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Meet Matthew Forst, Billing Associate

When did you start at S-NET Communications and what is your primary role here?

I started working at S-Net as a Billing Associate one year ago! Time sure does fly by! In my role, I primarily assist with day-to-day billing, accounts receivable, credit card expenses, expense reporting, and commission calculations.

Where did you work before starting at S-NET?

Before joining S-Net, I was at RealPage for five years where I had a few different roles that revolved around utility billing and accounting for multifamily housing. In addition, I had an accounting role with Contelligent for two years, which is a company that specializes in waste monitoring analytics.

What made you choose this career path and what is your educational background?

I received my Associates Degree from the College of DuPage and Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy from Northern Illinois University. Working with numbers is so satisfying to me. I enjoy determining why an account is out of balance or how to make better decisions based on what the data says.

How often do you interact with clients and what is the most rewarding aspect of working with them?

I interact with clients throughout the day. The most rewarding part is when I get clear up any confusion a client may have, as well as process account updates on the their behalf. I take pride in helping! It makes S-NET a company that is easy to do business with.

What do you enjoy most about your work in general?

It is fulfilling to have ownership over major tasks and consistently keep those running as smoothly as possible. It’s also enjoyable to improve the processes in place today and work closely with colleagues that have the same mindset and drive.

What are the most challenging aspects of your work?

The biggest challenge is when multiple tasks have close deadlines. There are busier times of the month, where much work needs to get done. During those times, it is nice to be with an awesome team where everyone helps each other out where they can.

What have been your favorite S-NET projects/tasks so far?

I was tasked with reconciling discrepancies in account balances between the billing system vs the accounting system. This project improved my ability to spot patterns and more easily identify where something went wrong.

Which accomplishment/s are you the proudest of?

I’m proud of how much I have learned in just the one year with S-NET, specifically with billing. Since I have started with S-NET, there have been all sorts of projects which span almost every function in the billing system, and it is fulfilling to lean how it all ties together.

How has S-NET helped you grow as a professional?

My manager has expanded my role so that I get to do a little bit of everything with budgeting, commissions, expenses, etc. That I did not get to do with the previous companies I worked for. At S-NET, I am constantly learning something new.

What exciting projects are you most looking forward to at S-NET?

The next big project on the horizon is migrating from QuickBooks Desktop to QuickBooks Online. It is exciting because once the migration is completed, processes will be more simplified and there will be more cohesion between the billing system and QuickBooks.

What do you enjoy the most about working here, with this team?

S-NET has many free thinkers that come from differing backgrounds, which leads to captivating conversations. I would describe the company culture as a work hard/judgement-free zone, and that is something that is enjoyable to be a part of.

How do you unwind after a long day at the office?

After a long day, I enjoy spending time with my family. Being outdoors, going on walks and long bike rides helps me to rejuvenate.

How do you like to spend your free time? What activities, films, books, shows, sports, etc. do you enjoy?

I try to be outside as much as possible when i’m not in the office. Hiking, biking, etc. We often watch comedy TV shows, and my wife’s favorite is Impractical Jokers. We also enjoy video gaming and have very competitive Tetris battles. Basketball is my favorite sport to both watch and play.

What exciting things have happened in your life recently?

Five months ago, I became a Dad, which brings a new kind of excitement to every day.

What exciting plans are you looking forward to?

We are visiting my mother and father-in-law in September. They live in Florida by the Gulf of Mexico, so  we are very excited to relax on the beach with family.

What is one thing most of your coworkers and clients don’t know about you?

I previously used to break down sports film (primarily basketball, but some lacrosse and football too). I was considered one of the best indexers with that company and got the chance to do major basketball tournaments and spotlight games.

The Day that Lewis Floor and Home Thought Would Never Come

Lewis Floor and Home started back in 1954, with “big dreams but small capabilities.” They devoted most of their time and services to carpeting and carpet cleaning. Since then, 3 generations of family members have grown the business to what it is today. Now they offer a large variety of home products such as tile, wood, vinyl, counter tops, window treatments, rugs, and fine cabinetry.

