Net Access Blog

Introducing FLEXPortal, Net Access’ New Online Customer Care Interface

Posted by Gene Rogers on Sep 28, 2015 9:19:40 PM

Over the past year we’ve worked collaboratively with customers and partners to develop a next-generation customer interface that better supports our "data driven data center" vision comprised of hybrid colocation, connectivity and managed services. After months of testing and tweaking, we are excited to announce the official launch of FLEXPortal.

FLEXPortal_PNGFLEXPortal provides you with complete visibility into all components of your Net Access account, from support tickets and invoices to service-specific usage summaries and analytics. This initial rollout offers all of the functionality of our legacy Customer Care portal, plus numerous enhancements, including the ability to upload documents, download lists as CSV/Excel files and manage and view your FLEXServer installations. It has a clean, intuitive, easy-to-use layout, and features a responsive design allowing it to be accessed via any device—smartphone, tablet or laptop—anywhere, at any time. Simply log in to https://my.nac.net with your existing customer care credentials to securely manage your account specifics, including:

  • Infrastructure - Access details and analytics pertaining to your specific services, including rack and server inventories, network assignments, alarm monitoring and power consumption.
  • Tickets - Manage your work order requests, open new tickets, and communicate with Net Access support professionals.
  • Orders- Access and track all current and past service orders.
  • Finance– Check account balances; view, download, and pay bills online, or update your contact information and/or payment method.
  • Logistics – Register and track data center visitors and shipments.

FLEXPortal was developed with our customers in mind. In the coming months we will phasing out our legacy Customer Care system, while continuing to add features and functionality to FLEXPortal, so please contact us at beta@nac.net with any questions, comments, concerns or suggestions.

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Topics: customer service, support

Support is More Than Just People Answering Phones…

Posted by Tom Duff on Jul 7, 2015 8:06:48 AM

It’s 2am. Your phone rings, jarring you out of that awesome Bob Dylan dream you keep having. In your half-asleep state, you manage to grunt out “I.T., Mr. Tambourine man speak…er…what’s up?”

The person on the other end of the line is not amused. It’s your boss. The storefront web server is down…again. To make things worse, it’s Black Friday, and your company is running a special online doorbuster promo for the new Whosywhatzit that all the kids want for Christmas. Your boss said that if the site isn’t back up in 15 minutes, you can start looking for a new job.

You hang up the phone, and jump on your computer. What you find is even worse: You’ve lost all connectivity to the rack at the data center. You can’t see the mail server, the firewall, or your storage server. You’re completely dead in the water. Fearing the worst, you pick up your phone and dial the data center’s Operations Center for some answers.

Remote Hands-" The technician who answers helps to calm your nerves by assuring you that the building hasn’t blown up, and starts working with you to try and figure out what’s going on. They go out to your rack, and report that everything looks visibly normal. Every device appears to have power, and network ports have link and are showing activity. Within minutes, they’ve narrowed down the issue to your rack’s core router, consoled it, found that one of your BGP sessions to another provider was down, and your route-map was incorrectly configured so traffic never failed over. 3 minutes later, the router, and the rest of your rack, are back online.
 

Triumphantly you call your boss, who instead of firing you, gives you a raise, and then pulls out a harmonica and invites you up on stage with him to perform ‘Blowin’ In the Wind’ in front of a sold-out crowd. About that time, you hear a faint ringing that jars you out of your sleep…

All joking aside, colocation and cloud solutions are a great way to add stability, redundancy, and peace-of-mind to your company's daily operations. The problem is, people sometimes forget about the most important aspect of their contracts: remote hands. When choosing a provider, you need to think about those 2am meltdowns, and how your provider will be able to handle them. If you choose a provider whose technicians are nothing more than “the reboot squad”, you’re gonna have a bad time.

On the other hand, putting your confidence in trained, knowledgeable support staff, who understand not only what your gear is, but how it’s supposed to work, will save you from those terrible times when you need to cut your Disney vacation short to fly back and swap out a RAID card.

RemoteHands2Since our company’s inception, Net Access support technicians have been known for rolling up their sleeves and diving in headfirst for you - all the way from setup, right on through to production - Whether it was finding the right modem string to get your dialup working at 56k back in the 1990’s, or installing VMware ESXi 6.0 after racking and stacking your new gear. 
 

Our operations staff hold industry-leading certifications from companies like Cisco, Juniper, Brocade, VMware, and Microsoft, and we’re constantly striving to learn more every day. In addition, 75% of our NOC staff have over 5 years of service with the company, with the average actually being closer to 8 years. We’re passionate about our job, and that’s what drives us to be the best support staff your money can buy.

 

Tom Duff Tom Duff has been with Net Access for 8+ years and currently serves as Team Leader in our Network Operations Center.

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Topics: customer service, support, Remote Hands

Customer for Life: Quantified

Posted by Raul Martynek on Oct 28, 2014 3:15:13 PM

Customer for Life: Quantified

 

I get excited about metrics. They tell a story. They provide the data required to set goals and improve performance. It is difficult to know how you are doing if you cannot measure it. To use a sports analogy, how can you improve as a runner if you don't use a stopwatch?

Since I arrived here in January I have been working with the team to build a set of metrics that capture our significant activities across all our departments - sales, service delivery, service assurance, facilities, security, engineering and finance. The focus is not on collecting useless data, but on determining how select metrics can provide real insight into our business and our performance as an organization. Said another way, how do we best measure and report those things that make a difference to our business and to our customers? The process is iterative, as reporting on a "live" company is by definition a moving target. We have made a lot of progress on this front and today I wanted to share some of our metrics on customer service that tell a bit about the NAC story.

Probably the most important metric we track is "churn". In our business, churn is the percentage of customers who cancel a monthly recurring service divided by the total amount of monthly revenue. I like to call churn the "temperature" of a company. High churn means the company is "sick" as it means a lot of customers are canceling service. Low churn is "healthy" as it means the company is not losing a lot of revenue and customers. It really is the true measure of company performance in our sector as it tells us if customers want to keep doing business with us. Below is a chart of our churn over the last five quarters at NAC. We have been averaging 0.7% per month. This is an amazingly low number. Most companies in the sector average from 1.0% to 1.5% monthly churn so NAC’s figures are 25%-50% better.  

 

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Why is our churn so low? A couple of other metrics tell the story. First, we respond to our customers extremely fast. As you can see by the chart below we respond to calls to our operations center within eight seconds on average. Eight seconds! We answer almost 95% of all calls within 30 seconds. Nobody likes to wait and we don't think our customers should.

 

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Once a customer opens a ticket either by phone, email or web (we actually take in more trouble tickets via email or web than by phone), our team resolves them quickly. Below is a chart on our "Mean-time-to-Repair" for customer trouble tickets. In laymen's term, how long does it take us to resolve a customer service issue from the time it is reported by a customer? For NAC, the average MTTR across all tickets was 3.53 hours in September. This is extremely good when you consider the broad range of issues that our service organization deals with, from remote hands requests to networking problems to infrastructure and application issues.

 

3-mttr

 

More impressively, when we look at the trouble tickets broken out by time bucket (0-4 hours, 4-8 hours, 8-12 hrs, etc.), the NAC team resolved an amazing 90% of trouble tickets in 4 hours or less. This is an absolutely impressive metric and one of the best I have seen in the business. 

 

4-Quarterly-Ticket-Close-Trend

 

At NAC our mantra is "taking care of the customer for life," which we do by providing a superior customer service experience. We really do take it seriously and metrics are one of the tools we use to deliver and improve on that pledge every day.

Raul

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Topics: customer service, operations, metrics