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Parkerson changes duties with TDS Telecom

TDS Telecom Inc. will be making a few internal corporate changes effective April 1, but general manager Jerry Parkerson said the public would not even notice these changes.

The company has decided to arrange its internal structure to focus on function, Parkerson said, and that means more specialization. Under this plan, Parkerson will no longer be the general manager in charge of the daily operations covering the 45 square miles between Pellissippi Parkway and the Loudon County line.

“I will become the marketing manager for the Halls, Tellico and Farragut areas,” he said. “I’ll be responsible for the marketing and public relations for these areas. I’ll work with local governments, schools, the chambers of commerce and be a sort of interface between the local level and the national corporate people. It means you’ll see my face at more meetings.”

Parkerson will no longer handle the day-to-day operations of the Farragut office. He said the restructuring would create a business office, which will be managed by Joy Brown, who is being brought in from another TDS office.

“She will be responsible for the customer care of the consumer market,” Parkerson said. “She will also be responsible for small businesses with one or two phone lines.”

Plant manager Ernest Joyner will be responsible for the technical side of the business in Farragut, Parkerson said.

Parkerson expects there to be a transition period of several months in which he would still have to consult on operations matters as he settles into his new niche in marketing, but said the TDS focus will still remain on customer service.

“I’m looking forward to the change,” he said.

He said this decision to restructure came about as a result of much corporate introspection and technological transition.

“A telephone company today doesn’t mean what it did twenty years ago,” Parkerson said. “Due to changes in technology, practically all the other phone companies have something else going on.”

For example, “phone company” used to just refer to the company that provided a dial tone for telephones. Parkerson said most phone companies now provide dial tone; specialty features, such as call waiting; Internet access; and even television service.

“Traditionally, our company and others have been designed around geography,” Parkerson said. “As the complexity of service technology has increased, it’s more difficult for everyone to be trained in all the areas they need.”

The company used to try and train all its employees in all aspects of service with the idea being that anyone would be able to assist customers on any matter. Parkerson said technology has increased at such a rapid pace that all of the 2,000 TDS employees across 28 states would remain in constant training and be unable to assist with customers.

“The company first got the idea a few years ago, and it decided to specialize by creating a call center right here in Farragut,” Parkerson said. “Then it created one in Madison, Wis., which gave customers two different time zones, so they had more opportunity to call.”

The national call centers proved to be a great move.”


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