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Jones/NCTI intros new IQ training program

Mon, 01/26/2009 - 7:25am
Traci Patterson

Customer service and customer retention are becoming ever-more important issues to cable operators given the economic situation and increased competition, so it is fitting that Jones/NCTI recently announced its new-and-improved Installer Qualification (IQ) program, which trains cable installers, to improve MSOs’ reputations, efficiencies and costs.

Customer service and customer retention are becoming ever-more important issues to cable operators given the economic situation and increased competition, so it is fitting that Jones/NCTI recently announced its new-and-improved Installer Qualification (IQ) program, which trains cable installers, to improve MSOs’ reputations, efficiencies and costs.

“The need for training is just as strong, if not stronger, because of the economy,” Neil Sullivan, vice president of business development for Jones/NCTI, told CED.

Installers are often the only human representatives of a cable company most cable customers will ever meet, so having installers make a good impression can be critical.

In April 2008, Jones/NCTI released its Qualified Contractor program for training contract installers (story here), and in the fall it launched the program with both Charter Communications and Comcast.

Jones/NCTI’s IQ program builds on the Qualified Contractor program but includes more advanced training courses, such as the upcoming “Triple-Play Installer,” “Digital Technician” and “Quick Start SMB” courses, and involves more MSOs – Charter and Comcast are now joined by three top-10 cable ops.

The company offers more than 50 courses (a complete list is available here), and on deck is a Supervisor Program to provide “anytime, anyplace access to good supervisory curriculum,” Sullivan said. Another difference between the Qualified Contractor program and the new IQ program is that the majority of the test preparation materials have moved online.

Installers can achieve qualification by passing a proctored assessment exam. If the exam is not passed (a score of 70 percent or greater is considered a passing grade) and additional training is required, then the installer has a choice of three separate courses, each of which is delivered through a self-paced, online format: “Quick Start Installer,” an estimated 30-hour course; “High-Speed Data Installation,” an estimated 10-hour course; and “IP Voice,” an estimated 16-hour course.

A contractor can go online to set up a time for a particular test. The test is administered online, but it is done in a controlled, proctored environment. MSOs can also proctor, if they prefer. And after contractors have completed their designated testing, they can print out individualized certificates.

The main benefit of the IQ program is improved customer service – more specifically, consistent service quality and higher customer satisfaction – as well as increased profitability through reduced truck rolls, service calls and overall training costs. And for contracting agencies, the IQ program helps them win new MSO business with more qualified contractors and reduces chargebacks.

“The IQ program from Jones/NCTI has had a positive impact on our operations,” said Rodney V. Brooks, vice president of operations for CableNet Services. “Not only are our employees better trained, but we have seen a significant reduction in the amount of chargebacks from our MSO clients. In other words, we are providing superior service and are reducing expenses at the same time.”

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