In May of this year, everything in their operations was running as expected, even their 20-year-old on-premise phone system. But then, the day that they never thought would come, came. Their phone system stopped working.

They called their previous phone provider to find a solution, but they were unable to help. So their everyday operations and sales came to a complete halt.

Desperate for a solution, Lewis Floor and Home had to decide whether to go with another on-premise landline-based phone system or switch to VoIP. Their MSP gave them a few options and thankfully, they ended up talking to our very own George G.

George spoke with Jake on Friday afternoon. In an epic 4-hour conversation, George answered every question Jake had about hosted VoIP. After weighing his options, Jake made the decision on Monday to go with a VoIP Phone System from S-NET. On Tuesday, S-NET had over 50 phones fully installed, and by Wednesday, Lewis Floor and Home was up and running.

Our team started working on the project Tuesday morning and even stayed past midnight to make sure the install was finished. On Wednesday morning, Lewis Floor and Home was able to resume business as usual.

While waiting for the main numbers to be ported over, S-Net provided 50 temporary phone numbers that got forwarded from the main business numbers so there would be minimal disruption to their customer experience. And when minor issues came up, we tackled them with professionalism and quickness just like we promised.

This is just one of many examples of how S-NET Communications goes above and beyond for our customers. We know that sometimes talk is cheap, but we not only talk the talk, we also walk the walk.

Please see for yourself!

Below is just one of many emails we received from Jake at Lewis Floor and Home.

 

Subject: Top Customer Service and Experience

Good Morning,

Here is a Guaranteed Fact in all of my experiences:

When George told me of the excellent Customer Care we would experience from the installation to the after care, I honestly was swayed be the words, but I have heard those words before from other vendors

Those words are not only true, but clearly the customer care not only can be found in those words, but even better in the outstanding, awesome experience we have had in every interaction with everyone.

The tech world, could stand to learn from what S-Net does not just says

The latest reason for my missives is an issue we had at the end of last week.

From Albert, to Jorge to Steve Zellers, to all that were involved, everyone pitched in to help bring our issue to closure

We especially need to give a shout out to Steve Zellers who spent the time to not only correct the issues, but also found long term solutions to some of the reasons that brought the issue to the forefront.

(this was outstanding)

We Thank You for all the caring, quality excellent people that we get to work with and proving the care is tops each and every time.

Wishing everyone a great week!

Thank you,

JAKE

Customer Experience-Special Projects

LEWIS FLOOR AND HOME

LEWIS OUTLET

It brings great joy to the team to see a happy customer. We are that simple. We deliver what we promise.

 

Meet Anah Aquino, Quality Analyst

When did you start at S-NET Communications?

8/31/2020

What made you choose this career path?

I realized early on that I have a passion for teaching, coaching, and sharing best practices with my colleagues. I also love to participate in projects that involve process improvement. This career is a perfect fit for my passion and personality.

Where did you work before starting at S-NET?

I was previously working at RingCentral.

What are your primary responsibilities at S-NET?

As a Quality Analyst, I help to ensure that processes are followed, and that quality service is provided to our customers. We help by coaching, rolling out updates, and documenting new processes for everyone’s reference.

How has S-NET helped you grow as a professional/engineer/etc.?

All the support I need is always readily available! This makes my job easier, and I feel that I am more efficient in my tasks, which boosts my confidence.

What exciting projects are you most looking forward to at S-NET?

I’m looking forward to working with our new Omni-Channel product.

What do you enjoy the most about working here, with this team?

The camaraderie with the team is what makes our day lighter. Everyone, not just the Manila team, is responsive and approachable.

What exciting things have happened in your life recently?

I finally tried cooking recipes from on YouTube. My daughter who is a “chicken nugget” fanatic, doesn’t really enjoy it; but my husband and I enjoy my cooking and we have both gained a little weight!

What exciting plans are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to traveling. Before the pandemic, we had a trip planned to Hong Kong but had to cancel it. So, I hope we can finally take that trip!

