NSCA’s 2021 Stepping Up Award winner in the Customer Experience category, Forward Edge, realized that its education customers were facing tremendous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic—so the integrator stepped up.
Typically, during the annual Business & Leadership Conference (BLC), NSCA’s Excellence in Business awards honor systems integration firms and their efforts to implement new strategies to navigate the constantly changing industry; however, the past year hasn’t been typical. NSCA has seen its members pivot and rise to the occasion in the face of daunting business challenges. So, during the 2021 BLC, NSCA recognized five integration companies that stepped up in various ways with our one-time-only Stepping Up Awards.
Forward Edge earned a 2021 Stepping Up Award in the Customer Experience category.
Employees at Forward Edge are adamant that customer service is always their highest priority—and nobody doubts that. But the K-12-focused integrator managed to elevate its customer service even more during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The integration company saw many of its education customers struggling to adjust to a remote learning environment and responded in several ways. Forward Edge’s team of technology integration specialists pulled together an expansive library of distance learning resources and tools for districts to use to adjust to online learning.
“At the end of the day, our role is to provide technology and solutions in education to produce a better student outcome in the classroom,” says COO Chip Logan.
How Forward Edge Elevated Offerings for K-12 Customers
The company offered a best practices guide and instructional “happy hour” webinars. It even held virtual office hours every other day for teachers to ask questions about issues related to data privacy, training, and engaging with students over digital media.
Meanwhile, Forward Edge’s Edge•U online micro-credentialing program helped educators continue professional development during the pandemic—specifically helping them integrate technology into the classroom (or virtual classroom) by learning and implementing new digital tools.
When the company recognized that lack of reliable WiFi was a challenge for many schools, it pursued the concept of supplying WiFi via school parking lots to students and teachers who struggled with limited access. Exterior WiFi APs allowed students and teachers to connect during school activities at all times of the day. WiFi coverage can be placed in parking lots or in easily accessible outdoor areas and extends in all directions with an omnidirectional antenna (barring physical obstructions). For many school districts across the region, this plan greatly expanded community WiFi access.
While Forward Edge’s goal was to provide great customer service during the pandemic, it seems like the business outcome will last much longer than COVID-19. “From a stickiness standpoint and doing what’s best for that customer, the impact was huge,” Logan says. “Our goal is to retain these customers for life. When you go above and beyond, I don’t think it could have been a better experience for us and the customer.”
NSCA congratulates all the 2021 Stepping Up Award winners. For more on the Stepping Up Awards and the 23rd annual Business & Leadership Conference, click here.