on everything we discussed, I thought I would share a couple of my takeaways from the event. First, we had people from various companies attend, including the San Diego Humane Society and Ideal Plumbing And Heating. These are customer service people who have a completely different base of knowledge and skills, and yet they face many of the same customer-service challenges we do supporting customers over the phone!

Second, I realized that networking doesn’t have to be scary. The people at the event, like me, were looking for ways to better serve their customers. What better way than to talk about the challenges we face and what we are doing to overcome them?

Phone.com University

Phone.com University – How to Order a Phone/Adapter

by Derrick Arteus

In addition to virtual number services, Phone.com also offers several IP phones and ATA adapters that allow you to place and receive VoIP calls with an internet connection. There are several benefits to ordering a device directly from us, including:

  • 30-day warranty on all devices.
  • Pre-configured devices for instant setup and use.
  • 24/7 support from Phone.com on all devices.

There are two device categories to choose from:

  • ATA Adapters (Grandstream HT702/Cisco SPA122) – These are used to hook up a regular analog phone to your VoIP service.
  • IP Phones  (all other listed models) – These phones hook up directly to an internet connection and do not require an adapter.

How to Order Your Device

Ordering a device is easy. Once you are logged into your account, follow these steps:

  1. Hover over Configure at the top of your page, and select Add a User/Extension.
  2. Select IP Phone or Adapter as the type.
  3. Click the Add & Select Device orange box. You are now on the Select Your New Device page, where you can choose from a number of devices that we offer. Select a device to order and then scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  4. Enter a shipping address in the Select a Shipping Address section or choose a pre-existing address that we have on file for your account (1).
  5. Click the Add Selected orange button at the bottom of your page (2).
  6. Click the Confirm Order button to complete your purchase.

device2

Your device is now ordered and will ship within 7-10 business days.

How to Modify or Cancel Your Order

If your device has not shipped, it is easy to change the shipping address or cancel the order within your account. Follow these steps to do so:

        1. Hover over My Account at the top of your page and select Account Home.
        2. Select View order status in the New Devices box.
        3. To update your shipping address, click the Update Shipping Address orange box.
        4. To cancel your order, click the Cancel Order box.

device3

That’s all it takes to order a device! See you next Monday for some more Phone.com knowledge.

Phone.com’s Response to the Heartbleed Bug

by Jeremy Watkin

heartbleedWe want our customers and friends to be fully aware of the Heartbleed issue.

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet.

Source: Heartbleed.com

This of course begs two questions:

What is Phone.com doing in response to the Heartbleed Bug? As of 11:00 PM Pacific time on Tuesday, April 8, our engineering team applied all of the necessary patches to the Phone.com network to ensure this vulnerability no longer exists.

What can you do to protect yourself as an Internet user? As many other companies have suggested, we recommend that you change your passwords for any online accounts that contain secure data and personal information, including your Phone.com account.

Finally, you may have received emails from many of the companies and online services that you use. The Heartbleed Bug potentially affects so many companies that it is critical that they update their systems. Here is a list of some of the major online services and the actions they have taken.

Also, please know that the security of your data at Phone.com is of the utmost importance to us.

Nine Strategies To Re-Engage At Work After A Vacation

by Jeremy Watkin

A vacation week marked on a calendar.My week off was fantastic—thanks for asking! 

If you’re like me, no matter how much you love your job, returning from vacation can be brutal. After a week on a beach somewhere, or in my case, the coastal redwoods of California, the last thing you want to do is return to the daily grind. Last night my eyes hurt from staring at a computer monitor for the first time in a week and I just wanted to crawl into a hole—or perhaps go back on vacation.

Enter the reality check. Assuming you’re like me and you enjoyed your job before you went on vacation, you may simply need a strategy for re-entering the workplace. As I reflected on my first day back, I came up with a list of strategies for future vacations.

  1. Take Time to Learn:  Read a book or do something inspiring while you are on vacation. Choose something that will get the creative juices flowing and help you do life and work better. I’m currently enthralled with the Steve Jobs biography.
  2. Enjoy Your Time Off:  Vacation is there for you to unplug, relax and get out of the routine. Take advantage of it and don’t feel guilty!
  3. Mark Your Next Vacation on the Calendar:  Begin planning your next vacation. Treat it as you would any goal that you strive towards.  Sometimes the lure of another trip on the horizon will serve as motivation.
  4. Make a To-do List:  Before returning to the office, make a short list of what you want to accomplish that first day back. Without a doubt, you will get hit with the unexpected on your return, but a list can keep you on track and help you feel like you accomplished something.
  5. Exercise:  Working out is a great way to reflect on your trip and prepare your mind for the coming week.
  6. Start with Relationships:  Arriving back at the office, take a few moments to catch up with your coworkers. You may find it energizing to know that you were missed and some will be genuinely interested in your trip.
  7. Ease into Your Inbox: Don’t try to conquer hundreds of emails in one day. Set aside an hour or two to work on it, and focus mostly on low-hanging fruit and any large issues that deserve immediate attention. The rest can wait for you to catch your breath.
  8. Don’t Expect to Get Caught Up Right Away: Don’t negate the good work you did de-stressing on your vacation. Set reasonable expectations and don’t heap a bunch of pressure on yourself to get everything done immediately.
  9. Plan Something Fun After Work: After that first day back to work, treat yourself to something fun. For me, it was coaching my son’s tee-ball game.

How do you return to work after a dream vacation? Leave us a comment with some of your own tips. As we approach the summer time, I wish you happy travels—and returns!