What is one thing most of your coworkers and clients don’t know about you?

I’m a metal head! I love rock music, rap metal, heavy metal, NU metal, etc.

Meet Michael Koselinski, Network Engineer

Where did you work before, and when did you start at S-NET Communications?

I joined S-NET in May of 2021 after working as an IT technician.

What is your educational background? Are you currently pursuing any education?

I have an associate degree in Computer Network and Business Administration, and I’m currently studying for my CCNA (Cisco Networking Certification).

What made you choose this career path?

Early on I understood that computers are the future, so learning how they work and how to work with them was very important to me.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working with clients?

As a Networking Engineer, I spend about 90% of my time interacting with clients. It is very rewarding to install a system at a client site and see how happy they are with it when we’re done.

What have been your favorite S-NET projects/tasks so far?

My favorite part of the job is going on site, overcoming any challenges and issues, and getting everything up and running smoothly for our clients. I also enjoy configuring the equipment and seeing how the network flow works.

How has S-NET helped you grow as a professional engineer?

Because of the complexity of each project, I feel like every project pushes me to my limit. This has led me to realize my potential. I have learned more from working hands-on at S-NET Communications than what I learned in school.

What do you enjoy the most about working here, with this team?

I like that I can go to anyone on our team with questions, and I’m not afraid that I might be asking the wrong question. Everyone makes me feel like any question is an important one and we all want to succeed.

How do you like to spend your free time?

After a long day at the office, I go home and spend time with my daughter. She helps me forget about the long day and helps me get mentally ready for the next one. I also like to be outdoors if the weather is nice—hiking, camping, or just walking around. I also enjoy sports if it’s a group thing and we all do something together. If the weather isn’t nice, I like to watch movies and read.

What exciting things have happened in your life recently?

All in one year, I bought a condo, got the job at S-NET, and had my daughter.  It was a busy year with a lot of excitement!

What exciting plans are you looking forward to?

I’m excited to grow and move up at S-NET. I’m also excited to be able to take some time off and spend some quality family time with my daughter.

What is one thing most of your coworkers don’t know about you?

I’m a guy who puts everyone first, and no matter what position I’m in, I try to turn everyone’s frown upside down. 😊

 

 

 

5 Things S-NET Customer Support Can Do for You!

If you are new to the S-NET Communications family, you know that as a customer, you have a whole team behind you every step of the way, our Support Team. If you’ve been a client of ours for a while, you already know how much the Support Team cares about helping in every way they can. Below are 5 things you may or may not know that our Support Team can do for you.

  1. Update Your Extensions

Company restructuring happens all the time. But having to change how incoming calls flow to your various departments and extensions never ceases to be a tedious process. When the time comes to execute you can contact Support to take this task on for you! Our team will tackle it swiftly and diligently.

  2. Provide Login Credentials

Imagine that you have hundreds of tasks on your desk and company hires a new team member. Now you are also responsible for creating login credentials to S-NET Connect for your new colleague. Don’t worry, our Support Team will create it for you. Just call, email or chat with them.

  3. Install the S-NET Connect Application

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you need help downloading and installing the S-NET Connect app, well, you know by now… give us a call!

  4. Special Time Schedules

This is surprisingly something that most of our clients don’t know or forget until the last minute, but we can set your call routing and IVR greetings for the holidays’. One great suggestion from our Client Technology Advisors is to set your holiday hours ahead of time for the whole year every January. P.S We think is a great idea!

  5. Server ID / Server Name

When initially setting up the -NET Connect desktop or mobile app on your PC or phone, you will need a Server ID/Server Name. That’s right, our support team can provide that as well.  Whether your initially setting up or installing the apps for a new team member and you need the Server ID/ Server Name, they can help with that.

If you have any questions on these or other topics, please feel free to contact our support team, they can set up quick training sessions. True to our slogan, “large enough to deliver, small enough to care”, there is no extra charge. We believe in great customer service and to us you’re more than just a number.

Meet Christina Rodriguez, Provisioning Specialist

What are your primary responsibilities at S-NET?

