XO Shares Platinum Pilot Progress Report

XO Communications Inc. is reporting improvements in its service levels to partners participating in its pilot Platinum Partner Program (P3), which began in March to provide upgraded support to 11 of the CLECs top indirect sales partners. Even so, the carriers new channel chief Shane McNamara told Channel Partners theres still work to do.”

McNamara was named XOs vice president of indirect sales last month, and he has assumed oversight of the P3 pilot from his predecessor, Brian Law, who launched the program to offer dedicated care/repair and order/installation support for end-user customers of P3 agents. Previously, only midmarket accounts qualified for dedicated care teams, but under P3. even a $600-per-month account can receive dedicated care if its a customer of a P3 partner.

We are measuring and monitoring this on a monthly basis and weve been hitting or exceeding the targets we put out there,” said McNamara in an interview with Channel Partners.

For example, XO said it beat its goal of two hours for Open to Status (OTS) the time interval between customer care opening a ticket and a technician calling the customer. By June the carrier had cut response times in half, logging 1.6 hours for down hard” tickets, compared to 4.0 in March. OTS response for service affecting” tickets also improved from 4.5 hours in March to 1.9 in June.

XOs Average Speed of Answer (ASA) metric also improved dramatically, and is nearing the target of 1 minute. In June, customer care calls were answered on average in 1 minute, 25 seconds. Thats down from 5 minutes, 5 seconds, when the tracking began in March.

The CLEC is also measuring Mean Time to Repair, Failure After Install, Scheduled vs. Cut Due Dates and more though the improvements are less dramatic.

In addition, XO is gathering feedback from P3 participants. The carrier conducted a baseline survey of P3 partners to determine the CLECs performance in a range of areas. Then, on a bimonthly basis, the CLEC is polling its agents and their subagents. XO also meets with the P3 partners on a bimonthly basis.

McNamara said that based on the early response from the agents, the effort is a work in progress.

The response from the community has been lukewarm at best. I am not going to sugarcoat it. There is still a lot of work to do,” McNamara said. In general, he added, the agents are noticing improvements in customer care but not service delivery.

Nevertheless, McNamara said he is aligned with XOs care and service delivery executives to continue to push for progress. The only way we are going to continue to improve and go above and beyond is to get partners to let us know where we are falling short,” he said.

One of the benefits of the program, he added, is that now XO is measuring and addressing performance metrics in ways it had not in the past.

McNamara hopes to conclude the pilot and open up the program to additional XO partners by the end of year. However, participants would have to meet criteria that have yet to be determined, but likely will include among other requirements  revenue thresholds and dedication to the XO program.

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