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Ting control panel rolls out en masse

A couple of months ago, we opened up the new Ting control panel in preview mode to anyone interested in a sneak peek and willing to help us kick the tires. The feedback we received overall has been great (thanks for that!) and has helped to shape a few tweaks and updates to the control panel.

It’s now ready for prime-time: Effective today, the Ting control panel 2.0 takes over where the previous iteration left off for all Ting accounts. In other words, it’s time to say goodbye to the Ting control panel and its multicolored usage charts and hello to the new dashboard with its Pokemon Pokeball-looking usage charts… among other improvements too numerous to mention but not so numerous that we won’t mention a few in the next paragraph. While dashboard 1.0 will be remembered fondly, we’re much happier with this, the new version of the control panel.

The new Ting account control panel was designed to make it easier to manage multiple devices under one account. However, we also added things like more customizable alerts for individual devices under an account and even added the option to suspend a device that’s using more of your shared minutes, messages and megabytes than it should. In the new control panel you can also set global standard device settings. For example, rather than going with the default settings that we provide you can create a ruleset for each new device activated on your account. For example, turn international calling and tethering off and turn picture and video messaging on in the global settings and each new device you activate will automatically have these settings applied. You can still administer services on each device individually and changing your global settings will only affect new activations, not devices currently activated on your account.

While the switch to the new account control panel might feel a little jarring at first, we can assure you that we’ve learned a lot about how people use the Ting account control panel in the past year or so and have implemented all that we’ve learned into this new version. It’s more user-friendly, it gives you more granular control over your usage and your devices, it’s quicker, more logically laid out and overall, it’s a great step forward. We hope you’ll agree.

We’re not done (it’s the Internet… it’s never done!) The control panel is very important to us and it’s vital that it do the things that you need and want it to do. There are more improvements we’re planning for dashboard 2.0 and we’re always looking to implement your feedback, primarily provided via the survey embedded below, into this and subsequent versions of the control panel.

Ting Customer Q&A – Justin Greer

Justin Greer

Ting customer since: March 2012
Previous carrier: Sprint
Monthly savings with Ting: $80/mo.

Where did you first hear about Ting?:

On the forums of a rival MVNO

What was it about Ting that resonated with you and made you want to switch?:

It was more in line with what I wanted as far as a “pay-as-you-go” carrier, whereas the business model of the other potential alternative wasn’t flexible enough for my needs. Ting really hits the sweet spot for me as far as allowing me to use as much as I need and metering my usage to keep costs low.

Were you in contact with a mobile carrier before you made the move to Ting?:

I was on Sprint, and I felt they were charging me way too much for the service they were providing. I did hang on until the end of my contract, so there were no early termination fees incurred.

What kind of savings are you seeing with Ting, month over month?:

Now that our phones are paid for, we end up saving about $80 a month.

How many phones and/or data services do you have on your Ting plan?:

We have two phones.

When you explain Ting to your friends, family and/or random passers by, what do you say?:

I tell everyone that the service is well worth it, and although you have to buy the phone up-front, the savings you get from the service will pay for it in no time flat.

Are you happy you made the move to Ting? Care to elaborate?:

I am positively ecstatic that I found this carrier and made the switch.  The service is awesome, the price is even better and the customer service tops it off.  Add to it that you guys are communicating with the customers on a regular basis, and I have nothing but great things to say about you guys.  Thanks a bunch!

What should we be doing better?:

You have already addressed the main issue I have, which is the lack of high-end, latest and greatest phones. As I have said, you have spoken to this in a few blog posts, so I am satisfied otherwise.

Strategically-Used Devices

One of the many advantages of the Ting pricing plan is that you can spend very little on a device that you use sparingly. You pay just $6 a month to keep that device active. You only pay for usage at all if it pushes your total account into a new bucket. If it is your only device, the buckets start at just $3 a month. You can use just one kind of service (voice, data, text) and leave the others at $0. Of course, if you do want to ramp up your usage at any time, the plan is there to accommodate you fairly.

In the context of choices out there, it’s the flexibility you might get from pre-paid with the efficiencies (account sharing), ease of use (no topping up), features and support you expect from an account on a major carrier.

Since launch, we have heard a bunch of great stories from customers about strategically-used Ting devices. A couple of these were in the “wow, we never even thought of that” category for us so I figured I’d share them.

The Leash

There were a bunch of moms and dads at our meetup in LA this week talking about this. They’re not quite ready to hand over a phone entirely to their kids (at which point, they will appreciate the visibility, alerts and administrative control they get in the new Ting dashboard), but they do want to be able to stay in touch with them after dropping them off at a movie or the mall. So, we’re talking around age 12 here. The feature phone (or maybe low end smartphone) comes out of the drawer when they need it and back in the drawer when they don’t.

