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Smaller Carriers Serving Rural Communities Need Customer Service to Stand Out

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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.

Rural

Groups Heap Praise on FCC for Corrective Action on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

The agency is scrutinizing the winning bids for the $9.2-billion fund, and asking companies to consider withdrawing.

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Former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, foreground right, and current Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, background.

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.

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Rural

Two New Broadband Bills, Including One Aimed at Rural America, Introduced in Congress

The bipartisan Hassan-Capito bill would provide state and local governments with new financing options for broadband projects.

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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

In San Juan, Utah, a Snapshot of a School District’s Struggle to Bring Broadband Home

The fight for broadband infrastructure in one Utah community. Is private enterprise the end goal?

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Chris Monson with Wesley Hunt on Abajo Peak tower. Photo courtesy of Monson.

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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