Buy 1 Get 1 Free IP Phone

Work Smarter this
Holiday with Ooma Office

Buy 1 Get 1 Free
T21 IP Phone


Ooma Blog

How I Lost Weight Using a Home Security System

By Thad White|Wednesday June 17, 2020

About two weeks into the COVID-19 lock down, I found myself slowly gaining weight. Being home all day was leading to more snacking. Being able to sleep later in the morning was leading to more late nights watching Netflix. The late nights led to more snacking. It started to feel like a vicious cycle. I gained 10 pounds in two weeks and I had to do something.

My wife has a wise saying, that after 8 pm “the kitchen is closed”. It was mostly for our kids. But I knew it was important advice for me too. If I don’t eat or drink anything after 8 pm, I sleep better and feel better the next day. But I still found myself cheating on this rule. How could I make myself follow this kitchen-closed rule?

Willpower is a funny thing. It certainly varies by person. But more important, it varies with temptation and cost. It’s easier not to snack if there are no snacks in the pantry. It’s easier not to have another glass of wine if there’s not an open bottle in the fridge. So could I just get rid of everything tasty? Short answer is – No. I tried, and my family revolted. “Dad, why can’t we have chips or crackers in the house?” Even worse, they all decided to take up baking as a favorite pastime during the lockdown. So every day there were new fresh baked cookies or bread on the counter. The temptations were inevitable.

So how could I increase the cost of overindulging? Could I put locks on the pantry and refrigerator? How would I keep myself from having the key?

Then I had an idea: I could shame myself. I could create a social cost for breaking my promise not to eat or drink after 8 pm. I figured out a way to use the Ooma Smart Home Security system to help me.

Ooma provides little wireless sensors that can detect when a door opens or closes. I put one of these sensors on the refrigerator door. And I put one on the pantry door, as seen in the pictures. Then, I used the Ooma Smart Security app to set up modes to control how the sensors behave.

At 8 pm each night, the Ooma system automatically switches to Night mode. If the doors open in Night mode, they set off an “alarm”. The alarm can be whatever you want. I chose not to sound the siren (although it could come to that). Instead, I play a voice announcement, “Refrigerator is open,” or “Pantry is open,” which can be heard through the entire house.

The system also sends a notification to the iPhones of everyone in my family. It can send a SMS text message or make a phone call too.

My kids are more than happy to “catch” me trying to cheat. Having them as a sponsor is key. I don’t want to be embarrassed in front of them. And I don’t want to wake them up. It’s kind of fun for everyone.

I’ve gone five nights now with no eating or drinking after 8 pm. And I’ve lost five pounds! I expect it to keep dropping.

Here are some tips on making this work:

1) Find a sponsor. If you live by yourself, pick a friend or neighbor or family member. All the other party has to do is agree to get notifications by installing the Ooma Smart Security app on their phone. It works on iPhones or Android phones and you can get it free in the iTunes App Store or Google Play. If they prefer text messages or phone call alerts, they don’t need even the app – just enter their cell phone number when setting up the alerts.

2) Install the sensors. For the refrigerator, I put the sensor on top, so it’s out of sight. The sensors come with adhesives that will stick to almost anything. For the pantry, I used screws to mount them to the inside of the door frame. In the app, you can name the sensors whatever you want. For example, if you have multiple doors to food and drinks, you could name the sensors “Cereal Cabinet” or “Liquor Cabinet.”

3) Use Voice notifications. I have set up announcements that play on the speaker of the Ooma base station in the kitchen. I also have the announcements play through an Ooma HD3 cordless phone in the master bedroom. Between these two speakers, the announcement can be heard throughout the house. You can set the volume too.

4) Set Mode Schedule. I set up the system to switch to Night mode every night at 8pm, and then back to Home mode every morning at 5am. Note that if you also have Geofencing mode switches, for burglary protection, these can work together. I have Geofencing set up to switch to Away mode when the last of the family’s phones leaves the house, and switch to Home mode when the first phone gets home.

5) Additional checks. A savvy user might realize that one way to cheat the system would be to change modes temporarily while you open the refrigerator. To prevent that, you can choose to alert your sponsor when the mode changes. That way, they’ll know if you try to circumvent the alerts. Another way to cheat would be to physically remove the sensors. If you’re worried about that, you can enable “tamper alerts” to ensure your sponsor will be notified if anything happens to the sensors.

The Ooma system is available online at retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy. Or you can buy it from Ooma security. The base station with two door sensors will cost about $150. There’s no monthly service fee for the features I described using in my house.

I hope this helps someone else.

