"To us, it was important to partner with someone as reputable as Google," Cindy Tomlinson, TDS spokesperson, said.
"(The partnership with Google) was an opportunity for providing a more robust platform with more features and functionality," she added.
As part of the first group to transition, Monroe customers reported a large number of legitimate e-mails were being placed in their SPAM folders; they also reported receiving a large amount of SPAM, in general, during the transition.
TDS engineers and technicians worked with Google to identify the problem and correct the way e-mail was being handled for customers on the new platform.
TDS reports the situation has been resolved.
During the transition, customers complained of long hold times when calling in for assistance.
Because of the SPAM issue, more people called in and the call-in time increased, Tomlinson said. TDS had hired 50 people prior to the conversion to handle the expected increased call-ins. Since then they added 20 more employees to handle calls, which made the upfront costs to the company "significant," Tomlinson said.
"We are regretful that people experienced the call volume and SPAM issue. But because they did call in, we're appreciative, because it put us in a position to hire the 20 more people and allows us to help more people across the nation," Tomlinson said.
TDS began upgrading its free TDS e-mail service to the popular Google Web-based platform for customers in the rest of the nation Feb. 24. It's being staged over the course of six weeks to ensure customers can be assisted. TDS sent Monroe customers three postcards, two e-mails and a bill insert introducing the Google platform in preparation for the transition.
Customers with questions can visit www.tdstelecom.com/selfservice (keyword search: Google upgrade) or call TDS at 1-888-225-5837 (1-888-CALL-TDS).