Life After Alltel: Businesses Rise From Ashes

by Jamie Walden  on Monday, May. 4, 2009 12:00 am  

Kevin Halpin, left, and Mike Stafford are using the skills they gained at Alltel to launch their own company, the Customer Experience Group.

Rather than starting over from scratch, Halpin and Stafford decided to build onto their existing skill sets as “customer experience” experts.

The Customer Experience Group LLC is “formulated around something that we call ‘total customer respect.’ And that was an approach and a concept that drove market share and profit gains at Alltel that were beyond our wildest imagination,” Halpin said. 

“And basically what it represents … is a way of pinpointing a company’s greatest strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of its customers.”

Halpin said the Customer Experience Group helps clients simultaneously build market share, profits and customer loyalty. “We do this by helping our clients harness the power of the Web, social media and direct customer feedback to find and eliminate costly product and service defects that often go undetected or unaddressed.

“Our past experience [at Alltel] shows that such an approach can often net significant short-term cost savings and exponential long-term revenue gains through a growing, loyal customer base.”

While Stafford and Halpin plan to use their telecom contacts, their services can be applied in almost any field, Halpin said.

“Any firm that has a continuous and ongoing relationship with its customer that they need to nurture and maintain will be great targets for our businesses.”

Although the two entrepreneurs don’t expect their reputation as ex-Alltel execs to buoy them forever, they do anticipate a boost from that bullet point on their résumés.

“There’s only so long that we can go out and knock on doors and say, ‘Hey, we’re amongst the guys who created those great results at Alltel and therefore you should trust us with your future. ... But we think we’re at this unique moment in time in our economy where American businesses need to retrench, get focused on providing a superior product and service to their customers and find a way to grow their businesses through that,” Halpin said.

“If companies can unlock a 10th of the potential of harnessing customer experience improvements that Alltel did, we’ll be doing them a great service.”

More Newbies
A handful of folks from the leadership development branch of Alltel have started Upper Right Leadership.

The new Arkansas company’s CEO, Steve Mosley, served as Alltel’s director of leadership development before the merger with Verizon. David Black, former staff manager in charge of training at Alltel, is now president of Upper Right Leadership and Steve Dwyer, Alltel’s SVP of leadership development, is an Upper Right partner. John Cryer, VP of sales, is also part of Upper Right, but is still working on the Alltel divestiture team until the markets are sold off.



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