The Backup

This one came from our buddies Robert and Carmela over at The Bike Stop in Philly. (No, I didn’t just Rick Roll you. That’s the site.) They have cable and Wifi at the bar and they rely heavily on data for crucial functions like credit card processing and inventory management. They realized that they should probably have a Plan B. So they keep a Huawei hotspot by the register. If they need it, they turn it on and tether all their machines to it. The usage simply gets pooled with the Ting smartphones they use every day. If they don’t need it, it’s $6 a month.

The Passport

It turns out we solve a big problem for people who don’t live in the US but spend a ton of time here for business or pleasure. People like our Canadian friend Amber MacArthur. (It’s my blog post and I’ll name drop if I want to.) These folks have either been living in the world of pre-paid (topping up, expiring minutes, random fees), enduring ungodly roaming charges or just going offline between landlines and Wifi. With Ting, they get their “US phone” set up to work just like their everyday phone and they’re all set. Or maybe they tether their everyday phone to their Ting phone and just use the Ting phone for voice. (Either way, they need to remember to shut off data roaming on both phones so they don’t end up getting slammed on the wrong side of the border.)

Right now, non-US residents can only activate a Ting phone on the site if they have a US credit card. It is on our backlog to make this available for everyone on the site.

My Dad

I’ll use my own example here. “Dad, we don’t have to synchronize watches. I’ll call you when I’m walking up to the stadium.” “OK, I’ll try to remember to turn my phone on.” “Why don’t you just keep your phone on?” “I don’t know, I don’t want to rack up charges for any reason.” “Are you planning on butt-dialing Bolivia? I’m one of like three people that knows your cellphone number.” “We have a small plan and I don’t want to get hit with overages.” Ah, yes, overages. Now, to be clear, putting a senior parent on your plan means putting yourself in the role of account administrator and customer support. It’s a generous thing to do. To be honest, I haven’t done it yet.

If anyone has more examples of how the Ting plans have helped solve a particular problem (or maybe examples of problems that nobody seems to be solving just yet), please let us know.

Ting Customer Q&A – Chris Bolton

Chris Bolton

Ting customer since: June 2012
Previous carrier: Sprint
Monthly savings with Ting: Now has two devices on one plan for the same price as his one-device Sprint plan.

Where did you first hear about Ting?:

On Hacker News awhile back, I believe.

What was it about Ting that resonated with you and made you want to switch?:

Well designed website with a clear message of what Ting was trying to achieve and what kind of service it was providing to potential customers.

Were you in contact with a mobile carrier before you made the move to Ting?:

My contract with Sprint ended naturally.

What kind of savings are you seeing with Ting, month over month?:

It’s not a whole lot cheaper, mostly due to my heavy data usage, but for someone with lighter data usage the voice and text plans are phenomenal. Not to say the data plan is bad or expensive =P. I should also mention, however, I’m now paying for two people in place of just myself for about the same price, so pretty awesome when you consider that.

How many phones and/or data services do you have on your Ting plan?:

2

When you explain Ting to your friends, family and/or random passers by, what do you say?:

That they /will/ save them cash and have bar-none the best customer service ever. I’m not actually sure words can convey the breadth of the distance between the customer service quality of Ting compared to other carriers.

Are you happy you made the move to Ting? Care to elaborate?:

Definitely. As I said above, less money for better service. What else can you ask for?

What should we be doing better?:

The only qualm I’m come across is that the pricing model isn’t exactly “pay for what you use” as advertised. It’s pay for whatever price block you fall into. For example, if I happen to use 1,100MB of data this month, I’m bumped up from $24 to $42 and pay for 2000MB, even if I only went over the limit by 100MB. Smaller blocks or actual pay for what you use would be better, but I can see how this might be a better business model for Ting.

Let them have cake
… and a promotion too!

Way back in the early days of launch, a core team of customer-focused individuals worked day and night, smoothing out and sweating all the little details around the kind of service and support we hoped to offer Ting customers.

Over time, it became apparent that a couple of individuals could be counted on time and again to help build a support offering we could be proud of.

Today, I’m happy to share with you all that yesterday we celebrated the promotions of Mike Whitman and Monte Shen, two members of the Customer Experience team who have earned the title of Senior Customer Advisor; with their help, our task always seemed a little bit less daunting, and a heckuva lot more fun.

I hope this blog post finds a place on their respective parents’ refrigerators and their moms will brag to friends and family about how their sons are improving the way customer service is delivered by a mobile company.

Thanks for your hard work fellas!