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Enriching Customer Experience

By: Todd Foje

In the early days of telephony, a basic static-filled connection constituted what customers wanted. “Hello? Speak up, I can barely hear you!” Tolerance for what we would view today as poor service was pretty high back then. After all, this extraordinary instrument eliminated the need to travel to talk to someone who wasn’t close by.

Technology and service in the telecommunications industry advanced over the decades and another milestone occurred in the late 1960s. Communities began to adopt 911 emergency call systems that gave people a way to call for help.

Those early life-changing services paved the way for the expectations customers everywhere have for today’s telecommunications network and services: always-on communications. Whether it’s Internet service, local and long-distance telephone services, traditional and cloud-based voice and data products or other services, the inherent quality can have wide-ranging effects, whether it involves a business, the monitoring of a healthcare device or children getting homework done on time.

The way that telephony technologies have advanced and been absorbed into our daily lives is even more significant than it was 100 years ago. Today, the tolerance for problems with any communications services is low, as it should be. In short, customers today have high expectations of their communications providers.

Building the Enhanced Customer Experience

Customers want to be assured that the network driving their telecommunications services will be a strong point in their lives and businesses. Of course, there is a difference between standard Internet service and an enterprise-dedicated Ethernet connection. Yet even at the modest levels of basic Internet service, connections are important to customers and the expectation is that their service will always be on.

Today, an enhanced customer experience rests upon three pillars:

  1. Redundancy. Engineer the network so there is not a single point of failure. For example, overlapping the physical fiber as well as the optical side is recommended.
  2. Active monitoring. A network operations center with 24x7x365 monitoring and troubleshooting helps ensure any issues that crop up can be addressed.
  3. People and communication. From customer service through design, turn-up, testing, and maintenance, it is the people behind the network and their pro-active, constant communication that are crucial to optical network performance and an exceptional customer experience. An effective company fosters a culture where employees work alongside customers as trusted partners dedicated to helping them meet and exceed their current and future goals.

To ensure an enhanced customer experience, engineering personnel should work closely with information technology professionals to make sure a network design will meet their needs. For a financial services firm trading securities, transferring funds and other activities, an outage could be detrimental. In this scenario, a business will require the highest level of redundancy.  Obviously, there is an associated cost, but it’s important to communicate what is required to be sure the provider builds in the protection needed to meet the unique needs of each business customer.

Naturally, there will be times when necessary work is performed in the network or technology undergoes upgrades and short interruptions occur. These maintenance windows should typically be scheduled around midnight to 5 a.m., a time that probably will have the least impact. Customers are notified of these activities so they can plan accordingly for these maintenance windows.

Rural and Urban Communities Share the Same Expectations

Broadband connections are bringing opportunities throughout the country. The Midwest’s Silicon Prairie, mainly Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming, is home to a growing number of tech companies and startups.



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