In my last blog, I explained how TalkTalk Business is working more closely with Openreach to improve the Ethernet installation timescales for our customers and the industry as a whole.
Our focus with Openreach typically falls into three areas:
- Reducing the time taken to carry out new installs
- Reducing the install backlog, or Work in Progress (WIP)
- Improving Openreach's communication with customers during the installation process
New Ethernet orders frequently require Openreach's engineers or their partners to carry out some form of installation process. There are therefore a number of factors which can create delays with installation, such as engineers' availability, blockages in the route, local authority restrictions and land owner permission. But whilst some delays are unavoidable, TalkTalk Business and Openreach are working together on a series of innovative projects to improve the speed of Ethernet delivery for our customers, Partners and the industry as a whole. These projects are trialled and those which produce the best results are rolled out to industry by Openreach.
So what projects have recently made the cut?
Better engineer appointment scheduling
A common challenge for customers was that Openreach wasn't giving enough notice of an engineer visiting their site, resulting in failed appointments. Re-booking another engineer meant that the customer would often be pushed to the back of the queue, causing significant delays.
Thanks to our joint work with Openreach, we have mitigated this issue, and are particularly pleased with the ability to provide customers with more consistent up front notifications of when their engineer is going to visit the site. Better notifications ensure that customers are more likely to be available and receive a first time install. As well as improving the situation for that customer, it also means that Openreach engineers waste less time on no-access visits and carry out more installs on an average day.
Fewer delayed orders
Installations can be delayed for a number of reasons, often because Openreach has to wait for permission from a land owner or council to work on their land, or because they need further information to progress a job, such as customer acceptance of Excess Construction Charges.
TalkTalk Business and Openreach have set up dedicated trial teams to work together to understand exactly where delays happened in each scenario and the root cause of those delays. Working in silos and single skill teams were identified as problems, so we have put in place a cross-skilling programme and allocated additional resource to remove the blockages, release the orders and increase installs. This has worked extremely well and has helped Openreach and Talk Talk Business to improve the process for all future orders.
Fewer repeat visits
Too often an engineer does not complete the customer's job on the day. This means they need to schedule follow up visits, resulting in unwanted delays for the customer.
TalkTalk Business and Openreach have looked at every single job that didn't complete on the same day to find out why. We have then put a new process in place that means the engineer can contact Openreach and TalkTalk Business immediately to get whatever they needed straight away to stop the job tripping over into another day. This has led to an increase in on-the- day completions and a 15% increase in installs.
With Ethernet in ever-increasing demand, it's important that Openreach shortens installation times for our customers and Partners, and delivers great quality updates so we can keep our customer updated. While this benefits those on TalkTalk Business' Next Generation Network, we know that Openreach can take the learnings from working with us to roll them out to the entire industry, helping connect Britain faster than ever.
Stay tuned for the next blog post in this series, where I'll explain how we are working with Openreach to help clear the backlog of Ethernet installations.