Our General Managers are the glue that keeps our local teams together. They lead local operations and are responsible for every aspect of our customers’ experience with Frontier.
The Frontier West blog recently caught up with Martin Erkela, Frontier General Manager (GM) serving the Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman, Washington communities.
Martin’s career in telecommunications spans nearly 30 years. Before joining the management team at Frontier, he gained firsthand experience finding solutions for customers through his job as a technician, with a focus on operations, engineering and construction.
For the past four years, Martin has served our customers in the Moscow/Pullman market, covering north central Idaho to southeast Washington. “I consider myself, and all of Frontier’s General Managers, as chief customer advocates. We’re all here to help our customers.”
As his area’s GM, Martin gets to “do it all” when working with customers and staff. “As the GM, I field all kinds of calls, including customers who have questions about our telecom products and availability, along with general customer-service questions,” Martin said. “I also get to work with our commercial customers, which entails partnering with small, medium and large enterprises to determine what communications products will best help them achieve their business goals and serve their own customers.”
As the GM, Martin has the unique opportunity to serve as a company ambassador for his community. Each Frontier GM, along with the rest of their local team, is empowered to bring Frontier’s local engagement model to life. “Our local engagement model is unique in that employees, as along with management, get to go out into the communities we serve and tell the Frontier story to civic, government, school organizations and more,” he said. “These local engagement activities provide an open forum where our team is in constant dialogue with our customers and community.”
One of Martin’s favorite aspects of his job? No two days are ever the same! For example, over the course of just one day this past summer, he spent his time “working on staffing resources as we prepare for our busy season with college students returning, advised on a technical escalation and ended the day presenting a check for $5,000 to the local community team for competing in the America’s Best communities competition, sponsored by Frontier and DISH Network.” In addition to these daily duties, at the same time, Martin was in the process of opening up a new Frontier retail store in Moscow, which brings with it a major construction project.
When asked what the most exciting part of this job is, Martin quickly and enthusiastically replied: “Helping customers.” Whether he is working alongside his team to resolve a service delivery problem or billing issue, or sitting down with a customer to determine the product and services that will best fit their communications need, Martin spends a great deal of his time communicating with and finding solutions for our customers — big and small!
As a Frontier employee and GM, Martin noted that some people may be surprised to learn the level of input he and his team have in shaping the new products and offers Frontier is able to offer to our customers. “What’s neat about our role is that we’re allowed to think outside the box. We can sit down with any customer (whether residential or enterprise) and custom build a unique telecommunications solution for them. While most companies try to fit their customers into products and services they are already providing, our environment allows us to find unique custom solutions. We have the power as GMs to dream what could be versus what is.”
On the power of providing the best in customer service and satisfaction, Martin continues: “When you sit down and have a dialogue with a customer and ask, what do you really need? How do you use our products? How can we make this happen in a way that you can afford and that you’d be willing to pay for that can move your life or business to the next level? This is powerful. It says we bring added value to our customers. This provides a win-win situation — our customer gets more than they were asking for and we get a satisfied customer.”
Outside of work, Martin is an active member in his community. Serving on the boards of the Latah County Economic Development Council and Moscow Chamber of Commerce, his activities outside of work are focused on stimulating economic development in the communities in which he lives and works. He also served on the board of directors for SMART Transit, a nonprofit public transportation agency that offers free bus service and dial-a-ride to the citizens of the area — and has previous experience as an emergency responder.