As a Provisioning Specialist, I work with the Project Managers, partners and clients to set-up the sophisticated phone systems that our clients need. This includes setting up auto attendants, programming phones, and routing calls.

What is your educational background and what made you choose this career?

I have an associate degree and am currently CompTIA A+ Certified. I wanted to work in a field where I could use my technical knowledge, so I joined S-NET in July of 2021.

Where did you work before starting at S-NET?

Before S-NET, I used my experience to do volunteer work with the National Association for Mental Illness to support our service members and their families with post-deployment integration. Also, I served as a board member for my children’s local PTA and was the fundraising chairman and participated in programs planning.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working with clients?

I get to work with clients almost all day. The most rewarding experience is when I get a new customer who is frustrated with their current telecommunications vendor, and I am able to move them over to our system that offers so many more features and flexibility than their previous service. They are always impressed with how robust our service is.

What are the most challenging aspects of your work?

We serve clients in variable working environments from school systems to law firms– each with their own specific needs. Occasionally, we get a special request for a feature or functionality that requires special programming or setting up the system in a particular way. Those accounts are challenging, but I end up learning so much, and we really get to showcase what our systems can do.

How has S-NET helped you grow as a professional/engineer/etc.?

Working with S-NET has helped me increase my knowledge base, improve my interpersonal skills (which is no easy thing to do working remotely), and polish my customer service skills.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to work remotely with a great team of professionals.

What exciting projects are you most looking forward to at S-NET?

Currently I work on the Follett installation project and I am excited to see it picking up pace. I am also looking forward to seeing what part our team will play in the launch of our new omni-channel contact center service.

What do you enjoy the most about working here, with this team?

My teammates are knowledgeable, reliable, and have great communication. Everyone is always willing to help whether it’s to find an answer to a question, troubleshoot a problem, or just to see where a project is at.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I attend a workout group 2x a week after work.  When I am not working out, I like to watch my tv shows (lots of Hulu and Disney+), play video games, work on a craft project, play the piano or cook dinner.

What exciting things have happened in your life recently?

I got a new car! I traded in my soccer mom van for a 2019 Subaru Outback with the works!

What exciting plans are you looking forward to?

My family and I are looking forward to our first cruise. We are excited to be going to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel in July.

What is one thing most of your coworkers and clients don’t know about you?

I grew up in a very musical household. I have many accomplishments in piano, flute and vocal performances. I still play piano but no longer play flute. **A few coworkers have heard me sing though! **

Still buying your phone equipment? Here’s why you should rent it instead.

As a business owner, you may be deciding between renting your phone and networking hardware or buying the equipment straight out. Conventional wisdom dictates that equipment purchases are good investments and enable you to save in the long run. But with technology changing faster than ever before, is buying your hardware the wisest decision? There are advantages to both options, but  we believe that renting your equipment is a better use of your budget in the long run. Here’s why.

1. No large upfront investment.

Purchasing hardware is a significant capital investment. Not all companies have the budget to make these large purchases up front. But renting your equipment instead allows you to pay for the technology you use in smaller, predictable monthly payments. This allows flexibility with your budget when your business needs change or things don’t go as planned.

2. Save when technology change.

Upfront hardware purchases makes sense if you use your equipment for years. But with technology changing so fast, you often need to replace your hardware before you’ve even had the chance to reap the benefits of your investment. Often, the hardware you purchase is outdated within a year or two and doesn’t have the features you need to grow with your business.  Or unexpected developments occur – such as supply chain issues and changes to the working landscape (like the demand for remote work) that may force you to upgrade your systems before you had planned. Businesses that purchase hardware would have to reinvest in new systems. While businesses that rented their equipment would get automatically upgraded at no additional cost.

3. Get lifetime warranty on all equipment.

When you purchase your hardware you only benefit from a limited warranty, depending on your vendor. While high quality equipment doesn’t break often, you are still responsible for all the repair and replacement costs when it happens. These expenses can add up quickly and impact your bottom line. Renting your equipment instead allows you to benefit from a lifetime warranty on all your hardware and lets us replace it quickly and efficiently if problems arise.

