Posts for Tag: office

Ooma Hub Installed! A story of redemptive Customer Service...

We were trying to figure out our office phone solution and wanted to get the most cost effective system. Traditional service from AT&T and VOIP providers like Vonage and Comcast seemed pretty cost prohibitive for business lines (about $35-$50 a month per line). I read about Ooma a while back and didn't really think much of them. At the time, it seemed like a case of too good to be true. Slowly, a few folks I knew started buying Ooma's and were getting great results. We figured it was a good solution to pay $200 or so once versus up to $600 every year for phone service.

We decided to dip our foot in the pool by getting a used Ooma Hub (versus a new Telo, the latest model). We found a great deal on eBay for under $200 and once the device arrived, we figured it was going to be a pretty easy setup. Alas, no. Since the Hub was previously owned, it was still registered to the previous owner and would not allow us to activate it. After a frustrating hour plus call with Ooma Customer Service, I still wasn't able to activate the phone and had to be escalated to Tier 2 for further assistance. I promptly wrote a harsh email to Ooma's PR department stating my disgust with their Customer Service.

What happened next is a classic story of how a company's image can be turned completely around after a horrible customer experience. Ooma's VP of Corporate Marketing responded very quickly and connected me directly to the head of the Customer Service group, Roy. I received a call from him the next day and he made no excuses to the poor service I had gotten and assured me he would personally handle my issue. Lo and behold, a couple of hours later I was able to activate my Ooma and Roy even followed up after he saw my activation to make sure everything was working properly. My opinion of Ooma as a company is probably higher now than it was before I bought the machine. We will probably setup all our employees with Ooma Telo's and will most likely get one for my home. With great people like Roy and Tami on the team coupled with a great product, I will have no reservations promoting their service to others.

Shots of the new office

So it took me a few days, but here are some shots of the new office. In the week or so that we've been here, the building was renamed from the original "The London Building" at 160 Franklin to now being known as "The Commons at Jack London Square" as to incorporate the three buildings on the block (160 Franklin, 140 Franklin, and 384 Embarcadero West). Here are some exterior shots of the new mural painted alongside the back of the three buildings:

As I said earlier, the inside is currently being renovated to reflect a more minimalistic industrial design. The great thing is the original brick is still maintained. Here are some hallway and stairwell shots.

Our suite is pretty simple. Couple of private offices and a large open area. We're not fans of private offices so we're using one as a conference room and another may house 2-3 folks. Our landlords at Equistone were nice enough to provide us with some desks, chairs, and a conference table. Still need to get some more desks for the open area and some whiteboards. Not entirely visible are the four large skylights that bathe the suite in natural light. For most of the day, we never turn on any of the fluorescents. That'll probably change as we enter the winter months but the spring/summer months should provide enough natural light for the entire day. An amazing suite in the building that was recently renovated has glass walls for each of the offices so the natural light flows from the ceiling and the office windows. Maybe if we expand, we'll ask for these TI's in our next space.

Part of the charm of the neighborhood is that we're in the heart of the Produce District. Below is a shot from our conference room of the warehouses just outside of the building. From midnight to about 10am, there is a bustling produce trade with goods being trucked in from all across California and the Port of Oakland. Small grocery store owners and restaurants come by to get their produce for the day. Taco trucks and other street food vendors set up shop during this busy time to support the workers in the area.

Finally, some pictures of our view outside of the conference room of Downtown Oakland and the Oakland Hills.

Centrro is moving again!

It seems like only yesterday that we moved but now we're at it again. After the BarNone acquisition, we were starting to get very cramped in our current shared office space. Thankfully, we were able to sign a lease in a great building just a few blocks away. The London Building is just across the street from the Barnes and Noble in Jack London Square, right in the heart of the produce district. It's been newly renovated and is LEED certified with the latest green features. Our top floor suite has a ton of natural light and beautiful exposed brick on one side. Our official move in date is Monday so I'll snap a few shots then and post here.

The good and the bad with shared office space

I've mentioned before that Centrro uses shared office space. It's great because it's month to month, relatively cheap, and allows us to make use of conference rooms, a reception desk, a kitchen, and free internet access. Well today, you can scratch one of those off the list. Internet access has been down all morning so I packed up and headed to Peet's. It's actually a great day outside so I don't mind.
The one other benefit of shared office space is that you get to meet some really interesting people outside your company. For instance, one of our cube mates is a lawyer for the adult entertainment industry. How cool is that? For that reason, I think places like JellyDesk are great. If we didn't have partner/board meetings, I'd be fine working in that environment.