We offer a support retainer service, where we provide our clients a high-touch, responsive support service so they can get the benefits of having a true Metaswitch & VoIP expert on their team when they need it most.
For these services we will work alongside your own CO techs and the Metaswitch customer care engineers to ensure that any questions are answered quickly and any problems are fully resolved.
Is this for you?
Many of the telcos we work with have a small team of good switch/CO technicians in place, who are very comfortable handling day-to-day operations (provisioning, common customer problems, etc). However your local team does not have the experience or deep technical expertise required to handle unusual events or changes to the network. So you’re looking for external experts to fill that gap.
So what exactly is the support retainer service?
The general idea is that our team of experts becomes an extension to your local team of full-time employees, available as needed to provide technical escalation, advice and mentorship to your core team when they run into an issue they’re not sure how to handle. For example:
- We can help troubleshoot a customer problem that has your technicians stumped.
- We can help build a new trunk group or update your routing logic to reflect a change in how you connect to the PSTN.
- We can help design a hunt group and auto-attendant combination for a complex business customer.
How is this different from vendor support?
Some of the activities are similar to what a vendor might help with, but the approach and responsibilities are quite different. A vendor’s core responsibility is to make sure that their product is operating as expected – to make sure that there are no bugs – but you are expected to operate and configure that product according to your needs.
However, our responsibility is different. We are working for you, as an extension of your team. This means:
- We can investigate a problem that spans multiple vendors’ products, without any finger-pointing. Our goal is to find the root cause and help you to resolve the issue.
- Whereas a vendor might simply send you the documentation on how to do something, we are quite happy to make configuration changes on your behalf. If you’d like us to “just take care of it” then we can absolutely do that.
- We enjoy building personal relationships with our clients, which means we are very happy to jump on a call or a Zoom to discuss something or troubleshoot an issue. If something’s urgent, we’re always just a phone call away.
What’s it like working with Award Consulting?
I’ll share some testimonials from our clients in a moment, but maybe it would help if we share the 4 core values that reflect how we want to interact with our clients – so you can see clearly what we’re aiming for.
- Pick up the phone.
This means that we regularly use phone and video calls to communicate with our clients, both as a way to provide better service AND to build better relationships.
- Solve the whole problem.
This means that we (a) solve not only the current symptom but also the underlying issue and (b) we help our client quickly resolve the whole issue – rather than sending over short suggestions or requests for additional diagnostics without a clear plan.
- Be part of the team.
This means that (a) we are easy to reach so our clients can ask us quick questions, (b) we know them and they know us – as people, and (c) internally we work together for the good of the company, without ego.
- Be respected. Be humble.
On the one-hand, this means we expect to be treated as respected independent experts – we only want to work with clients who treat us well, and we should feel comfortable suggesting a different approach if we feel like our client is headed down the wrong path (our role is to provide that independent advice). But on the other hand, we are also down-to-earth and willing to admit mistakes – and we will happily help with a simple task if that’s what our client needs in that moment.
What are your fees?
We have a variety of pricing tiers available – structured either as a monthly or annual retainer, depending on the likely volume of assistance you need.
Monthly tiers start at $2500/month for a time-limited option, and going up to $10K/month for our most comprehensive solution.
If you only need occasional help, we also offer annual retainers with a bundled block of hours that can be used anytime during the next 12 months. Pricing for this option ranges from $7200 to $20K/year, depending on the tier you select. If you’re interested please fill out our contact form and we’ll send you the full price list.
Do your clients like it?
See for yourself. Here’s a collection of testimonials we’ve gathered over the years.
“We are really thrilled with how much you and your team have been able to assist us through this evolution. I have worked with a ton of 3rd party vendors in my past life and you are in the top 2.”
Director of Network Engineering, Otelco
“One of the most valuable traits I’ve seen in using Award Consulting is the fact they are always moving the needle on every project and ticket we engage them on. I’ve never had to remind them about a pending list, prompt them on unanswered items or prod them to move faster. Also Andrew has a pretty cool accent that I’m sure makes him smarter.”
Director of Direction, InfoStructure
“We have been more than pleased working with Andrew and Stephen. Everyone on our team feels like not only are you providing excellent service, but you are going above and beyond. I cannot think of one improvement that we could ask for.”
Network Engineering Manager, LS Networks
“As a small provider, we don’t have specialized staff that works on the Metaswitch, so some of the more advanced tasks are difficult for us to do. It’s nice to have someone knowledgeable to help out with the advanced tasks.”
Network Operations Manager, Runestone Telecom
“Darrin has very efficiently worked on our project and… has been very responsive to our needs. Award Consulting gives you straightforward advice and they seem to be looking out for your best interest and not just another sale.”
Inside Network Operations Specialist, DRN READiTECH
“We would recommend you to anyone needing Metaswitch help. And we would advise them to use your services sooner than later.”
Manager of Technologies and Business Development, RTC Communications
“Over the years, its been glaringly obvious to me that you are the guy we should be dealing with when talking about complex switching matters.“
Network Services Manager – Cooperative Networks Services, LLC
“Andrew provided a lot of knowledge that we were missing. From the beginning he asked questions about the project that we would never have thought about, and those helped us immensely. His support provided comfort in getting us through the project.“
Director of Network Operations, DayStarr Communications
“Andrew’s technical knowledge of complex soft-switching networks, operations insights and troubleshooting skills have helped us drastically improve our network, operations, and customer satisfaction. Every problem, migration or new product/project we bring to him he solves quickly, thoroughly and with a deep understanding of the technical and business impacts. Andrew has helped us solve some of the most difficult and complex problems we have in our business.
Andrew also understands the people aspect of our business and is very skilled in coming along side our existing staff and raising their skill level. His documentation skills are better than any we have ever seen with detail and thoroughness that is rare to find.
Our organization is dramatically different and far better than before our engagement with Andrew, We recommend him highly to anyone looking to raise the standards in their technical and operations areas.“
Director of Sales & Service – ReInvent Telecom
“The expertise and guidance that you and your team provided proved to be critical in getting the initial momentum and breaking through the various roadblocks that came up.”
Director of Product Management, IDI Billing Solutions
“We have been very pleased with the services Andrew provided. He brings a wealth of knowledge to the table: not only a comprehensive high-level understanding of how the Telco industry works, but also a much more granular level with hands-on assistance with configuration and real-world strategic planning and design. He is very down to earth and easy to work with. I would strongly recommend Andrew’s services!“
Chief Information Officer – Benton Ridge Telephone Company and Subsidiaries
“Andrew understands my perspective as head of the technical organization, and can also easily relate to the technicians who work on the system. So he and I can discuss business problems, and then switch gears to focus on a specific technical detail.“
Senior Director of Telecom Operations, OTELCO
“We greatly appreciate the quick responses, high quality information and availability for hands-on fixes and improvements. Without realizing it, I think we’ve come to think of Award Consulting as something of an extension to our own team.”
Systems Integration Engineer, BEK Communications
“Allo’s experience with your group has been exceptional”
– Jill McDaniel, Manager Enterprise Engineering & Operations, ALLO Communications
“I have been in the LEC industry for 38 years. I can count on one hand the best consultants we’ve worked with. Award is in the number one spot.”
– Mark Grady, General Manager, New Paris Telephone & Founder, INdigital