Ooma Telo White image

Ooma Telo White

Free Home Phone Service
Ooma Telo Air image

Ooma Telo Air

Free Home Phone Service
Ooma Business Starter Pack

Ooma Phone Business Starter Pack

Comes with:
– 1 Ooma Office Base Station
– 2 Wireless extensions
*Compatible with existing analog phones

Loyal customers are critical to business success because they tend to be a source of repeat business. According to The Loyalty Report 2018, “Loyalty programs that establish positive emotional connections with Members see 27% more of their Membership increasing their spend with the Brand.” This research tells us that building customer loyalty can lead to more spending.

Loyalty programs vs. improving customer experience: Designing your approach

There are different approaches to building customer loyalty. Some companies use loyalty program cards, bonus offers and other incentives. You might offer access to special deals like CVS or take 5% off the purchase price like Target. You might even give some or part of your product away for free, like airlines that provide free flights through their loyalty programs. What if your small business isn’t interested or able to offer these kinds of loyalty programs?

There is another way to encourage loyal customers to keep giving you repeat business. Gather customer feedback through a phone survey and then use that data to improve the customer experience. When customers see that the business owner has acted on their feedback, they may feel inspired to return to that business. That means more revenue for the bottom line. You just need a fast and straightforward way to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. That’s where a focused business phone survey comes in.

Why increasing customer loyalty with a phone survey is a good choice.

Organizing a customer satisfaction survey by phone offers notable advantages compared to other methods. While a net promoter survey can give you interesting data, there is no conversational element involved. Further, using the net promoter survey approach effectively requires a certain degree of specialized training in the net promoter methodology.

You might also consider online customer surveys. Surveying your email list or website is worth attempting. Depending on the size of your email list or website traffic, you might be able to get a large number of survey responses. The challenge with online customer surveys is that you will have to spend a lot of time reviewing the data to find insights. There is no way to ask a customer to clarify their survey responses or provide an example.

Conducting a customer satisfaction survey by phone gives you the best of both worlds. You can ask questions and get survey responses. However, you also have the opportunity to provide the human touch. For instance, you may hear a customer complain about a lost or delayed order. When you hear about a problem during a phone survey, you can gather all the necessary details to make the situation right with the customer.

How to increase customer loyalty with a phone survey step by step.

The following steps give you a starting point to create a simple customer satisfaction survey. Over the course of a month, you could gather a significant amount of insights to improve your customer service by calling five to 10 customers per day.

  1. Define your customer satisfaction survey goals.

Before calling a single customer, reflect on your business goals. Are you seeking to improve your profit margins? In that case, you may want to focus your survey on the customers that spend the most on your business. Finding ways to make high-spending customers content may give you an excellent return. Alternatively, you may decide to focus your survey project on whether your local SEO has attracted customers. 

  1. Write your customer satisfaction survey questions.

Now that you have clarity on your goals, it is time to write your questions. According to Survey Monkey, a survey software company, it is best to focus your survey on closed-ended questions. An example of a closed-ended question would be: “How many times have you bought from our business in the past 12 months?” However, this kind of question may not give you the ideas you need to improve the customer experience.

At the end of the survey, consider asking one or two open-ended questions to understand better what your customers like. Encourage customers to think creatively with a question like this: “If you could change anything in our business, what would you improve?”

Tip: Reduce your need for note-taking by using call recording, but make sure that you ask for permission first.

  1. Test the survey with a small group of customers.

With your list of customer satisfaction questions, make a few test phone calls to customers. The purpose of the test is to discover if any of the questions are unclear. If you receive confusing answers, revise the question to make them clearer.

  1. Train employees on how to gather survey responses.

Consider running a few training phone calls for your employees. Ask them to call you or other employees in a role-playing scenario. Making a few practice calls will help your employees become more familiar with the questions. Besides, practice phone surveys will help employees learn how to record survey responses accurately. Once the training is complete, give your staff a list of customers to call and let them get started.

  1. Review the survey responses for insights and follow up with customers.

After all of the survey responses are in, schedule time to review the results. In particular, look for patterns in the results. If a large number of people gave low scores to your website, you may need to make improvements. Also, review the survey responses received in the open-ended questions. You might be pleasantly surprised at what customers tell you.

  1. Follow up with customers after the survey when needed.

A phone survey lets you gather rich insights because you can quickly ask follow-up questions. However, merely gathering survey responses may not impress your customers very much. Instead, offer to refer problems to the business owner for improvement or offer to enter the respondent in a drawing for a gift card. That is a much more compelling improvement! By addressing problems and issues when they arise, you stand a much better chance of winning additional loyal customers.