As a Comcast sales agent, Bill McCleskey saw how the telecommunications giant was falling short on customer service.
Corporate bureaucracy made simple requests — rescheduling an installation, getting tech support or changing plans — cumbersome for clients.
“It was really a big hassle for customers,” McCleskey said. “A lot of the systems and processes in place were unnecessary. I felt like if we streamlined a lot of these processes, it would ease the pain of customers and businesses trying to buy these services.”
To better serve corporate clients and consumers, McCleskey launched MiTech Partners in 2013 and gained 300 customers in the first year of operation. The Nashville-based company works with more than 50 carriers nationally and helps customers price compare and pick a plan that suits them best, an “Expedia of telecommunications,” McCleskey said. MiTech then provides support for clients, helping them avoid navigating phone mazes at major providers.
“It saves them a lot of frustration and they’ve got one point of contact for shopping, for ordering and for support,” McCleskey said.
His client roster includes major hotel operators Country Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn, Comfort Suites, Best Western, as well as Zaxby’s, Nashville Electric Service and the U.S. Army. Corporate clients often have several locations and use multiple carriers as a result. MiTech allows them to make one call when they need to research or change plans rather than dealing with several different companies.
Nearly half of his now 750 customers are residential clients.
“It saves them a ton of time and the hassle of someone trying to sell them and upsell them,” McCleskey said.
MiTech is not the only local company finding business opportunities in telecom corporations’ customer service shortcomings. Billfixers, a Nashville business that negotiates rates for customers, has gained significant traction in the last two years and have accrued 4,500 clients.
To expand its customer base, MiTech has partnered with IT consultants and IT firms who sell related products. The company’s revenues — now greater than $500,000 — come from carriers and providers who pay a monthly commission when a customer comes through MiTech. The customer pays no additional fee.
McCleskey said his year at Comcast also helped shape how he incentivizes employees. He observed that the one-time commission earned from landing a customer motivated sales agents to pursue more clients, but did not reward ongoing, quality customer care.
“It creates a mindset as an employee of, ‘I really don’t want to help this customer going forward because I’m not getting paid on it,’ he said. “I continue to build a long-term income, a recurring income. It puts me in a position where I want to provide awesome service to my customers so they stay on the books.”
His 16-person company works out of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, where MiTech has gone through the Nashvillle chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s accelerator program called Catalyst. The company is focused on developing an app that will complement its services.
McCleskey, a graduate of Hume-Fogg High School and Fisk University, has also been involved with efforts to make the city’s entrepreneur networks more available to entrepreneurs who represent the city’s diversity and has given tours of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to Fisk students.
“I want to do all I can that folks interested in entrepreneurship or technology know about the resource that is right here in Nashville,” he said.
Reach Jamie McGee at 615-259-8071 and on Twitter @JamieMcGee_.