Frontier lays FiOS transition troubles at door of Philippines call center

Frontier Communications
Image: Frontier

As it begins to recover from technical and customer-service-related snafus that plagued its takeover of FiOS customers from Verizon, Frontier Communications has placed at least some of the blame on the doorstep of a call center in the Philippines. 

Speaking to the Tampa Bay Times, Frontier spokesman Bob Elek said the inability of the call center to connect customers to the telecom client’s service reps served to amplify customer frustration.

“Largely, that was due to an offshore call center in the Philippines, which we have acknowledged was not the right decision,” Elek said. “That offshore center caused a great deal of trouble. About a month or so ago, we on-shored all of that service. Frontier's goal was to have a 100 percent U.S. workforce, and that's exactly what we have now."

Frontier said that by July, it had reduced trouble reports from 6.55 incidents per 100 lines in May to 5.78. It was able to fulfill 97.3 percent of its repair commitments in July compared to around 60 percent in May, as well. 

While the ineptitude of an overseas call-center operation exacerbated the messy transition following Verizon’s $10.5 billion divesture of FiOS assets to Frontier, the roots of the trouble lay in hardware and software, Elek conceded. The divesture took place in regions including California and Florida.

“In the case of a number of small businesses shortly after the transition, there was a message sent to their routers as if they were dynamic routers (a different type that they actually had), which was a mistake,” he said. “That would take them right out of service. It just took us awhile to uncover that error that had been made. Once we fixed that, all those businesses came back in service at pretty much the same time.”

Elek said part of the transition problem also stemmed from customers incorrectly tying their issues to the switchover.

“I don't care if you're Bright House, if you're us, if you're AT&T, there are always issues going on in the network every day,” he said. "Customers have issues and sometimes they're minor, a lot of times they don't even know they have one, because they're not home, they're not using things, and problems are fixed in the network. Other times you've got a problem with a router, and suddenly we've got a big internet slowdown, maybe somebody put a wrong piece of software in there, you've got a cable that's cut, people are out.”

As a result of the issues it had with integrating the Verizon properties into its fold, Frontier said that its second quarter broadband and video unit results were affected by its decision to suspend marketing in order to focus its efforts on customer support. However, in the new markets where the telco entered as a result of the Verizon transaction, the telco reported a 14 percent rise in FiOS disconnects and a 5 percent increase in non-FiOS broadband disconnects.

For more:
- read this Tampa Bay Times story

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