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May 26, 2006

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

It's official I'm an old geezer. It's not a bad thing... it's just official. I came in last night for a training session with our graveyard sales consultant at 2:00 AM after working my normal daytime shift the day before. Back in my younger days I could have easily done this... not so much anymore. My eyes hurt, my muscles ached, and the loud bass coming from the cars on the road at 1:30 this morning drove me crazy. "Turn down your stereo sonny! There's no need for all the boom boom boom!" After my insane drive into work I came in to find there is a whole different world running while I'm in bed.

Our graveyard sales consultant was bright eyed and bushytailed and working the day without complaint or moving at a speed that can only be compared to Droopy Dog. I came across a whole new group of customers that I’ve never been introduced to before. People actually are awake after Conan O’Brien! My wife likes to call them creatures of the night.

After putting in my ten hours I sluggishly drove home to find myself ready for bed. But I had a problem. My son’s tap class was in a few hours and I needed to wake up in time to get him there. “Just set an alarm!” You might say, but that won’t work. I know when I’m tired I can sleep through anything. If our neighboring Mount Rainer ever blew it’s top while I’m sleeping I’d be in trouble.

Generally in the morning my alarm would go off and my wife would give me a swift hit with her elbow to my gut, waking me up and leaving me gasping for air. She was off teaching the children of the world so what can I do? My dog would not be smart enough to wake me up. So rather than having my dog channel Lassie I had an X10 moment.

I ran (probably more of a delirious speed walk) to my den to setup a macro and timer in Activehome Pro to flash my lights, and run my WinAmp player to blast Buckcherry at heart stopping volumes on my sweet sound system in my bedroom. It worked! After a few hours sleep I was able to get to my son’s tap class in time! While at tap class I had another moment. I realized that ten toddlers tapping would also wake me up. I’ll have to remember that next time I need an alarm.

Check these out if you want to do this yourself!

May 25, 2006

Josh's Lessons Learned...

It was a dark and stormy day… Actually I think it was pretty nice out,
actually. Sitting inside on a nice day is a bugger. Yet the powers that be
decided that today would be a better day than most. As I was slogging
through the ankle deep tech calls I encountered a very nice man from Canada.
He has an acute interest in setting up security for the oil fields in
Canada. We conversed for a little while and he left with a promise from me
to find a system that will work for his application.

Now, the critical part of his setup is that whatever we are going to be
doing on the system needs to be wired. This includes the necessary motion
activated recording. I was baffled as to how I was going to set up a system
with a wired motion sensor (so the techs don’t have to change batteries)
that would send a powerline command to the Active Home Pro to initiate
recording. Well, I was saved in a week or so when I discovered what to me
was a yet unknown goody from the vaults of X10. The Motion Monitor
floodlight can send out a powerline signal when it is tripped. Hooray!

I immediately started setting up a system to send my customer a quote of.
Luckily in the meantime we had received our new and long awaited Sentinel
camera system. The weather-resistant pan tilt and zoom camera was just what
the doctor had ordered for this oil fields. So, the lesson to be learned
from this… Where there’s a will there’s a way. Never undersell yourself. If
you look hard enough you can find something to do what you want...
especially with X10.

Bret Saves The Day

Recently I received a phone call from a group of police officers in Minnesota. They saw our system after doing a search on the Internet and called me to find out some information about our Protector Plus voice dialer security system. I was explaining to this group on a conference call the features of the system and how it could help them. They informed me that there was a real and imminent threat upon their daily lives. I wanted to ask why they decided to call me…after all they are the police right?

This particular group of law enforcement officers arrested a high profile felon who was due to be released soon. They were receiving threats from this individual. Again that’s crazy maybe you should call the police I thought. Then the light bulb went off. With our security system in place X10 was protecting them. They can lead their daily lives without having to worry about their family or property. If anything did happen our system would catch them in the act. Then they would call the police…or themselves. In a way I’m responsible for protecting this group of police officers in Minnesota thanks to our Protector Plus system. Does this make me a deputy?

Tammra's "Daily" Event

What has now become a typical "daily" event:

Me: "Thank You for calling X10 Sales, this is TAMMRA, how can I help you?"

Customer: "What was your name?"

Me: "Tammra"

Customer: "Camera?"

Me: "Tammra"

Customer: "Hi, Camera" "That's cute, Camera sells Cameras.I like that!"

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, and NO, I am NOT that chick on the website! LOL!

Yes, some days are better than others!

May 23, 2006

Meet Tammra

Wow, where do I start?

I have been contemplating what to say for a couple of days now. I have endless stories from my seemingly endless days in tech support. That having been said, I didn’t feel it necessary to dwell on those, since they are posted all over Look for X10 and Tammra. I’m all over the ratings site!

Now that I have become a member of the X10 sales force, I felt it necessary to elaborate on my new experiences. Funny, some of my best stories are of “my” loyal tech support customers that still feel it absolutely imperative to contact me in the event of a technical snafu, or the rare occasion they need to purchase new items. Admittedly, this warms my heart to no end! Returning X10 customers are the best! I am always amused to hear the excitement in their voice when I answer the phone and hear, “Tammra… I wondered if you still worked there!” or “Now that you are a ‘big shot’ sales rep, do you still have time to help an old friend?”

The answer of course being, “For you… anything!”


In The Lobby

Last week while training some of our new hires I heard from that we had a customer waiting in the lobby. Seeing how we're a call center people around me seemed to have no idea what to do. It was almost like they had no idea how to interact with someone face to face. A panic went through the call center. You would think we all lived here and never left. Having years of retail experience I knew I could talk to someone face to face so I decided to head downstairs to see what the hubbub was about.

As it turned out our visitor (Bob) flew in from not just to talk to us…he had some family matters to attend to and thought he would stop by X10 to get some issues taken care of. Somehow he made his way from across town to our well off the beaten path call center. Sadly he received some bad directions from a road sign and spent a few hours in traffic. I offered a treat from the snack tray at the front desk and an ear to listen to his concerns. After a few minutes I realized all he needed was our software sent to him. It was that simple. I took his information and sent him the software. He was tickled pink. I gave him solid directions to get back to his hotel and he was on his way.

It reminded me about the thrill of face to face interaction with customers. It's a totally different ballgame without the veil of secrecy of the phone. Being the trainer I decided to use this as part of training. Act as if your customer is right in front of you. You can't hide. It changes everything.

In the end Bob got his software and was happy he made the trek to X10. For everyone else looking to make the flight to our home in Kent I would save some gas and give us a call or send us an email. While you miss out on the candy at the front desk you’ll still get the one on one support you need without the travel expenses.