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Rural

Smaller Carriers Serving Rural Communities Need Customer Service to Stand Out

Benjamin Kahn

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Photo of CEO Ben Foster from ISG Technology

February 25, 2021—Customer service strategies are being used to separate smaller carriers from bigger ones during the pandemic, according to company executives speaking at the third general session Thursday at the conference of NTCA, the Rural Broadband Association.

In the session, industry members discussed their priorities and strategies during the pandemic and what they would be going forward.

Ben Foster, president and CEO of ISG Technology and Twin Valley Telephone, said that in his role with the companies he leads, he is always thinking about what elements of the business need to be prioritized.

That can revenue generation, customer experience, or cost cutting, depending on the day. He said that while revenue generation is an important focus, that is not mutually exclusive from providing a good customer experience.

Indeed, Foster stated that an emphasis on providing stellar customer service is a selling point for his customers, and larger ISPs cannot match what his companies provide in that regard.

Co-panelist Ross Petrick, CEO of Alliance Communications, said that while all the elements listed were important, customer experience was his priority. He said that now that there is a competitor encroaching in his company’s coverage area, the way he plans to distinguish Alliance Communications’ services is to ensure that they provide the best customer experience possible.

Foster pointed out that while larger broadband providers “cherry-pick” density, his company will serve the rural “five customers per mile” areas.

Jason Miller, general manager for Delhi Telephone Company, said a key component to this business model is ensuring that his consumers feel as though his business is a part of the community. He mentioned that Delhi Telephone Company partnered with local fire departments and hosted lunches and raffles.

Miller said that Delhi Telephone ended up raising more than $10,000 for these firehouses.

“Now we’re being recruited to go to their fire departments and hold an open house,” Miller said. “That’s the kind of positive buzz I’m talking about.”

Miller also said his company engages with local businesses, who are clients and keeps up with the community through Facebook.

As a child of American parents working abroad, Reporter Ben Kahn was raised as a third culture kid, growing up in five different countries, including the U.S.. He is a recent graduate of the University of Baltimore, where he majored in Policy, Politics, and International Affairs. He enjoys learning about foreign languages and cultures and can now speak poorly in more than one language.

Expert Opinion

Carri Bennet: Biden’s Broadband Plan is Key to Spurring Rural Economic Development, Jobs and Manufacturing

The American Jobs Plan, President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, includes $100 billion to ensure broadband availability to every single American at affordable rates. This means building more broadband in rural areas.

Broadband Breakfast Staff

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Carri Bennet of the law firm of Womble Bond Dickinson

February 25, 2021—Customer service strategies are being used to separate smaller carriers from bigger ones during the pandemic, according to company executives speaking at the third general session Thursday at the conference of NTCA, the Rural Broadband Association.

In the session, industry members discussed their priorities and strategies during the pandemic and what they would be going forward.

Ben Foster, president and CEO of ISG Technology and Twin Valley Telephone, said that in his role with the companies he leads, he is always thinking about what elements of the business need to be prioritized.

That can revenue generation, customer experience, or cost cutting, depending on the day. He said that while revenue generation is an important focus, that is not mutually exclusive from providing a good customer experience.

Indeed, Foster stated that an emphasis on providing stellar customer service is a selling point for his customers, and larger ISPs cannot match what his companies provide in that regard.

Co-panelist Ross Petrick, CEO of Alliance Communications, said that while all the elements listed were important, customer experience was his priority. He said that now that there is a competitor encroaching in his company’s coverage area, the way he plans to distinguish Alliance Communications’ services is to ensure that they provide the best customer experience possible.

Foster pointed out that while larger broadband providers “cherry-pick” density, his company will serve the rural “five customers per mile” areas.

Jason Miller, general manager for Delhi Telephone Company, said a key component to this business model is ensuring that his consumers feel as though his business is a part of the community. He mentioned that Delhi Telephone Company partnered with local fire departments and hosted lunches and raffles.

Miller said that Delhi Telephone ended up raising more than $10,000 for these firehouses.

