Customer Service Edge Begins with its Network Operations Center

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Satcom Direct was founded on customer service. Our organization is constantly innovating with cutting-edge hardware, software evolution and training sessions to ensure flight operations can offer uninterrupted inflight connectivity to their passengers. This SD ecosystem ensures we provide superior customer service to those flight departments.

However, the true test is what happens when something goes wrong.

Gerry Connell, Satcom Direct’s Director of Customer Operations, talked with us about a recent event regarding a company’s executive who was traveling to an important event in Japan. While in the air over the Pacific Ocean, the flight ops team got an email directly from the CEO. He simply wrote, ‘Inflight WIFI is out, fix ASAP!’

As Connell explains, this situation encapsulates the SD difference. First, the flight operations team had a single point of contact at Satcom Direct, a significant benefit in itself. Every aspect of the inflight connectivity solution is managed by Satcom Direct, meaning customers needn’t keep a cumbersome list of vendors to contact about various issues. The instant the CEO’s email was received, the flight operations manager called the SD support team, reaching the Network Operations Center (NOC) in seconds.

“The NOC is the beating heart of Satcom Direct’s customer support operations,” explains Connell. “Staffed by 30 experts, it’s responsible for solving any problem with satellite communications. It also aids with aerospace cybersecurity threats or groups/individuals requiring assistance with other services like private aircraft flight tracking.” Physically, the NOC is reminiscent of NASA’s mission control. Its command center is dominated by massive video displays providing up-to-the-second details on SD’s network and the inflight connectivity status of customers.

The NOC team has also grown in size and capacity as SD has brought new services to market. Always on the lookout for specialists with networking expertise, SD hires network pros with the right attitude and then helps them learn the aviation aspect as part of their training. This is essential, as the NOC team is tasked with keeping vigilant watch over the entire Satcom Direct network. And because SD provides clients with satellite Wi-Fi hardware and services, the team has an unparalleled ability to drill down into the network and discover whether a service interruption is caused by hardware or another issue.

“The NOC’s attention to detail is so intricate that the team is often able to proactively warn customers that a portion of a flight may have spotty service due to issues like poor satellite visibility,” adds Connell. “This insight gives flight operations professionals the flexibility to make route changes or alert passengers that their service may be intermittent.”

As one more sign of its commitment to its customers, the NOC is constantly operating. After all, SD’s customers expect around-the-clock support . Having a 24/7/365 ability to serve as a single point of contact for connectivity trouble is invaluable. Solving problems—even before they occur—is central to SD’s mission of providing unmatched support. So, how did the NOC team respond to the CEO’s email?

“The NOC is used to receiving somewhat vague requests for help, so they managed to glean important clues from that short message,” says Connell. “Since the CEO’s email did reach the flight operations team, inflight connectivity wasn’t actually down, but running slow.”

In response, the NOC team quickly ran an analysis on the system’s hardware components. Turns out, the SD network was running at its normal fast speeds, and the aircraft router and antenna were functioning normally. The satellite signal to the aircraft was strong, eliminating a hardware problem. The SD team suspected the source of the issue was excessive usage of the aircraft’s bandwidth.

A quick dive into the passengers’ inflight Wi-Fi usage proved this to be true. “Satcom Direct’s NOC specialist determined that just two devices on board were using the entire available bandwidth to post networking-clogging videos to social media,” says Connell. “Working with our flight ops team, we determined the CEO didn’t have social media accounts on the platforms in use—however, his two teenagers on board did.”

As soon as this revelation was relayed to the flight team, the teens were told to halt their video posting, and the CEO’s service returned to normal levels. “Relieved, and a little annoyed by his kids, the executive completed his video conference and took care of other matters while airborne instead of suffering more costly delays, all thanks to the immediate customer support provided by the NOC at Satcom Direct,” says Connell.

Your passengers deserve the type of aviation connectivity support that only Satcom Direct can provide. If you want the best inflight connectivity hardware, training, and support available in the market, contact us today. You can travel with ease knowing SD’s NOC is vigilantly monitoring network performance—even before there’s ever a problem in the skies.

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