Meet Mico Cha, Provisioning Specialist

What is your work background? (Are you currently pursuing any education?)

I joined S-NET in March of 2019 after working as a Tech Web Analyst for GoDaddy. I’m currently finishing my BS in Information Systems and pursuing courses related to programming.

What made you choose this career path?

I’m a computer enthusiast and technology has always been very dear and close to my heart. At first I thought IT would be very simple, but now that I’m in the industry, it has introduced me to many paths for my career to go, VoIP being one of them.

What are your primary responsibilities at S-NET?

I’m currently part of the Manila Team that handles the initial phone set up for our clients. We make sure to get all the information needed to build their desired phone system. My official title is “Provisioning Specialist.”

What do you enjoy most about your work in general?

I value all the work I do for for S-NET, and it’s easy to give it 101%. I enjoy helping our customers, connecting with them and helping them through a seamless install. This typically leads to positive feedback and makes work much more enjoyable. Also, everyone on our team is really nice and helpful which is awesome!

What have been your favorite S-NET projects/tasks so far?

My favorite project so far has been the Marco’s Pizza installations. It was very special to me because it was challenging and complex, but I learned so much! Thanks to the awesome team and my manager, I was able to grow professionally and overcome the challenges to get our customers to the finish line.

How do you unwind after a long day at the office?

I like to relax by surfing the web for news and technology updates. Spending time with my family also helps me recharge and get ready for the next day.

What exciting things have happened in your life recently and what are you looking forward to?

Thanks to the opportunity and growth I have had with S-NET, I am able to provide a better and stable lifestyle for my family. I am planning to buy a new car this year and that’s very exciting!

What is one thing you want people to know about you?

I’m an awesome friend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protecting Your Business from Scammers with the STIR/SHAKEN Protocol

Starting this summer, your business will be better protected from phone scammers. The FCC requires all telephony carriers to implement the STIR/SHAKEN protocol on their network by June 30th, 2022.

What is the STIR/SHAKEN protocol?

The STIR/SHAKEN protocol is a framework implemented on carrier networks to combat spoofed robocalls with caller ID authentication. According to the FCC, STIR/SHAKEN will ensure that calls traveling through interconnected phone networks will have their caller ID legitimized by originating carriers and validated by other carriers before reaching the consumer.

How does it affect me?

Spoofing calls has become common practice for scammers. It’s so advanced that they can pretend to be you or your business by spoofing your business name and number through Caller ID technology.  For a small business owner, it’s important that your business phone number is spoof-proof and not being used to spam customers. STIR-SHAKEN will mitigate the efforts of spammers, keeping you protected. Additionally, this protocol will help reduce the amount of spam calls your business receives, so that you can spend more time assisting your legitimate customers.

How is S-NET Communications implementing this framework?

We understand the hardships that spam calls create, especially for business owners. That’s why when we were informed by the FCC about their plans to start mitigating spam calls, we got to work. We are currently in the process of implementing the STIR/SHAKEN framework on our network and will be done before the deadline of June 30th. Once the solution is deployed, it will enable a superior trust level on all our customer’s DIDs. This should eliminate the possibility of your number being displayed as potential SPAM on outgoing calls.

But we are not stopping there!

In addition to the STIR/SHAKEN, we have added an extra level of security for our customers. We are deploying robocall mitigation solution. This will help our clients identify and minimize inbound spam robocalls.

Eugene Likhovid, CTO and Co-Founder of S-NET Communications, has been leading this initiative. He says, “We will keep improving our security on this front, as technologies evolve. We want to reassure our customers that S-NET Communications will always be on the leading edge of these technologies and will do everything in our power to eliminate spam calls for our clients.”

 

Meet Michael Vicas, Billing Manager

This month, we are getting to know Michael Vicas, who joined the S-NET Accounting and Finance team in March of 2020.

Tell us a little about your background and how you got to S-NET.

