Grasshopper.com is our business phone/fax system. To be honest, I hate talking on the phone. I always have. I guess I'm much more visual than auditory. We figured we have to have a business phone number and fax number, so we went this this very cheap and convenient option. We're one of those households that don't have a land line anymore. We both have cell phone numbers from 2-3 moves back, so they aren't even from the same state. Grasshopper with all of the options we need is about $12 a month. Plus it does faxes — as a PDF attachment to the email, so we don't have to have a land line with a fax machine wasting paper and ink.
Grasshopper used to be GotVMail. This new name is cuter, and I like their new system. It's easier to make outbound calling card phone calls now. And for a limited time, I get free voice to text conversion. How cool is that? That just became available a few days ago, so now instead of having to listen to a message with a pen and paper, ready to write down pertinent information, I can just read it. We've had 2 messages transcribed by computer so far. One was perfect, barely a mistake. The other was less good, but I can tell what they were asking. I'm debating whether the $10 monthly extra charge is worth it or not when the free trial runs out.
I just dread having to listen to a voice message because I never know if it's a nice message or a complaint or a stupid question (err, I mean, there is no such thing as a stupid question) or a really good question I don't have an answer to. And I'm very sensitive to the accent and tone of the speech too. I have to take a mental timeout after listening to a message just to interpret the emotions in the message, especially if it's a complaint. The detached impersonal standardized text for reading is much easier for me to process. I wish I could email back to the phone calls so I wouldn't have to muster up the composure for speaking to customers.
I'm a doctor all day long, so I have to keep my composure and exude a certain air of confidence and compassion. While it is a service profession, and customer service does count, I'm the authority in the situation. The personality I assume as a doctor is very different from the subservient acquiescing customer service representative where the customer is always right. And as a CEO discussing deals with suppliers, business advisers (lawyers, accountants, etc), wholesale customers, and business relationship, I am again used to being in charge. When I have a few phone calls a day to return as the nice customer service rep, I have to change my personality so much. And by the end of the day, my patience runs out, I'm tired, and I'd rather eat dinner than call a grumpy person back while being as nice as I would like me to be. When I've called Land's End in the past about placing orders, sizes from previous orders, mistakes in orders, or anything along those lines, I've always been very impressed with the level of customer service. That's why I've been such a loyal customer for so long. They are always nice, alert, competent, and with excellent follow-through. I try to hold myself up to those standards, but I guess I just wasn't cut out for the sales/customer service field.
P.S. If you have comments or questions, please send us an email. Don't call, because I'll respond slower to that. And we're never immediately available by phone because we have day jobs that take all of our attention during the day.