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All types of customers—consumers, large and small businesses, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—come to Hughes for reliable, high-speed networks, and connectivity. That means the installers of Hughes equipment must come prepared to work in any type of scenario—from high-rise buildings to single-family homes, from warehouses to storefronts, from large offices to log cabins. Since every site is different, it’s vital that installers be quick on their feet and able to creatively problem- solve whatever may crop up during the installation.
Indeed, installer readiness and flexibility were among the many topics addressed at the 2014 Hughes Installer Training Seminar (HITS) held on May 21 in Fort Lauderdale. The conference is conducted every two years, and this year’s Florida location not only enabled more dealers from south and southwestern regions to participate in the HITS experience, it also offered proximity to the Hughes Customer Service Center, providing an excellent opportunity for the field and support teams to interact and share experiences. There were 185 attendees from distributors and dealers representing over 70 different companies from both the enterprise and consumer sides of field operations. The next HITS event will be held in 2016 just prior to the launch of the JUPITERTM 2/EchoStar® XIX satellite, which at 150 Gbps is projected to be the world’s highest capacity broadband satellite.
With a combination of forums, breakout sessions, and round table discussions throughout the 2 1/2 days, there was ample opportunity for attendees to participate in training, gather information, ask questions, make recommenda- tions, and interact with representatives from Hughes, as well as their peers from other installation companies. The sessions were packed with an extensive range of topics, including “Customer Satisfaction Improvement,” “Inventory Management,” and “Dealer and Distributor Best Practices.”
As in the past, a highlight of the conference was the lively technical forum, which brings attendees together with senior Hughes staff representing product and service launches, network engineering, customer service, product development, and network operations in an open forum to share experiences, discuss issues, and brainstorm ideas.
A key topic of the seminar was “World-Class Installation Quality.” With the strictest quality standards in the industry, Hughes not only trains and certifies its technicians but also tracks performance and site revisits, requires installation photos from each site, and conducts random audits to ensure quality. Any deficiencies identified in an installation generate a dispatch that directs the installer to go back and correct the errors. In addition, installed systems are monitored to ensure they meet Hughes standards for performance and efficiency.
“The installer is often the only in-person interface our customers have with Hughes, so it is imperative that field technicians represent Hughes in an exemplary manner from the time the order is placed until they have successfully completed the installation,” said Cliff Rees, vice president of Field Services for Hughes. “When a customer orders service, they want it installed quickly, and when we leave, they want it working problem-free. Any slip-up could cost a customer.”
Now that the conference has concluded, the hard work begins. All of the brainstorming and discussion resulted in a plethora of ideas, recommendations, and action items for Hughes to work on. Installers provided excellent insight on the field experience and made requests for enhancements in many areas, including products, mounting options, Installation Portal enhancements, process improvements, and systems solutions. Hughes is eager to tackle the list and implement some of these excellent recommendations, which will enhance the installer “readiness for anything,” as well as improve onsite quality, efficiency, and the overall customer experience.