“All is flux, nothing stays still”
For quite some time, Western Broadband has offered in-house evening and weekend technical support. The way that worked was we had an experienced team member (Craig) who was able to answer phones 7 days a week, during every weekday evening and on weekends during the day, with relatively few breaks for holidays, vacations, or family events. He is now in a position where he is able to step down from this job and spend more time with his family. We’ll miss him, but we understand this is a good thing for him.
Of course, this leads, inevitably, to the question of how we will be handling technical support on the weekends and evenings. Hiring a new person or people to take over from Craig was considered, but it is simply not feasible. The costs of hiring and training, not to mention the time period during which any new employee would take to get a handle on everything, makes that option either very expensive (and those costs would have to be passed on to our subscribers), very inefficient, or both.
We decided our best option was to contract out our extended hours technical support needs to a new, US-based, remote office team. They have staff who already handle this sort of thing for other Internet Service Providers across the nation, and they are well experienced in solving the same sort of problems we already solve on a day-to-day basis. We believe this is the best way to ensure our subscribers’ needs are met without having to raise our rates.
How will this affect you?
- For now, our support line hours will remain unchanged. The new service will operate M-F, 6pm to 10pm, 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays, and noon to 5 pm on Sundays, just like Craig did. We are still not certain on how each holiday will affect the support schedule, but we can notify our subscribers of those relevant details here, in this blog.
- Our network monitoring will not be affected. The same staff who currently monitor all the major aspects of our network, and are automatically notified when there are any problems, will continue to do this. Repairs to equipment in our datacenter or at the towers will still be handled the way they always have been, and with the same emphasis on minimizing our subscribers’ down-time.
- We will have daily, in-house, Tier 2 escalation management. In other words, if you call in on Friday night with a problem that is outside of the scope of the evening team, you will be contacted the next day by one of our in-house personnel for additional troubleshooting, and at that time, if we need to schedule a service call, we can do that.
- IMPORTANT: This new line is intended to be used only for technical support calls. Their staff will not be able to provide in-depth information to potential customers, so we will not be passing sales calls onto them. By the same token, they cannot answer questions about billing, or resolve billing disputes, and they will not be able to take payments or handle other, non-technical, customer support issues. Our payment portal will still be operational 24 x 7 to make payments, and telephone payments can still be made during normal operating hours, 8 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday. Questions about your bill can be asked during normal operating hours, or emailed to email@example.com at any time.
- IMPORTANT: Because this new support system charges per call, and we need to keep those costs down for everybody, we must charge a fee of $10 to subscribers who use this new line to call about things it is not meant to or able to handle: things like customer service issues, scheduling issues, billing questions or making payments – as mentioned above, they cannot help with billing questions, they can’t take payments, they can’t resolve customer service disputes, and they aren’t able to rearrange scheduled appointments, but we would still be charged for those calls. We have an outgoing message which will remind callers of this policy, and this system requires a button push before it transfers over to them, so we don’t expect to have too many people accidentally incurring this fee.
- If you are uncertain about which department you need to speak with, you can always email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us during normal operating hours.
- As a general rule, you should NOT call the technical support line after normal hours for these topics:
- To make a payment or discuss anything to do with payments.
- To make or update a payment arrangement.
- To ask a question or discuss a dispute about a bill you’ve received from us.
- To change the credit card information we have on file for you.
- To change the bandwidth plan you are subscribed to.
- To schedule an appointment for equipment to be installed or moved at your site.
- To ask about an upcoming appointment which has already been scheduled.
- To re-schedule or cancel an appointment.
- To cancel service.
- To address a (non technical) customer service-related issue.
- You should call the technical support line after normal hours if you:
- Are unable to connect to the Internet.
- Are connecting to the Internet, but not getting the level of performance you should be (after you’ve eliminated other devices using bandwidth).
- Are experiencing intermittent connection issues.
- Have a specific, technical problem with our connection I did not list.
Of course, this is a transition for us as much as it is a transition for you, and we do appreciate your patience as we work through this. We would also appreciate feedback from you – how clear our messages are, how effective the technical support team is, and anything else you might think is important – of course, that feedback should either be sent via email to email@example.com or you can call us during those normal operating hours, 8 am to 6 pm, Monday through Friday.