Have you heard this sentence lately? “Please listen carefully, our menu has changed.”
I bet you have. It seems like every place you call, from a giant multinational company to a local small business, has a phone system that for some mysterious reason has to constantly be updated.
Why exactly does the menu have to change? What was wrong with the last time I called when I had to press 1 for sales and 2 for tech support?
If it seems like even making a simple phone call has gotten complicated these days, well, actually, the commercial phone business has never been simple. Back in 1980, here in Baton Rouge, Mark Toney started up a phone business, for other businesses. He called it Preferred Telephone Systems. He was supplying phones that, in those days, you couldn’t even buy. Believe it or not, you had to lease a telephone – even for your home – from the – count them - one phone company, Southwestern Bell.
We’ve moved on from those monopoly days to a very different world of business phones. Today we require a phone to do a lot more than just connect us to a receptionist. Echoing that demand for greater sophistication, Mark Toney’s Preferred Telephone Systems is now called Preferred Data Voice Network. The President of the company is Mark Toney’s daughter, Melissa Asevedo.
Your phone these days is more than just something you talk on. In fact, talking is probably what you do least on your phone. Most of the time we’re using our phone to access something online. Whether it’s social media, a news outlet, or making a restaurant reservation, we’re mostly using one of the many apps on our phone.
If you have a business and you want people to find you online, you need an app of your own. Or a website that works equally well on a phone, a tablet, and a computer. If you’ve thought about building your own app, or customizing your own website so it works seamlessly on every device, and you’ve actually pulled that off, you deserve a medal. Most of us are simply incapable of doing that.
And that’s why, here in Baton Rouge, we turn to app and web developers like Breach Software. Breach Software have built apps and web tools for LSU, state and local governments, and a bunch of small businesses.
The company is headquartered at LSU’s business center, Innovation Park, and they’re probably the only business in Baton Rouge to have gotten business advice from Family Feud host, Steve Harvey! The co-founder of Breach Software is Colin Hebert.
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There aren’t many things you can bet on and be guaranteed to be right. But I’d be willing to bet that if you don’t currently have a phone in your hand, you recently put it down, or you’ll soon be picking it up.
There’s no getting away from it, our phones have become an integral part of our everyday lives. And if you have a business, they’re an integral part of your business too. Melissa Asevedo and Colin Hebert's companies that fuel our business phones are equally integral parts of the local Baton Rouge business community.
This episode of Out to Lunch is hosted by Olivia Stewart, CEO of Oxbow Rum Distillery. The show was recorded live over lunch at Mansurs on the Boulevard. You can find photos from this show by Erik Otts at itsbatonrouge.la