Appointment Windows and Maintenance Windows – What are they?

When my tech staff and I are out in the community working in your homes and businesses we often get asked this question, so here’s my answer…

When you report a problem with your service we try to do as much over the phone to trouble shoot and repair so you can get back online and talking with your friends or customers quickly. But if we need to dispatch a technician to investigate the problem, we may also need to set an appointment with you. The “appointment window” is usually set for four hours in length. Why four hours you ask?

Four hours is needed to balance the technician’s pre-planned and urgent schedule for the day, plus we can put on a lot of miles in a day and need travel time too. This work includes both new service installs or changes to existing service, as well as, troubles.

The work to complete a service order or a trouble ticket at one location can be more urgent or time consuming than we anticipated, thus delaying the arrival of the technician at their next appointment.

We don’t like to be late, so we have found that a four hour window usually guarantees that the technician will be able to arrive during that timeframe and either fix or begin to fix the problem.

One more thing to note: We now have the ability in some of our markets to have the technician call a customer (on their alternate phone) thirty minutes in advance of when they expect to arrive, giving you a little flexibility in case you need do something else for a short period of time while you wait for us. Please ask if this is available for your area when reporting a trouble and making an appointment.

We can also forward your landline number to a cell phone, so you will not miss any incoming calls – ask if we can do that for you too. We not fully implemented this new option but we trialing it now.

Maintenance windows — what we do at night when most of you are sleeping.

The equipment and lines providing service to your home or office occasionally needs to be taken out of service for a period of time for equipment upgrades or to replace a faulty piece of equipment. Most often, this work is done during the early Maintenance Window which begins at midnight and lasts until 6 a.m. We do this to minimize impact for most users who are sleeping at night or whose offices are closed.

We realize this isn’t the case for all of our customers, but it’s definitely the majority. In fact, the work usually takes much less time that the six hours allotted, but like the window for appointments, we schedule sufficient time in case unplanned circumstance arise that cause the work to take longer than expected.

If you are burning the midnight oil and experience a problem with your service from midnight to 6 a.m., please don’t assume we are doing maintenance. Call us to report the problem from an alternate phone at 1-888-CALL-TDS. You never know when you might need it.) Our repair technician on-call will be able to determine if the problem you are experiencing is due to any maintenance being performed on our network.

So there you have it… maintenance and service windows explained. Do you have any questions?

About Rick Paine

Rick Paine is a supervisor in the TDS Customer Repair department. He has been in the phone business for 33 years and has done a wide variety of jobs, all in the technical side of the business. For over 20 years, he was a Central Office technician, who worked on the equipment that provides dial tone and routes call to and from our customers. When he started working in the phone business, it was for an independent telephone company, Arvig Telephone that was later acquired by TDS Telecom in August 1994. In the early days there were still mechanical offices in some of our exchanges, while others had some first generation electronic switching offices. During the years, he has also done inside wiring, repaired outside cable problems, worked on two-way radios and microwave systems, installed and maintained PBX’s and key systems, and a number of other tasks too numerous to detail at this time. Rick will be your resource for all things Tips and Advice in our Blog. He’s seen and done it all in the telecom business.

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