Dennis Jenkins on Panasonic VOIP Phone Systems and how they can help your business in today’s modern market place.
Dennis: Good morning! Dennis Jenkins, Dennis Jenkins Company. I made a few little notes. I’ve been in the telecommunications business, I don’t know, thirty plus years. What Sherri [SP] was alluding to was that there was a guy in high school that I met and we used to compete in electronics class, and basically after the test, we’d walk over and say, “Did you miss one?” And so that’s the bonding that we started with. Then he got a new car, a good job making plenty of money, so we started partying at Woodland Hills, and I became a designated driver at the ripe old age of, I don’t know, 17.
So getting started with all that, the reason I brought that into the game is because he went and played Navy and messed around and I played Army and messed around. After all that nonsense was done, we reconnected and he says, “You know, you really gotta look at this telecommunications stuff. The money’s great. Simple work compared to real electronics. It’s easy.” And I said, “Okay.” So fast forward a little bit, I went to work for him. Not bad. Pretty good. A year or two later, he and his multi-ego partners were gone. So I worked at this a little bit and finally I decided, “Okay, it’s time.” I opened my doors in 1983.
At that point, I was working mostly with MyTel. MyTel was big in hospitality, big in hospitality. And that was good. Oh, wait and then there was some poor pilots that flew into buildings. Yeah, well that didn’t do so well for the economy of hospitality. In the interim, however, I was looking at Panasonic saying, “Well, I need a smaller system, something in, say, the 6 to 20 phone kind of size for small businesses.” Because in hospitality you might have 40 rooms, 50 rooms, 140 rooms, 150 rooms, it didn’t matter. So I needed that offset it a little bit and that’s how I got involved with Panasonic. Panasonic then grew up and said, “Oh, you want 50 phones? You want 100 phones? 500 phones?” Doesn’t matter. They can pretty much handle anything. In the meantime, good old MyTel over here, he’s having a great time saying, “If you don’t sell this stuff, I’m going to take away your discount!” And I said, “Let’s see, let me do a little math here… Let’s see. I’m selling nothing, so I lose my discount. Oh, I don’t think it matters too much. You can take it. So yeah, see ya.”
Got a call the other day from somebody that called about an Inter-Tel product, which is now owned by MyTel because of some lawsuit stuff, and I just told him I don’t work with this stuff anymore. I’m sorry. I don’t want to mess with them anymore. I just want to stay right on the Panasonic trail. I do the certification there. I know the products well. I’ve got spares. Last Saturday on the 17th hole, I get a call from a guy, and he says, “This thing looks like it’s dead.” I said “Well, it’s plugged in, right?” and he said, “Yeah.” I said, “Okay.” Conveniently, I had a power supply in the car, so I said I’d be there in about an hour. So I finished up the 17th, that was pitiful. Eighteenth, that was worse. Got in the car, drove to Irvine…Santa Ana, I guess, [inaudible 00:03:31] in the 55. Bolted in, back on the air, good to go. That fast. Easy enough. Good to have spares. If you have spares, you’re a good service provider. If you’re not doing that, yeah, you’re just kinda selling the stuff and good luck to the customer on the back end. So that’s how I got involved in all of that stuff.
From that, we’ve evolved into the situation of using civ trucks, and we’re talking, now from…I had mentioned a few times that we’ve got clients on the West Coast, and you dial four digits and you’re talking to an extension on the East Coast. Or in the instance of Shawn, if he wants to call Kentucky, he dials three digits. Boom! He’s done. Santa Ana, they’ve got two stores in Lake Forest, and Vista, three digits, right there. In fact their lines, when they come in, they come in to Santa Ana. If it’s a 760 number, it rings in the Vista store first, and if they don’t pick it up, it rings at the other two so you got good coverage. Same for Lake Forest and 949, and 714 in Santa Ana. So now we have complete coverage, three stores, one system taking care of all of that. That way, they’re not missing their calls or somebody in one of those stores can answer the call. It’s pretty creative stuff.
I picked up a client over in…I don’t know. Somewhere over there. And they have five companies all under one PBX. So we’re pretty much not limited as to what we can do, who we can serve. I got a call one day and the guy says, “Can you put a system in my house? I’ve got a lot of phones. I’ve got about 17.” I said “Well, I’ve done 25 in a house. Will that work?” And he said, “Yeah.” Turns out the guy owns all of the Spearmint Rhinos. Now everyone here knows what that is, right? No? Disclaimer, disclaimer. Okay. So Don and I were riding one day and I said, “Yeah I picked up this client Fagel.” And Fagel is, as Don says, What? The best medical malpractice lawyer. Well it turns out he isn’t just an attorney, he’s a doctor. So who does he sue? Other doctors and hospitals? Why? Because he knows that business. Work where you can be strong.
