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They’re still making house calls

South Slope techs take COVID-19 precautions while continuing to provide service
South Slope technicians (such as Daren Gengler, pictured here) have been classified as an essential service and continue to support customers while observing the current CDC guidelines to protect against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. (Credit: Photography by Rebecca)

NORTH LIBERTY– As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, businesses have had to adjust how they deliver service to their customers out of an abundance of caution.
For South Slope Cooperative Communications, headquartered in North Liberty, precautions against spreading the virus have led to several changes in-house, as well as how their technicians operate in customers’ houses.
South Slope, like many businesses, has temporarily suspended customer walk-ins. While many stores and restaurants have gone to curbside delivery, South Slope is conducting customer visits through its drive-up window (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday) and has a live chat (online at southslope.com) during the same hours. Customers needing to return equipment are asked to place it in a bin located just past the drive-up window.
Shane Von Holten, marketing manager for South Slope, said as an essential services company, it is South Slope’s top priority to continue supporting their customers with reliable Internet, phone and TV services and excellent customer support.
“To ensure the safety of our employees, who, in turn take care of our customers, we have instituted telecommuting where possible, separated workforce into multiple locations throughout our serving territories and created more space between employees working in our main office,” she said.
As the workforce is moving to homes, it creates a need for increased Internet upload speeds due in part to cloud applications and data backups. “We have experienced a jump in new service installations for Internet, phone and TV, Internet plan upgrades, and Managed Wi-Fi orders,” she said.
South Slope’s fiber network is built to support the increased capacity, speed, and reliability needs, South Slope CEO Chuck Deisbeck said. “As so many of our customers have moved to working and learning from home, we have redistributed internet traffic onto multiple fiber-optic rings to ensure no bottlenecks. We have increased our backhaul capacity almost three times as the need for connectivity and faster transmission of data increases daily,” he noted.
South Slope is closely following Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for cleanliness and has implemented additional sanitation procedures to prevent the spread of the virus, including properly cleaning hands, equipment and tools before and after each appointment.
Those with a service appointment are requested to inform South Slope if anyone in the home or business is experiencing flu-like symptoms, or may have developed medical issues related to the virus. In such cases, steps will be taken to avoid going into the home or business, and in some cases rescheduling may be necessary. Additionally, the technicians will wear a mask if requested.
South Slope also encourages customers to regularly clean the wireless devices, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, accessories and surfaces they come into contact with frequently. Apple, Samsung and Google have tips online for cleaning cellphones, and it is strongly encouraged to not share your phone with others, and to keep it out of restrooms.
“At South Slope, the safety of our customers and employees is our top priority,” Deisbeck said. “We are following the COVID-19 prevention recommendations and have implemented stringent measures to ensure safe, secure operations at a time when you are most reliant on our services. As our customers, we understand you may have many questions. If you need to contact South Slope Customer Service, we encourage you do so from the safety of your home or business. You can call us at 319-626-2211, live chat with us at southslope.com or email info@southslope.com.
These were the policies and procedures by South Slope at the time the article was written. For the latest updates, please visit southslope.com/coronavirus.