“Now we’re being recruited to go to their fire departments and hold an open house,” Miller said. “That’s the kind of positive buzz I’m talking about.”

Miller also said his company engages with local businesses, who are clients and keeps up with the community through Facebook.

Continue Reading

Rural

Accurate Maps Required To Estimate Cost Of Connecting Rural America, Experts Say

Experts say it’s difficult to get an understanding of cost for connecting rural regions without quality maps.

Benjamin Kahn

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Screenshot of David Scott from the House agriculture meeting

February 25, 2021—Customer service strategies are being used to separate smaller carriers from bigger ones during the pandemic, according to company executives speaking at the third general session Thursday at the conference of NTCA, the Rural Broadband Association.

In the session, industry members discussed their priorities and strategies during the pandemic and what they would be going forward.

Ben Foster, president and CEO of ISG Technology and Twin Valley Telephone, said that in his role with the companies he leads, he is always thinking about what elements of the business need to be prioritized.

That can revenue generation, customer experience, or cost cutting, depending on the day. He said that while revenue generation is an important focus, that is not mutually exclusive from providing a good customer experience.

Indeed, Foster stated that an emphasis on providing stellar customer service is a selling point for his customers, and larger ISPs cannot match what his companies provide in that regard.

Co-panelist Ross Petrick, CEO of Alliance Communications, said that while all the elements listed were important, customer experience was his priority. He said that now that there is a competitor encroaching in his company’s coverage area, the way he plans to distinguish Alliance Communications’ services is to ensure that they provide the best customer experience possible.

Foster pointed out that while larger broadband providers “cherry-pick” density, his company will serve the rural “five customers per mile” areas.

Jason Miller, general manager for Delhi Telephone Company, said a key component to this business model is ensuring that his consumers feel as though his business is a part of the community. He mentioned that Delhi Telephone Company partnered with local fire departments and hosted lunches and raffles.

Miller said that Delhi Telephone ended up raising more than $10,000 for these firehouses.

“Now we’re being recruited to go to their fire departments and hold an open house,” Miller said. “That’s the kind of positive buzz I’m talking about.”

Miller also said his company engages with local businesses, who are clients and keeps up with the community through Facebook.

Continue Reading

Universal Service

Experts Concerned About Connectivity After Emergency Broadband Benefit Fund Runs Dry

Derek Shumway

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Screenshot taken from CCA event

February 25, 2021—Customer service strategies are being used to separate smaller carriers from bigger ones during the pandemic, according to company executives speaking at the third general session Thursday at the conference of NTCA, the Rural Broadband Association.

In the session, industry members discussed their priorities and strategies during the pandemic and what they would be going forward.

Ben Foster, president and CEO of ISG Technology and Twin Valley Telephone, said that in his role with the companies he leads, he is always thinking about what elements of the business need to be prioritized.

That can revenue generation, customer experience, or cost cutting, depending on the day. He said that while revenue generation is an important focus, that is not mutually exclusive from providing a good customer experience.

Indeed, Foster stated that an emphasis on providing stellar customer service is a selling point for his customers, and larger ISPs cannot match what his companies provide in that regard.

Co-panelist Ross Petrick, CEO of Alliance Communications, said that while all the elements listed were important, customer experience was his priority. He said that now that there is a competitor encroaching in his company’s coverage area, the way he plans to distinguish Alliance Communications’ services is to ensure that they provide the best customer experience possible.

Foster pointed out that while larger broadband providers “cherry-pick” density, his company will serve the rural “five customers per mile” areas.

Jason Miller, general manager for Delhi Telephone Company, said a key component to this business model is ensuring that his consumers feel as though his business is a part of the community. He mentioned that Delhi Telephone Company partnered with local fire departments and hosted lunches and raffles.

Miller said that Delhi Telephone ended up raising more than $10,000 for these firehouses.

“Now we’re being recruited to go to their fire departments and hold an open house,” Miller said. “That’s the kind of positive buzz I’m talking about.”

Miller also said his company engages with local businesses, who are clients and keeps up with the community through Facebook.

Continue Reading

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