So it doesn’t really matter too much about what kind of a phone problem you might have. You might have an interest in something like that. I can probably find a solution for you. Yesterday, I got a call from an attorney who said, “You know the Presenter phone? When we make a conference call with the people who take all the deposition stuff, sometimes it doesn’t work well.” “Oh, you’re using their conference bridge? Well, that’s probably where the problem is. You tried working around it?” “Yeah, it works great when we do that.” I said, “Well, you should do that more often.” So it’s really not that difficult to fix things. It’s not that difficult to create new kinds of support, ways to make things work better. Yes, we even connect offices with Scott and all of his favorite friends two blocks away. He’ll tell you that story later. So that’s a little overview in about four minutes, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. So let me open that up to questions really quick. Any questions about the kind of things that I do? Yes, Jean?
Jean: Yes, how is your company different that just calling AT&T, or [inaudible 00:07:15], or Verizon?
Dennis: Because I worked there for one. I hate AT&T for another one. I’m sorry, was that on film somewhere?
Jean: [inaudible 00:07:24] talking to trying to give you a lead or something. I guess I need an understanding of where do you…how do you wire up a system? Or is it all just…
Dennis: You just get a little wire and go do it. Okay, let me answer that question. When I’m talking to you, at the proposal side of the house, I’m putting something together and I’m talking to you. On the backside of that sale, I’m still talking to you. If you have AT&T come out, they’ll have some guy in a suit that learned these pages, and he’s got them really good. So he’s got his little flip chart. He knows exactly what answers to give and if he doesn’t have that, he’ll say, “Oh, yeah, let me check on that. I’ll get right back to you on that. What was your next question?”
So the point there that I’m trying to drive is not only in the beginning, end of sale, but beyond the sale. I was at a place yesterday, and I’ve been there for about three or four days. Unfortunately, I’ve got an IT kid over there that keeps screwing things up. Yesterday I found an IP conflict against my router. That doesn’t maybe mean anything to you. The problem is it wasn’t that the phone equipment was broken. It was the environment that it was working in. I’ve been with that guy for 25 years, and they’ve got some new general manager. He doesn’t know me, but he’s getting to know me because I’m in his face saying, “I’m going to find the problem here. I’m going to put you up and running and stable. I don’t much care what I have to do to do it.” If I have to lean on somebody a little bit, I’ll just lean on him and say, “You’re kind of messing with me there, dude.” That’s the deal. So, does that give you a little focus?
Jean: I still don’t understand. Do you use the wiring out? Does your company…
Dennis: Oh, you want to know about wiring.
Jean: Not just the wiring, do you use their fiber optics or do you have your own? I guess I’m just not understanding.
Man: What’s a good tip for you, Dennis?
Jean: Yes, that’s [inaudible 00:09:24].
Dennis: Okay, if there’s this ringing sound and it sounds like a phone? Start there! You’d be surprised how many people…I put a new phone on the desk and the customer says, “I have a new phone! What do I do?” It starts ringing, and I said, “Well, you might want to answer it.” So keeping it simple. You asked me about wiring. Yeah, you can talk about fiber optics. We don’t use fiber optic on the phones themselves. They will use copper. They will either use…I’m going to use the word CAT, CAT1, CAT3, CAT5, CAT6. They won’t mean anything to you, but it’s just a rating on a cable as to whether or not it passes high speed data or not. If it’s a network phone, it will need a network cable. Depending on what you have will determine whether or not the cable you have will work for you. Or I can use a digital set, which doesn’t need network cable and still use the technical side in the box here and beyond, all the way to Kentucky or wherever. But it fits into your wire. I’m just going to use the word “wire” because if I use the word “infrastructure”, Scott’s going to look at me from the corner of his eye and say, “Smartass.”
Jean: Ok, so then do you use…when you’re doing the setups, are you using either the Verizon, Sprint, whatever-they-have connection to the building and then from the building, within that building, it’s you and outside of that building it’s them? Can you use their lines for your service? Does your stuff go over their lines?
Dennis: I almost never use Sprint. That’s usually a wireless solution. But the answer to your question is that it depends on what I’m trying to accomplish and what the best provider is to do that job. Sometimes I’m using AT&T because I bring in a 10 meg pipe. And if it’s a 10 meg pipe, yeah, I’m smoking, man. [inaudible 00:11:34] Anyway, for some reason I get this impression that my time might be up. So with that, thank you very much for your time.