GrandCentral on lifetime number reassigns: one of our "smaller carriers" blew it

Craig at now Google-owned GrandCentral posts an explanation of why more than 400 GC accounts were unable to keep their "lifetime" numbers, and thus had to be reassigned new numbers.The issue, it seems, is being caught by surprise by a pre-Google supplier who had cold-kicked GrandCentral by sending them a 30-day notice that they were exiting certain markets.

Craig at now Google-owned GrandCentral posts an explanation of why more than 400 GC accounts were unable to keep their "lifetime" numbers, and thus had to be reassigned new numbers.

The issue, it seems, is being caught by surprise by a pre-Google supplier who had cold-kicked GrandCentral by sending them a 30-day notice that they were exiting certain markets.

Certain markets and area codes where they were the supplier of local phone numbers then made available to GrandCentral subscribers in their calling regions.

My first reaction to this post is that although the candor of this post is admirable for its forthrightness, it should have been made a week ago when the notices first went out.

As Skype has learned, there's a credibility penalty to pay if you don't get into crisis management and full frontal explanatory mode as soon as it hits the fan.

With that said, here is the explanation of what went down. 

(1) One of our smaller underlying carriers (which we had been using prior to the Google acquisition), which had been reliably providing similar services for years (and provided numbers and connectivity to lots of other providers)–sent us a notice that they’d be exiting certain markets and disconnecting some phone numbers in 30 days. This caught us by surprise and although we were not happy about this, there was no way we could stop them from doing this.

(2) We immediately began porting all of these numbers to a one of our larger carrier partners and we were able to get nearly all of these numbers ported successfully.

(3) Unfortunately, 434 phone numbers could not be ported over.

(4) Once we found this out, we immediately sent an email to these users letting them know that we had to change their numbers to another one in the same area code and we automatically added these numbers to their accounts. We provided a direct email link to help them with any issues or concerns they may have, let users choose alternative numbers more to their liking, and offered any other assistance that would help them.

HERE’S WHAT WE’RE DOING IN RESPONSE TO THIS:

(1) We’re doing everything we can to ensure that the carriers we’re now using, post-acquisition, are large, reliable, and committed to providing these services long term, and

(2) We’re working with these users to find them numbers they can be happy with and to explain the situation.

Although this affected only 15 of the local areas where we offer services (out of nearly 8,000), we take this matter seriously and have done everything to make the disruptions as limited as possible. If you are one of the affected users and have any issues that have not yet been resolved, feel free to email us at “service at grandcentral dot com” or use the web call button below to leave us a message and we’ll do our best to resolve your issues.

Hopefully, lessons learned all around.