As part of our ongoing series highlighting members of the Comtel and Simplicity VoIP team, we sat down with Jim Brooker this month. He has been affiliated with Comtel since it’s founding and actively working with Comtel Communications for the past 12 years. Jim is an important representative of our companies and for this blog post, we wanted to shine the spotlight on him and hear his perspectives about this ever-evolving industry first hand.
Q: How long have you been in telecom?
A: I have been in telecom for approximately 30 years.
Q: What has changed since you started out in telecom?
A: A lot. Initially, we had one provider to market and they only had rotary dialing… over the years, many players have come into the market and the technology has changed from pulse voice services to almost everything is connected to data.
Q: How long have you been working with Comtel?
A: Since its inception. My relationships initially started as an Agent Manager, and I later transitioned into an agent.
Q: Why did you decide to pursue sales?
A: I prefer to think that my focus is more on consulting and helping people versus making sales. I tend to look for opportunities to help people with a problem they are having - by default, I end up handling their business communciations’ services.
Q: Where was your first job?
A: My first job was in restaurant equipment sales and leasing. While the engagement only lasted 2 ½ to 3 months, it was painfully educational.
Q: What is your favorite part about sales?
A: My favorite part about sales is the satisfaction that I get from being able to help clients.
Q: What is your least favorite part about sales?
A: My least favorite part about sales is the frustration I experience with the bureaucracy of additional responsibilities that providers try to add to process orders – I feel that this takes away from the sales process.
Q: What do you think is the most important thing about customer service?
A: The most important thing about customer service is communication and “going the extra mile.” Regardless if it is good or bad news. If you are communicating with the customer on what’s going on, it minimizes a lot of misunderstandings. ‘Going the extra mile’ lets the customer know how important they are and builds trust and loyalty.
Q: How has being an alum of Randolph-Macon helped you in the business world?
A: It is a small, prestigious, local school that has been around for a long time. It is surprising how many people graduated from there and who work in the mid-Atlantic area. Those alums are well connected and keep in touch. They also are very supportive of fellow alums in business.
Q: Would you consider yourself an entrepreneur type?
A: Yes, very… I have owned numerous companies.
Q: Any recommendations for persons starting out in business?
A: My primary recommendation would be to make sure you have a business plan that has been tested - have several people try to poke holes in it before you start. This one element will save you a lot of wasted time and prepare you for things you may not have considered. Also, remember there’s a lot more to running a business than just having a clever idea on how to make some money.
Q: What is your favorite Comtel tradition?
A: My favorite company traditions would be the President’s Cruise Contest, as well as the annual Christmas party.
Simplicity VoIP, based in Richmond, VA, provides hosted PBX, VoIP and business telephone solutions nationally to small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses for a comprehensive unified communications experience. Two distinct Class 5 geo-redundant VoIP platforms are offered in addition to fax-to-email, phones and equipment, and managed services. As a compliment to its business communications solutions, Simplicity offers a host of additional cloud and security technologies.