Should companies have phones?

I’m reading an interview with Paul English, Co-Founder of Kayak.

He has some innovative ideas for running a company. Here are a couple:

The Red Phone: Paul found the most obnoxious, loud-ringing red phone he could find and plugged it in right in the engineering office.  About 30% of the time, when a Kayak web visitor saw a support phone number on the website, it was the number of that phone. The idea was to build a culture that was centered around the customer.

If you visit and hit the feedback button, you will get a response via email.  Kayak responds, individually, to every email.  That’s impressive.  What is crazy-impressive is that the email response comes from either Paul or someone on the engineering team.  He gets flack for using a $150k/engineer to answer support emails when the rest of the world is outsourcing it for $8/hour or something.  Why does he do this?  Because, when engineers respond to support issues, when the same issues arise time and time again, they are more likely to stop what they are doing and go fix the problem so that they don’t have to answer that same question again.  And, because it sends a message to the entire team that they take these issues very seriously.

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