Frontier has won a contract to provide technical support to Intuit, developer of QuickBooks software, said Frontier CEO Maggie Wilderotter at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia Conference in New York today.
Frontier won the contract after a six-month trial period, during which the company’s performance exceeded that of others contending for the same contract, Wilderotter said. The company is currently talking to “a number of other players” about providing the same types of service, she added.
“We are experts in supporting other peoples’ software,” said Wilderotter. She noted that the company white labels a variety of its offerings through partnerships and that “our secret sauce is Premiere Tech Support.”
That product provides 24/7 computer help, including help with software. It is one of several offerings that are part of a product suite that Frontier calls Frontier Secure. The product suite also includes backup, identity protection and other offerings.
“We’re very bullish on this suite,” said Wilderotter. About 17% of broadband customers take one of the products from this suite, generating average additional monthly revenue of about $10 a month, she said. Frontier does not currently have a home monitoring offering but is looking at launching such an offering, Wilderotter said.
Frontier’s performance is quite similar to what Windstream CEO Jeff Gardner noted for similar offerings from that company at today’s conference. Windstream also averages $10 a month on services added to its broadband offering, according to Gardner. One quarter of Windstream’s customers purchase such offerings, he said.
New channel partners
Another interesting move that Frontier has made is to rely more heavily on channel partners to sell its residential and commercial services. Previously the company relied on its call center and a direct commercial sales force. But as Wilderotter explained, “we really beefed up our focus on strategic partnerships. “ Today, she said, the company has “other folks selling on our behalf where potential customers go to buy.”
Frontier President Dan McCarthy provided some additional details. Channel partners with whom the company has seen the most success include digital marketers and door-to-door salespeople, he said. The door-to-door salespeople are effective for selling triple-play services, McCarthy noted.
When using channel partners such as these, “the payback is usually two months for commissions . . . we wind up paying,” noted Wilderotter. “The cost per gross [customer addition] is not as important as the payback.”
Between 32% and 35% of Frontier’s revenue is now generated through channel partners, according to Wilderotter.