Among the most visible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are its immediate threat to lives and livelihoods. In the background, however, is another serious result of the pandemic—food insecurity. According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, there are 37 million people—11 million of them children—struggling with hunger in the midst of the pandemic. Effects of food insecurity can include serious health complications, damage to children’s ability to learn and grow, and some older citizens on fixed incomes forced to decide between paying for food or health care. In April, NISC pledged support for Feeding America by inviting employees to donate to Feeding America or purchase “Work From Home” gear, with a portion of proceeds going to the hunger-relief organization. NISC chose to continue its support for combating food insecurity via the Co-op Strong initiative during THRIVE ’20, a virtual learning event for NISC Members taking place Oct. 13-14. “Feeding America is such an inspiration and true example of thriving despite challenging times,” said Susan Imm, NISC vice president of Sales and Marketing. THRIVE attendees have the option to donate or purchase THRIVE T-shirts, with proceeds going to Feeding America. Shirts can be ordered on the THRIVE Co-op Strong web page. When completing the order, be sure to select “Continue As Guest.” The opportunity to order a shirt in support of Feeding America will be available leading up to and throughout THRIVE. “Thank you for your support. We can’t do our work without contributions from individuals and corporations, so we are deeply grateful for the funds you’re raising. It’s really a critical time,” said Lauren Biedron, Feeding America vice president of corporate sponsorships. Hear from Biedron about how you can help make a [...]
The auction is nearing, but it is imperative your vision goes beyond the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) deadline. Successful broadband projects are not happenstance. You need enterprise technology to capitalize and optimize. Best of breed IT solutions won’t cut it. Silos of information impede efficiency. A completely integrated enterprise solution should be the backbone of your broadband project – and the heart of customer satisfaction. With seamless workflows from customer care and marketing to operations and government regulations, it is core to have an enterprise system in place supported by a true technology partner. The time is now to take action. The time is now to partner with NISC. Click here to put your auction plans into action!
Welcome to episode 7 of our Navigating COVID-19 Podcast series! In this episode we’re speaking with Charlie Cano, CEO of ETEX Telephone Cooperative in Gilmer, Texas. ETEX was formed in 1952 to meet the communication needs of people living in rural northeast Texas. In their more than 60 years in business, ETEX has grown into a company covering a service territory of 710 square miles and providing service to over 12,600 members and customers. In this episode, Charlie shares how ETEX put processes in place to ensure the safety of their employees and customers during the pandemic as well as how their partnership with local schools in their community is helping with virtual learning. Have a story you’d like to share? Please email Jennifer Segelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to episode 6 of our Navigating COVID-19 Podcast series! In this episode we’re speaking with Stephanie Johnson, Marketing and Member Services Manager for Jasper County REMC in Rensselaer, Indiana. Jasper County serves about 31,000 people in a small county in northwest Indiana, and Stephanie emphasized the importance of their organization helping businesses during the pandemic as well as working with members on options to pay their bills, including partial payments. Have a story you’d like to share? Please email Jennifer Segelle at email@example.com.
Welcome to episode 5 of our Navigating COVID-19 Podcast series! In this episode we’re speaking with Dr. Michel Guité, CEO of Vermont Telephone Company (VTel), in Springfield, Vermont. Dr. Guité shares how VTel worked with local schools in their communities to ensure students had access to reliable internet connections and the value in continuing to provide excellent customer service during the pandemic. Have a story you’d like to share? Please email Jennifer Segelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Providing your customers with communication options is essential as we rely more on technology to stay connected. Making that communication simple is critical. Now, you can enhance that connectivity and communication by leveraging the new outage two-way texting feature. Powered by the NISC enterprise, the new two-way texting feature utilizes the accessibility of SmartHub, along with the communication power of Messenger and NISC's Outage Management System (OMS), to provide an easy, convenient way for your members and customers to report and receive updates on an outage. "Efficient communication is always essential, but has become critical during these uncertain times," said Amber Wesche, NISC product manager for SmartHub. "The ability to report an outage and receive updates via text is going to give our Members more flexibility and more options to reach their members and customers efficiently and effectively." Through two-way texting, your members and customers will have the ability to text a key word to you in order to report an outage or receive a status update regarding a current issue. Customers can text OUT to a designated text number to report an outage or STATUS to check the status of their service during an outage, and will receive an automatically generated message to keep them updated. "Two-way outage texting supports our strategic initiative to provide robust outage communication for our members," said Keith Stapleton, chief communications officer at Sam Houston Electric Cooperative. "They've been asking for it, and we expect outage texting to increase member satisfaction." To take advantage of two-way texting, your member or customer must be a registered SmartHub user with a phone number listed as a Messenger contact. Also, NISC's OMS system is a requirement for use.
Welcome to episode 4 of our Navigating COVID-19 Podcast series! In this episode we’re speaking with Katie Pfennigs, Marketing and Communications Supervisor for Flathead Electric Cooperative in Kalispell, Montana. Katie shares how Flathead continued some of their Annual Meeting traditions despite having to cancel their meeting this year, and other ways the cooperative is supporting their community during this time. Have a story you’d like to share? Please email Jennifer Segelle at email@example.com.
At NISC, we see our Members as not only our Member-Owners but also part of our IT cooperative community. In regard to cybersecurity, an educated community is a safer community. We want to help you all achieve a secure workplace – whether in your physical building or in your employees’ homes. Here are the top five threats we are seeing during this pandemic and pointers on how to reduce the threat. Social Distancing, Not Social Engineering In today’s cyberworld, everything is fair game, even your employees. Cybercriminals will go to extreme lengths to trick your employees into opening a hole in your network for them. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, the opportunities for social engineering trickery have increased. With unemployment and stimulus payments being deposited, thieves leverage these hot topics to lure in those unsuspecting victims. Everything from emails with malicious malware embedded to exploit your critical business data, to spam mimicking a legitimate financial institution to trick recipients into giving up their login credentials, the cybercrime tactics evolve where they see a weakness. During times of uncertainty, it’s human nature that the numerous distractions cause our guards to go down. Train your employees to identify signs of a potential phishing campaign and remind them the risk is even greater right now. Is the spelling correct? Does the sender match the email address? Am I expecting this email? Does the email want me to click on or download something? Who should I contact if I see something malicious? When in doubt, follow up before opening up. Remote Collaboration Concerns It is hard to replace face to face communication. Fortunately, technology is helping bridge this disconnect. From emails to instant messaging to video conferences, it is [...]
Welcome to episode 3 of our Navigating COVID-19 Podcast series! In this episode, we hear from Steve Sjoberg, Manager of Communications and Public Relations for Cass County Electric Cooperative in Fargo, North Dakota. Steve discusses Cass County’s recent donation of more than 1,000 face masks to health care providers and first responders in their community, as well as how they are working with other local community leaders to navigate COVID-19. Have a story you’d like to share? Please email Jennifer Segelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to episode 2 of our Navigating COVID-19 Podcast series! In this episode, we hear from Bill Gerski, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Lori Lowe, Manager of Customer Service and Billing Support, and Pete Yastishock, Safety Director, from Tri-Co Connections in Wellsboro, Pa., as they discuss Tri-Co's efforts to continue deploying broadband services in a time when users need it most. They also share some of the cool things they’re doing to help employees in the midst of this pandemic and the measures they are taking to protect both employees and customers. Have a story you’d like to share? Please email Jennifer Segelle at email@example.com.