May 04th, 2020 | Telecom Carrier Highlights
Airespring’s April newsletter has been released. This newsletter contains a detailed profile on Darcee Nelan, the Chief Executive Officer of IQ Wired in the Partner Spotlight, offering thoughts and perspectives on the current and future state of customer success & telecom focus in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic.
IQ Wired places a tremendous emphasis on developing relationships with partners who truly understand our customers and provide excellent service. Airespring truly understands the business approach that IQ Wired takes and fully supports us as a true partner.
To view the newsletter, please visit this link, or click the image below. To read more on Darcee’s interview, continue scrolling below.
To begin, please tell us a little about yourself, your agency, and your professional background in Telecom.
I’ve been in Telecom since 1984, working for a variety of providers, and have been in the Channel since 2004. At that time I met Tatiana Finkelsteyn, Board Chair and Founder of IQ Wired and formed a friendship. In 2010 I came to work for IQ Wired, initially as VP of Sales, then in my current position as CEO. IQ Wired is a boutique Master Agency helping to bridge the gap between technology solutions and people. As a women-owned and women-run business we are unique in the technology space. We’ve been recognized by the Denver Business Journal on three separate occasions as a Best Place to Work Company due to our workplace culture. We feel having a healthy culture where people can make a positive impact in their work is critical to having an extraordinary customer experience.
IQ Wired is also unique because we offer a hybrid model with both a direct team and an indirect team. We focus on mid-sized enterprise customers, helping them identify all their providers and locations. Our own managed services offering, Technology and Telecom Service Management
(TTSM), allows us to become an outsourced extension of our customers, taking on inventory and lifecycle management. TTSM is differentiated from a technology expense management (TEM) service because we go in and do an audit, then develop Visio diagrams to show the customer which services they have in place. Often, they immediately see that they are continuing to pay for services they thought had been closed for a year or more. We had a customer that was paying something like $5,000 a month for three years for a circuit that they thought they had closed.
There’s a big disconnect at many companies between IT and AP, where a circuit may have been disconnected but AP keeps paying the bills as they come in. We’re bridging that gap for customers, helping them manage their inventory more effectively. Once we’ve worked on the inventory, we move on to lifecycle management of the service. We’ll analyze and raise questions about issues like why is there a 10 GB circuit for a two-person location? We help to optimize the customer’s services. We are able to guarantee at least 10% savings to our customers and typically average 30% savings or more. Our business model is unique because most people in our industry are not focused on the lifecycle piece, and they’re not willing to offer a guarantee. Also, many service providers take a percentage of the savings earned. We are strictly fee-based, so the customer gets all the savings. We were able to save one of our customers 256%, totaling one million dollars in a year. Taking on the service management piece differentiates IQ Wired further and makes us a true partner with the customer.
Oil and gas companies are important in Colorado and we have many customers in that industry. The consequences of the current pandemic restrictions provide us with an opportunity to help them clean up their inventory and cut costs, something most companies don’t have the time or resources to do. We also have a lot of clients in health care, in fact we currently serve 51% of all hospitals in Colorado.
What do you like about working with AireSpring?
We have worked with AireSpring for about a year, working with Justin Walsh, Regional Channel Manager – Mountain Region. Justin is one of the top CMs that we work with across all carriers and providers. When I think of AireSpring, I think of Justin and his responsiveness, together with your
entire team. We can go to Justin with a question, even an email at 10 p.m. and he is superresponsive-he works the same kind of hours we do. He’s “Johnny on the spot” and he’s transparent, always asking questions to make sure we’re getting a good deal for the customer and for the seller.
He really is acting as a true partner for us. It’s easy to sell AireSpring because we know that if things don’t go as planned, someone will respond and that makes all the difference. Everyone at AireSpring is great and the relationship has worked out really well for us.
AireSpring is different, just as we are, using human capital to help bridge the gaps. These days, everyone can do the technology. There are nearly 50 SD-WAN providers, so I say that technology is table stakes. You have to have the feature functionalities to be in the game, but customers really want to know, “What is the impact? What does that do for me? Tell me what I can do with that tool.” We have to show people the benefit of any new tool. We train our people using a profile that assesses their thinking and behavioral preferences, and we apply it to working with our customers as well. It has been a game changer for us. We avoid going in with a lot of technical jargon and instead focus on what a customer’s business is about, what are their strategic goals and how the technology helps them achieve those goals.
