By: Carly Levy
Amid customer complaints about poor internet connections as well as slow customer service from local cable provider Blue Stream, CEO Joe Canavan addresses the challenges the company has been facing.
Customers of Blue Stream have taken to social media complaining about their inconsistent internet service as well as long hold times to customer service. There were also complaints that technicians were not arriving to service their homes as promised. Canavan addressed the two reasons why Blue Stream customers were having issues: a flood in June and a network upgrade in July.
“The flood tripled the wait time. What happened was the network itself got submerged into water – and about 25 percent of the network,” said Canavan. “Customers go offline so you get a bunch of people calling ahead saying ‘why is my network out?’ Then what would happen is it takes a little while for the network to dry out and identify problems, and once we identify those problems, we would go fix them.”
He added that in July, upgrades needed to be made to the lasers that were not touched for over ten years by Advanced Cable because of budget cuts and network maintenance. When Blue Stream tried to upgrade the new lasers to increase network reliability and customer satisfaction, some areas of Coral Springs were experiencing unexpected disruptions in their internet connection. The average hold times would last from four to 36 minutes.
Canavan said that corrective measures were taking place to ensure these problems would be fixed, such as temporarily using a call center in Georgia, fixing the places that were having the worst problems and increasing their staff by 20 percent.
“We’re going to go back and fix the entirety of the network so it goes back and gets every gremlin out, so that going forward this is a very robust and reliable network for everybody,” promises Canavan. “By doing the network improvements, that’s really where we’re going to get everyone back to stable.”
Canavan said that the goal of Blue Stream is to offer world class customer service and great products. The company increased their customer service and technical support staff by 30 percent prior to launching new products such as one gigabyte internet speed and TiVo. According to him, by the end of next Friday, everything with Blue Stream will go back to normal and that by the beginning of October, “This network is going to be in better shape than it has ever been before and much more reliable than it’s ever been.”
Blue Stream, formally Advanced Cable has been in Coral Springs for 37 years and was one of the early pioneers of cable itself said Canavan. The Schurz family previously owned Advanced Cable, however, after losing a bulk contract with the town of Weston and a lot of underinvesting, Advanced Cable was put on the market with network maintenance and upgrades being cut back. It was not until August of 2016 that Twin Point Capital bought the company which was rebranded last February as Blue Stream.
Canavan keeps a customer service monitoring tool that shows in real-time how many people are in queue, how many are being tended to, and how long the wait times are. He is also able to get feedback through his LinkedIn account and e-mails. Two times a day, there are meetings with staff – once in the morning and then again in the afternoon to discuss customer feedback as well as fix ongoing issues.
“We are literally running two shifts day and night to get this back to a place where they don’t have to worry about it,” said Canavan. “We look at every node down to the customer level to find out who’s having trouble and what we can do about it. It has 100 percent of our attention right now. There’s nothing else we’re paying attention to besides getting this network restored.”
Canavan wishes that Vice Mayor Dan Daley would see things from the perspective of what Blue Stream is going through.
“I just don’t think Dan had a full understanding of everything that was going on,” said Canavan. “Dan had a talk with our director of business and services off-site and I didn’t have an opportunity to talk with him and I just think that when someone is talking about a three-hour hold time, I can’t validate that, but at least this is an opportunity to come in and see these guys are actually monitoring stuff. They have a plan of record. They’re focusing. They’re moving forward. I don’t think Dan can convey that in talking to people.”
Blue Stream understands the stakes with fixing these issues as fast as possible considering they are competing against two major cable providers: AT&T and Comcast.
“We all take this personally. None of us are sleeping at night,” explains Canavan. “People are giving up vacations. They’re giving up holidays. They’re staying late and not seeing their families. This is not something that anyone has taken lightly. We want [customers] to be proud that they’re with Blue Stream but we need to go back and re-earn that.”