To begin, please tell us a little about yourself, your agency, and your professional background. I started my telecom career 30 years ago with Eric Ryan Corporation (ERC) when it was Utility Cost Cutters, a new startup utility and telecom auditing company. Our business initially consisted of auditing utility and telecom billings for errors and working with our clients to get refunds and correct those billing errors. We continue to offer the auditing services but have also branched out and additionally provide telecom expense management (TEM), bill pay, 24/7 help desk services, pricing, and implementation services on all types of telecom products as well as our utility products. ERC works with many types of businesses but has a large portfolio of hospitality clients and we have been providing our expertise in that industry for over 25 years. Over the past 30 years I have held many roles at ERC and have managed the telecom portion of the business for the past 25 years. ERC was also recently acquired by Renodis, a consultant and TEM solutions provider out of Minnesota.
What do you like about working with AireSpring? AireSpring provides a partnership to ERC that we have appreciated for many years. Because of our hospitality service offering, AireSpring’s internet and SIP solutions are a great fit. We value the support that we receive from our team (AireSpring Regional Channel Manager Gabriel Valderrama, AireSpring National Director of Channel Sales Charles Lomond, and AireSpring Platinum Projects Manager Yousra Mesbah) and know that they will be there to support our clients by providing the customer service we expect. ERC offers a 24/7 help desk along with our services, and we want to work with carriers who are going to be able to support us. We know that we can call AireSpring’s network operations center (NOC) desk any time if a circuit goes down and be able to get the support we need. AireSpring’s high level of customer service is rare in the industry.
What would you say is the secret to being a successful trusted advisor/sales agent in today’s marketplace? Support of the client is key, along with honesty and listening to what they have to say. The telecom industry is known for its struggles to provide a positive customer experience, so doing this well will help you differentiate yourself in the marketplace. ERC has built a business on providing that customer experience to the client as well as working with the carriers. It is our relationships with carriers like AireSpring that allow us the ability to provide this positive experience. We are the go-to for our clients and we build relationships with carriers so that we can get results for those clients. Knowledge is the next key ingredient; it’s important to stay current with the most important changes happening in the industry and work with carriers like AireSpring that provide that training, support, and knowledge.
What do you foresee happening in the industry in 2023? What is the “next big thing” or “things” you think people should be aware of or get involved in, etc.? Security has become such a huge issue that every “next big thing” in the industry is connected to it. Over the last few years, we’ve been taking on security and cloud roles, increasing our offerings and becoming more active in that area. We hear about somebody getting hacked every day in the news, including in the hospitality industry, so for everyone, security is going to be the area of focus for the foreseeable future. It’s important for companies to look at their security strategies to make sure that they’re taking advantage of the latest technologies and ensure that they are protected. Likewise, it’s imperative for those in our industry to be knowledgeable about those technologies so they can pass that knowledge on to their customers. Going forward, we plan to become more of a market player in security, especially now that we’ve been acquired by Renodis, because the demand is growing.
What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of telecom? Outside of telecom, I am the owner of a Bed & Breakfast in Western Pennsylvania, The Jacqueline House of Wilmington. Years ago, I was intrigued by the hospitality industry since we provided service to so many hotel properties and thought it would be fun to own a small inn. Eight years ago, my daughter moved to a small town in Amish Country, New Wilmington, PA, and we found a small B&B for sale – I purchased it, and she helped me run it until 2 years ago. I still own the B&B and have a wonderful staff that continues to help me manage it. I also love spending time with my children and grandchildren.