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Setting Customer Expectations for Circuit Installation

By Katie Williams

The question every customer asks before or as a condition of signing a telecom service contract is, When will I have my new service?” And this is when you begin to squirm. Why do you squirm at this question? It’s because there are 500 things that could slow or stop an order during the implementation process. And, with Murphys Law kicking in, orders for the customers that are in the greatest rush to install will stumble on all 500. 

For the past few years, install time frames for most types of orders have remained fairly consistent throughout the industry. It’s still tricky to quote time frames because you dont want to have your feet held to the fire if the order goes askew, but you can and should provide your customers with  a basic outline of the process with the caveats that intercarrier cooperation and customer conformity requirements (as well as 498 other possible banana peels) can slow the process. Here are some industry installation standard time frames; they are not guaranteed, but it will give the customer a better idea of where their order is at any given point in the process and perhaps save you a status call or two.

Once the order is turned in to the carrier it will follow the basic process outlined below. Timelines are approximate and vary by carrier and product. This timeline can also be impacted by the time it takes for the customer to respond when information is required.

My recommendation is that you verify the standard interval and processes with the carrier you are selling and tweak the outlined time frame as needed and provide it to your clients after the order has been signed. The time frames and processes can change slightly by carrier but are, for the most part, industry standard.

Katie Williams is founder and CEO of

CommuniKateCo,
 which provides telecommunications back-office support to agents and resellers.  Williams has worked in the telecommunications industry since 1996 in both CLEC and incumbent organizations. Previously, she was a product manager for a wholesale carrier supporting 30 carriers and a large VAR base with product pricing, training and post-order processes.


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