The Evolving Role of Telecom Customer Service
When it comes to your business fiber network solutions, fewer choices are becoming a reality.
Imagine turning the corner to a grocery store cereal aisle, anticipating a deluge of tasty-sounding breakfast treats. But instead of a colorful wall of “frosted this” and “fruity that,” you are greeted by a bland box of bran flakes. Likewise, in the laundry detergent aisle, not a single scented or starch-added soap can be found, just a few choices of dry detergents sans wrinkle-guard technology. What’s sadder than finding out your favorite indulgent cereal or smelly soap isn’t available is the feeling that you’ve been left with no choice in the matter. Of course, in reality, your wide array of cereal choices isn’t likely to disappear anytime soon (long live sugar for breakfast!), but when it comes to your business fiber network solutions, fewer choices are becoming a reality. In recent years, large business internet providers have begun to edge out the competition by gobbling up their smaller competitors (hear UPN SVP of Sales Travis Noble talk more about that here). Particularly in rural locations where choices were slim to begin with, it’s a scary prospect, considering competition often breeds quality. One of the first values to go out the window along with the competition is customer service. Why value responsiveness or pour money into quality engineering and infrastructure when customers can’t defect to another company? Let’s face it: traditional telecom customer service is notoriously less-than-ideal to begin with, and it only loses more luster when there’s little competition to keep it in check. And given the mission-critical nature of business communication solutions, the importance of customer experience markers such as responsiveness and speed cannot be understated.
Hitting a Turning Point
But 2021 is turning out to be a turning point for this trend. The pervasiveness of our new work-from-home ways is requiring more connectivity and pushing more critical applications to the cloud, and in turn, fiber internet providers’ services are in high demand. According to recent reporting, more than 54 million U.S. homes have been passed with fiber as of 2020, and that number could increase by up to 60 million passings in the next decade. Notably, that’s thanks to the work of small, medium and large-sized fiber providers, which means the big guys won’t be the only players in town for long. Enter fiber providers like us here at UPN. We happen to know what it’s like to be the new kid on the block, and we can say from experience that more than once, we’ve entered a market where less competition has given way to a poorer customer experience. We find that we’re able to fill a niche for businesses in need of a reliable private fiber network from a company that can also deliver exceptional customer experience. Too many providers are slacking on the customer-first attitude, but our 98% customer retention stat is UPN’s single most prized metric – not our revenue, EBIDTA, route miles, or growth rate. (Though we’re proud of those too!)
A UPN Core Value: Transparency
The secret to good telecom customer experience lies in a very simple concept. When it comes to customer service, some folks tend to be opaque: hidden behind an impenetrable wall of darkness, or in this case, secrecy and fine print. At UPN, we pride ourselves on transparency. Consider us a see-through glass sliding door. You’re welcome to peek in, or even open the door and come inside to poke around. To us, transparency means openness and honesty. We don’t hit you with hidden fees or answer your questions with more questions. Wondering what type of fiber we install or which equipment we use in our network? Just ask us! In fact, we have a team of customer success professionals who really love talking about that kind of thing. It seems simple, but sticking to that transparency is one of the values we credit with delivering that 98% customer retention rate.
The UPN Way
As UPN Director of Solution Engineering Justin Brinker recently put it, “People often think of internet connectivity as a commodity – they think all internet service providers are basically the same, just with different branding. This is a huge misconception, as key differences lie in the network and customer service.” So what does that really mean at UPN? We call it “The UPN Way.” It starts with a fiber network that is completely owned and operated by UPN, versus a piecemeal network that’s been cobbled together through acquisitions. That’s what happens in the scenario described at the beginning of this blog, when larger companies buy and inherit an amalgam of different infrastructure pieces – some fiber here, copper there, intermediary equipment sprinkled across the footprint, and multiple vendors. In that type of set-up, there is less oversight from the company who has acquired the pieces because they need to rely on the vendors who know the equipment to look into service issues. Because UPN’s network is 100% fiber end to end, it eliminates the hiccups encountered in the scenario above. Our engineers know the network design and can easily trace any issues back to the source since it’s one cohesive system. It also leads to no peak-time failure that users may experience on other networks. We seek to deliver the bandwidth our customers purchased because we know business data is mission-critical. Redundancy, security, and multi-home Tier 1 ISPs are all part of the UPN Internet backbone to ensure fault-proof resiliency. And all of this is delivered with a smile and dedicated support due to the importance we place on customer service. Let’s take a stroll back to the cereal aisle. Now in addition to that box of bran flakes, a new box has appeared that’s 100% made of quality ingredients, free from artificial sweeteners, sodium nitrate, and high fructose corn syrup. The new box proudly wears a banner advertising a 24/7 customer service line printed on the back with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Reach for that one – that’s the equivalent of choosing UPN.
Learn more about The UPN Way here.