How Eastlink used new technology to improve customer-service calls during a lockdown

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The Problem

When the pandemic hit and we all rushed to set up makeshift home offices—while also expanding our repertoire of streaming services—telecom companies like Halifax-based Eastlink faced something like a perfect storm. Their customers relied on internet and phone services more than ever, but with rolling stay-at-home orders (and collective anxiety about keeping two metres away from strangers), in-home service calls for tech support went from everyday business to a last resort. Eastlink needed to find a new way to set up and fix their hardware while minimizing in-home visits from technicians—and they needed to do it as quickly as possible.

The Fix

That’s when the company’s agile decision-making strategy kicked into high gear. “We’ve always had a short hierarchical structure that allows us to behave somewhat like a flat organization,” says Jeff Brown, Eastlink’s senior vice-president of operations and customer experience. “That…

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