I can safely say that 2021 was a challenging year for individuals and businesses alike. We started the year mid-pandemic with a large percentage of American workers trying to manage their personal and professional responsibilities from the safety of their homes. We were hit by numerous supply-chain bottlenecks along the way. And we are ending the year with the phenomenon dubbed The Great Resignation, causing labor shortages across industries. And yet, amidst continuously shifting circumstances, we managed to find hope, we learned how to roll with the punches, move forward with our goals, and dare I say it, even thrive.
Here at S-NET, 2021 was challenging, but it was also a year of much progress as we continued adapting our processes and learned how we can better-serve our customers in this new landscape. From successfully navigating international supply-chain shortages and extending our live customer support hours to perfecting our remote installation process and upgrading our communications software, we took advantage of this year to grow. Here are just a few initiatives that represented important milestones for our company.
In January 2021, we launched V6 of our cloud communications software, providing a set of new features and improved reliability for clients using the S-NET Connect Desktop and Mobile applications, as well as for Call Center Agent and Supervisor edition users. Throughout the year, all S-NET clients have been upgraded to the latest version, so you can now take advantage of all newly introduced functionalities.
Your S-NET Connect v6 now includes a unified chat interface that synchs conversations between devices, unified presence, as well as improved file sharing capabilities, enabling you to easily send and receive documents in group chats settings. The experience of call center users has been upgraded as well with functionalities such as automated outbound call center management, blended inbound-outbound modes, and a browser integration for CRM popups.
Here at S-NET, ensuring that we are available to our clients in their time of need has always been a top priority. In addition to live Customer Support during business hours, we have made on-call techs available to you after hours. But with S-NET’s continuously expanding national footprint that encompasses several time zones and a growing number of clients that operate outside of the 9-to-5 office schedule, the need for 24/7 live coverage became more pressing in 2021. Thus, after thorough planning and a few Covid-related setbacks, our live Customer Support Team extended its hours to 24/7 coverage this fall. You can now receive immediate help from a live agent, regardless of the time of day or day of the week.
In 2021, the S-NET Customer Support Team was nearly doubled, enabling our reps to provide you with faster, better-quality service. In addition to the training team-members receive on a bi-weekly basis, we elevated a number of our agents to AREs (Advanced Resolution Experts) based on a rigorous, multi-module internal training and testing process. With more AREs on staff, the S-NET Customer Support Team is well-equipped to handle all service requests quickly and efficiently, regardless of their level of technical difficulty.
Keeping our infrastructure up-to-date and protected from emerging cyber-threats remains one of our crucial responsibilities as a service provider. In 2021 we continued to invest in the security and reliability of our critical systems, increasing efforts even further after two of S-NET’s upstream telecommunications carriers were hit by DDoS attacks this fall. The S-NET Engineering Team has been working diligently with vendors such as Oracle and AT&T to audit the security, reliability, redundancy, and configuration of S-NET’s essential infrastructure and maximize its capability to withstand issues from software glitches to cyber-criminal activity.
2021 was also the year we put increased emphasis on developing and testing our outage communications protocols to ensure that every client receives timely information about service disruptions that may affect their business. In addition, we launched The S-NET Network Security Update – an informative series created keep our clients in the know about common issues in cyber security. Keep an eye out for Issue #2 in the next couple of weeks.
With the Covid-19 pandemic making in-person installations unsafe, the S-NET Project Management and Installations Teams focused their attention on remote onboarding, perfecting the process while they were at it. Using the pandemic as an opportunity for growth, they developed better processes for collecting customer information and guiding remote hands through the physical installation process, enabling for a much faster and smoother client experience.
The team also built and implemented a new inventory management software, designed to serve not only as a tool for managing S-NET’s hardware stock for a smoother installation process, but serving as a central repository of information on all hardware deployed at each customer location. This improved system provides S-NET’s Customer Service Team with much-needed information on client hardware and enables the team to provide faster, personalized support to each client.
Supply-chain issues are affecting businesses across the globe, particularly in the tech sector. But S-NET’s purchasing department has been able to successfully navigate these shortages by engaging numerous vendors, reserving stock ahead of time and ensuring that each client installation can proceed on time with the highest-quality equipment.
We would be remiss to publish a list of S-NET’s most important milestones in 2021 without mentioning our return to the office. S-NET’s new suite was secured in 2019 and completely rebuilt for our growing team’s needs in 2020. But during 2020, we were only able to admire it from afar. As vaccines became widely available in 2021 and the vast majority of the S-NET Team got immunized, we were able to gradually return to in-office work in 2021, and enjoy our fully redesigned new office space.
While 2021 was another unprecedented year, I am grateful for all the opportunities for growth that S-NET was presented with, all the milestones we managed to hit, and most importantly, for all the customers we continue to have by our side. I hope that 2022 will be just as successful, and we can continue to support every business in our care with leading cloud communications and networking services.
I wish you all a Happy New Year!
Alex Fayn, Co-Founder and CEO