I have a master’s degree in Business Administration from North Greenville Graduate School and have worked in the business and accounting field for 7 years. Before joining S-NET, I spent 5 years at ScanSource Inc., a tech-based distribution company, as an operations accountant. I made the switch to S-NET in the March of 2020 – or ‘the before times’, as I like to call it.

I’m currently on track to become a Certified Public Accountant. I’ll be finishing my coursework this year and hope to sit for the exam in 2023. This has been a goal of mine for a long time!

What made you choose this career path?

I have always loved numbers from the time I was a little kid. It came naturally to me. There are many grey areas in life and that can make things complicated. But not in math or accounting. Every transaction has a place to be accounted for, the invoice is either correct or it’s not, and the accounts either balance or they do not.

But despite the relatively straightforward nature of math and accounting, I always had a knack for coming up with my own, creative solutions to problems. I would always get in trouble in elementary grade math classes because I would do things my way instead of taking the teacher’s notes. [Laughs].

What are your primary responsibilities at S-NET?  

I ensure that customers are correctly invoiced and am also heavily involved in our month end accounting cycle to ensure accurate representation of our books. I also take on key projects. For example, when I first started, S-NET was using a default invoicing PDF layout that was a little complicated to understand and we would receive calls from clients about it. One project I spearheaded is updating the layout of our invoices so that it has a predictive flow and is easy to understand. We have gotten many compliments from that implementation since starting.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working with clients?

I interact with customers every day, either by phone or email. Clients will call in with a question or concern on their account. We will spend some time discussing their account and researching to see what is going on. After I find the answer and explain the situation to the customer, there is a moment where their tone and demeanor change. I can hear that shift from confusion or frustration to understanding. I really enjoy those conversations. That’s when I know I’ve done my job well!

What do you enjoy most about your work in general?

I am a learner by nature. Every day I log in, I’m faced with a new challenge that requires some research and problem solving to tackle, and I love that about my work. I love responding with “I don’t know but let me find out.”

How has S-NET helped you grow as a professional?

I came from a larger company where I had a more specialized and narrow knowledge of the accounting. Over the past couple of years at S-NET, I have exponentially grown and expanded my understanding of different areas of accounting through my director’s mentorship. I have a better understanding of how different parts of the system fit together. S- NET is also fully supportive of my goal to become a CPA, which is a very rewarding experience.

What exciting projects are you most looking forward to at S-NET?

We are migrating to a new accounting system over the next few months. I will be spearheading the project to make sure that all data is successfully migrated, and our data import process will be set up correctly.

What do you enjoy the most about working here, with this team?

The thing I enjoy the most about the team is that they are all go-getters. We all ask each other for opinions, input, feedback, and help when needed. We can rely on each other to get the task accomplished and support each other when things don’t go as planned. S-NET has really worked hard to put together this team, and I’m glad to be a part of it.

How do you unwind after a long day at the office?

A gym session to get the blood flowing is a must. I always set aside some time to spend time with my wife, catch up on the day, cook, and then read, play video games, or watch a movie together.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I really enjoy camping. My wife and I always set a couple of annual trips. Being able to spend time away with friends and family with nothing to do but relax in a hammock, build a fire, and catch up with no cares in the world. Our 2 dogs really love it too!

I enjoy reading as well. I generally read self-development books such as 12 Rules for Life, Can’t Hurt Me, or Will. However, I’ve been spending an abnormal amount of time in textbooks, so I’ve shifted to lighter reading, such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings to give my mind some time to relax.

What exciting things are happening in your life?

We recently bought a home, upsizing from our small apartment in Chicago. Part of this process is upgrading my office (a.k.a. battle station). It is now equipped with a large desk, adjustable standing desk, mechanical keyboard, multiple monitors, and a nice wireless mouse. Oh! They all light up in different colors too.

Now that we’re settled in, we have some exciting travel plans for the summer! Three weekend camping trips are on the calendar, and my wife and I will be traveling to the Caribbean for our 6-year anniversary. We are really looking forward to finally traveling, seeing some new places, and making many new experiences!

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