Recently I chatted with Charles Austin, executive vice president of network engineering at Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative (FTC), the largest member-owned telecommunications cooperative in Alabama, serving more than 17,000 members. Founded in 1952, FTC is committed to delivering the most advanced telecommunications technologies and services available, promoting economic growth, and enhancing the quality of life for rural communities in Alabama. We talked about the specific ways FTC has embraced a more proactive customer-support approach to get end-to-end visibility into member experience and reaped real benefits—including cutting total inbound calls by 35 percent and reducing unnecessary truck rolls by 20 percent.
How are you getting end-to-end visibility into the network so you can accelerate troubleshooting?
It starts with how we align people, processes, and technology to deliver the ultimate member experience. About three years ago, we re-imagined our customer support organization to empower our customer support representatives (CSRs) and reduce our dependency on expensive third-party support resources. Working with the Calix Customer Success team, we’ve examined our processes and workflows to optimize our support organization. I cannot overstate the impact of Calix technology in helping us deliver an outstanding experience to our members. With Calix Cloud, our technical support team can see the network in members’ homes and use the tools and resources to become proactive in our support organization. This alignment comes together to position us to be more proactive—and that’s a great thing for our members.
How are Calix GigaSpire BLAST systems contributing to your ability to deliver proactive customer support?
We’ve standardized on the GigaSpire® BLAST family, providing whole-home Wi-Fi with speeds up to 1 Gigabit today. We’ve seen a measurable improvement in member experience since moving to the GigaSpire BLAST systems. Previously about five percent of our legacy CPEs were driving truck rolls every month compared to less than half of a percent now. That’s a whopping ninety percent drop in truck rolls required for CPE servicing since we invested in the BLAST systems.
We’re in the process of deploying 10G PON technology and, with that, we’re rolling out the GigaSpire BLAST u6x. It provides the technology flexibility that allows us to cost-effectively future-proof our members’ networks, enabling them to move all the way up to 10G speeds over time. It also allows us to consolidate two pieces of equipment into one and bring fiber all the way inside the premises, which we believe will positively impact the number of truck rolls required for ONT issues, for instance.
What benefits are you getting from leveraging Calix Support Cloud?
We rely heavily on Support Cloud to give us end-to-end visibility into our members’ networks to help us streamline and accelerate troubleshooting. We’ve been able to reduce total talk time by 55 percent, and that’s on top of cutting our total inbound calls by 35 percent and reducing our total truck roll rate by 20 percent.
With every release, Calix gives us new capabilities to improve our members’ experience. With the recent addition of the topology view, we can easily see all the devices in a member’s home, along with their physical location, which can pre-empt or address issues such as signal strength. And the new subscriber quality of experience score will be very valuable, giving us an at-a-glance view of individual subscriber satisfaction and the factors that may be affecting their experience, such as WAN health, client efficiency, and whole-home efficiency. We can’t wait to put that into practice.
Learn more about the new subscriber quality of experience score and how Support Cloud can help your support organization become more proactive.