Solutions for Business Spring 2023

SPRING 2023 3 SOLUTIONS We all know how fast technology changes—what’s cutting edge one minute is obsolete the next. So, to keep our employees on top of changes in software and other systems, Panora Fiber regularly sends our employees to educational meetings and training programs. Curt Thornberry, Technology Development Director, said, “Every year, key groups of employees attend training to expand their knowledge and skills. Several of our senior technicians go to sessions hosted by Innovative Systems, a provider of enterprise software for broadband and utility companies, that relate to Panora Fiber’s video and voice services. Our customer service representatives get updated on our accounting, billing, and CRM systems, and several staff members receive training for our fiber services. We also plan to begin more periodic training for all employees on our billing software to raise the level of understanding throughout the company.” How do Panora Fiber’s customers benefit from this employee training? Thornberry replied, “By staying up on the latest technology and customer service trends, we can be sure to meet the needs of our customers. We see education as foundational to the customer experience and to providing reliable broadband service.” The relationship between employee training and customer satisfaction spotlights Panora Fiber’s overall commitment to customers. Our Board of Directors and management have always viewed customers as vital to our success. Even though Panora Fiber is a rural company, we can lead with technology and customer service better than larger companies in big cities with more resources. Thornberry is an industry leader in training and education. He said, “I’m involved in planning two conferences each year for the Iowa Communications Alliance. In that role, I work ondeveloping educational opportunities for others in our industry. I’ve worked on the CyberCon planning committee since its inception, raising awareness and training opportunities for those in telecommunications. I also help plan the ICA CX Summit that brings training and educational resources for front- and back-office staff.” TECHNICIAN ROUNDTABLE SHARES KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCES In March 2023, Panora Fiber invited technicians from five neighboring telcos—Minburn Communications, Jefferson Telecom, Western Iowa Network, Marne-Elkhorn Telephone, and Coon Valley Telco—to a technician roundtable. At this event, 20 technicians shared best practices and discussed topics including installing and using new fiber broadband technologies, building network resilience and redundancy, and assisting customers with Wi-Fi service across their properties. “Technician roundtables are essential to sharing knowledge that’s often locked in the knowledge base of individual companies. The technicians who attended the event represent over 225 years of collective service in the industry,” said Curt Thornberry, Technology Development Director. He added, “Panora Fiber started hosting technician roundtables 15 years ago, and after several years of them in Panora, we began rotating the location so the technicians can visit other companies to see their operations. There’s never a shortage of things to discuss, and it’s always well attended. I often hear from technicians that they get more information attending a roundtable than from other industry channels.” Panora Fiber Invests in Employee Training