Author Archives: Jeremy Watkin

About Jeremy Watkin

Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Service at Phone.com and co-founder of CommunicateBetterBlog.com (and on Twitter: @commbetterblog ); a blog dedicated to learning about good and bad customer service with the intent of providing awesome customer service for Phone.com.

Phone.com’s Response to the Shellshock Flaw

by Jeremy Watkin

shellshock2A serious vulnerability in the Unix Bash shell used on Linux systems, Apple OS X machines, routers and older connected (IoT) devices was announced yesterday.

As with the Heartbleed virus earlier this year, our infrastructure team has applied security patches to all Phone.com systems that use Bash, thereby preventing unauthorized access to our service and your data.

For more information on protecting your own systems, see US-CERT’s alert on Shellshock.

Five Reasons Phone.com and Remote Work Go Hand In Hand

by Jeremy Watkin

work-from-anywhereIn the book Remote, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of 37signals, present a compelling argument for allowing employees to work from home.  At the core of the discussion is giving your employees the flexibility to work wherever they feel is best.

That could be home or a cabin in the mountains, or possibly at one coffee shop in the morning and another in the evening. Does it really matter where they work as long as they are completing their work with flying colors and effectively communicating with the team?

If you are currently considering allowing your employees to work remotely, here are five reasons Phone.com just makes sense for you and your business.

1. Flexible Call Routing – You can route calls to a device, our Communicator soft phone, or your cell phone or landline number.  You can literally route your callers anywhere you might be working and change it on the fly through our easy-to-use control panel.

2. No More Expensive Devices – While you can still get a fantastic, HD desk phone from Phone.com, you no longer have to be tethered to that phone like a ball and chain.  Phone.com Communicator can be installed on your laptop so you can speak with callers anywhere you have an Internet connection.

3. Useful Mobile Apps – Our mobile apps for iPhone and Android let you access your voicemail, view your call logs, and send and receive SMS anywhere.

4. Easy Extension Dial – Everyone on our system is simply an extension away from one another. Where Paul traditionally might pick up the phone and call Lucy in the next room at extension 522, now Paul, located in California can dial Lucy, located in Florida simply by dialing 522.

5. Enhance Your Professional Image – You’re probably thinking that your company’s image will suffer as a result of this.  Wrong!  With customizable menus and greetings, your brand will be enhanced, not sacrificed—regardless of where your employees work.

The beauty of working remotely with Phone.com is that you gain an amazing phone system at a fraction of the cost, and you gain an excited, engaged team that has the flexibility to work anywhere they darn well please!  I have merely scratched the surface of the benefits.  You’ll have to give Phone.com a try and read Remote to learn about the rest!

When Lightning Strikes

by Jeremy Watkin

Woman hand holding the phone tablet touch computer gadget isolatA good part of our team is located in our Poway, California office, so thunder and lightning are not a concern. We’re too busy applying sunscreen and waiting for part of our state to fall into the ocean to worry about a little storm.

With that said, we’re seeing more calls where a customer contacts us after a major storm to let us know that their device, usually an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA), is fried. Those little guys are usually fairly durable — my brother had one with a melted case that still worked. But one thing they are not immune to is a surge of electricity caused by a lightning strike.

As I began writing this post I was going to tell you to protect your electronics with a surge protector. While that’s a fantastic idea for regular electrical surges, research indicates that even the best surge protectors are no match for a nearby lightning strike. Dan Robinson from StormHighway.com advises that “the best and cheapest way to protect your stereo, television, computer, or any electronic appliance is to unplug all power, telephone (modem), and antenna connections during a thunderstorm.”

While you’re at it, don’t forget to unplug your Phone.com devices so they are safe while the storms rage on! In the meantime, I’m polishing up my post titled “101 Uses For Your Fried ATA.” I like to use mine as a doorstop.

3 Surefire Ways To Keep Your Business Mind Sharp

by Jeremy Watkin

The book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey has left an indelible mark on me since reading it a couple years ago. At the time, we were reading the book as part of our customer-service book club.

business man reading mag - andresHabit number seven is “Sharpen the Saw.” The basic principle is that unless you take time to invest in your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, your “saw” will become dull and ineffective. In a day and age where we can literally get home from work, a bag of fast food in hand, and plop down on the couch to binge watch episode after episode of our favorite television shows on Netflix, it’s likely there are a lot of dull saws out there.

Does your work feel completely uninspired? Has your career hit a plateau? Does your imagination feel more like a mental blockade? Allow me to share three ways I have learned to keep my mind sharp in recent years.

1. Read a Book

Any form of reading is a fantastic exercise for your mind, but I highly recommend reading that’s targeted toward personal and professional growth. Since starting Communicate Better Blog, this has been a major point of emphasis for us. Take a look at our current book reading list! Yours doesn’t have to be as focused on customer service as ours is. As I’ve committed to regularly reading, I find myself branching out and learning about other business topics that have all of a sudden become interesting to me.

2. Read a Blog

Blogs are another amazing way to sharpen your saw. With a quick Google search you can find tons of blogs relevant to your interests. And with Twitter, you can search hashtags and find links to blog posts on those topics as well. For example, as a customer service professional, I search #custserv (Customer Service) and #cx (Customer Experience) all of the time.

You will quickly discover that experts are freely and openly sharing their wisdom. It’s all there for you to consume and will prove valuable to your personal and professional development. For those who don’t relish the idea of sitting in a crowded room and networking, you can connect with others in your fields of interest without leaving your chair. The best part about it is that so many of these thought leaders want to have a conversation with you!

3. Listen to a Book

My final and most recent discovery has been audio books. No time for reading in your busy day? I’ll bet you have a daily commute, and a vehicle equipped with either a CD player or auxiliary jack. Audio books are a great way to pass the time during your commute and make it meaningful. They don’t have to cost money either! I found out that our public library has several thousand audio books to choose from.

These are just a few ways to keep your business mind sharp. Be sure not to neglect proper rest, exercise, a good diet, and prayer or meditation as well. I firmly believe that all of these things work together to help you be your very best.

What are your favorite ways to sharpen your saw?  What good books are you currently reading?  Leave us a comment or share with us on Twitter and Facebook.

Did You Know We Collect Smiles?

by Jeremy Watkin

smileboxI wrote a post on Communicate Better Blog about a year ago about the importance of being a smile collector. Erica, one of our awesome customer service representatives, introduced me to the concept when I told her that an email she’d sent made me smile.  She responded by saying, “That’s great! I collect smiles!”

That phrase has really stuck with us. In fact, all good feedback, internal or external, makes us smile. Plus, we love making our customers smile!

We now have a Smile Box in our office and every bit of good feedback goes in that box. Names are drawn from the box periodically and we celebrate the smiles together as a company. We go a step further and produce an internal Smile Report every month with all of the amazing feedback from our customers.

I was just reading some of the feedback from this week’s drawing and immediately found myself grinning because I was reminded of the fact that I work with some awesome people. Check out these comments:

Everything is functioning as I would like. Your CS rep was very helpful on my last call and I think I know how to set up everything that I need to.

Thanks to Juan for OWNING THE CUSTOMERS and helping them solve issues — always!

You are the best! I can always rely on you to be there when I need HELP! No matter what! Thanks for always being available, it is so important! Thank you!

Now, before you start thinking we only focus on the positive, I want to assure you that we also read and act on the negative. Guess what? The negative feedback makes us smile too and not because we have some sick desire to see people be unhappy. We smile because the negative feedback is an opportunity to improve our service in tangible ways, and we smile because someone cared enough to take the time to share it.