“We like working with AireSpring because they think outside of
the box just as we do, and truly strive to find solutions that will make
an impact on behalf of our clients. We really appreciate the
If there have been any issues or problems…I always get an email from AireSpring before I need to send anything out myself, and that is
What would you say is the secret to being a successful agent?
I think the key is to start by having a clear goal and staying focused on that goal without succumbing to tunnel vision or allowing yourself to become comfortable. The best agents strive to create partnerships and push themselves to achieve new goals once they’ve reached their original goals. In this era of change you have to connect with your purpose, continue to add value and advocate on behalf of your clients. People are drawn to people they can share a common goal with.
The secret to success today is understanding where you can add value and recognizing the fact that with constant change many of our customers and employees experience “future shock” or too much change in too short of a time. Technology is a tool that is intended to make things easier but as humans we still need time to process change and adapt to the impacts that it is having on our personal and professional lives. I think many people are missing the importance of the human equation when recommending technology solutions that will impact the business processes of our
clients. We’ve trained our team on different aspects of emotional intelligence including Emergenetics (exploring how our behavior emerges from our life experiences and our genetic traits), and Change Cycle (a change management program) in an effort to help them understand the human emotions that come with change, so they can be a better IQ/EQ resource for our customers in helping to work through it.
Covid-19 has brought new challenges for all businesses. In order to keep our business strong in this environment, we’ve identified various ways to help customers. The economic challenges in Colorado are broad but also industry-specific. Everyone had to instantly set up remote workers at the beginning, and they found different ways to do it. If they had VPN in place they just added more bandwidth. Some wanted a software appliance to spin up remote workers quickly. By now, most people have figured out how to create a remote work force if they are going to do it.
The next phase depends a lot on your industry. Many of our customers are in oil and gas and are not in a position to add services, but they need to figure out how to cut costs, which we’re able to assist them with. By contrast, our many hospital customers are concentrating on adding capacity in urgent situations, like creating a triage tent in the middle of a parking lot where added communications are needed to support makeshift operations. We stay top of mind by reaching out to let them know we’re here to help with what they need, regardless of whether their moving, adding or is connecting services.
What is the “next big thing” you think agents should be aware of for 2020?
I think that agents need to surround themselves with like-minded individuals, partners and carriers who understand relationship dynamics and can be true partners. Change is constant and stressful. Having people you can trust in your network is critical in establishing value for your clients.
This pandemic will create long-lasting cultural changes in how we work due to the length of time it is lasting. There will be fundamental changes in certain industries and in how people choose to interact with each other. As an example, commercial real estate may undergo changes now that more people are used to working from home. I think people will start looking at
different operational and ROI models to find ways to be more efficient and resilient as a result of Covid-19.
As a personal example, I recently had the opportunity to have my first telemedicine appointment with my doctor. Although somewhat impersonal and foreign, I found that ultimately it was a fast and efficient way to get a diagnosis that saved me at least an hour, as well as saving my doctor a great deal of time which equates to the bottom line. I suspect that routine visits
may be conducted via telemedicine now as a result of Covid19.
“I think that agents need to surround themselves with like minded individuals, partners and carriers who understand relationship dynamics and can be true partners. Change is constant and stressful. Having people you can trust in your network is critical in establishing value for your clients.”
What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of telecom?
I mostly enjoy spending time with my family and friends. My job is pretty stressful so instead of writing the next great American novel, I look for ways to blow off steam and relax. I am an avid pinball fan. It’s a great way for me to de-stress which is what I need to do when I’m not at work. My husband and I like to go out in Denver on Sunday afternoons to the popular spots where there are great pinball machines and we can people watch at the same time. I especially like the Lord of the Rings game. We don’t have a pinball machine at home because they break easily and you can’t fix them. I have a little Galaga replica that I found at the John Wayne Airport. It’s about 6 inches long and has all the features, so it will have to do for now. I also like to play slot machines, another kind of mindless activity that helps me relax. Travel is another great escape that I enjoy, but as you can imagine my hobbies are on hold for now as we navigate through these unprecedented times together.