To make way for the new 930 area code in southwestern Indiana, 10-digit dialing will become required come September 6th. However, the addition of three digits is forcing one Evansville company to re-program 30 years worth of business. It's a massive undertaking and Danny Koester, the president of ABK, worries another hurdle might force an extension of that deadline.
"On March 1st, all of the providers for phone companies were supposed to be ready for 10-digit numbers. The only company that was ready that we're aware of is WOW!," Koester said. "We have to wait on the telephone providers to get those digits in place before we can go out there."
This hang-up is delaying the conversion process, Koester said. Thousands of security systems, alarms and medical devices all have to be reconfigured to match the 10-digit numbers. If not, the units might not work, Koester said. ABK has also re-configured the hardware at it's call center which fields 1.6 million calls a year. The undertaking, Koester said, is almost overwhelming.
"We're up to 7 or 8 [additional] people and that's what they do 85 percent of the time. That's all they do, try to contact our customers, work out a time schedule with them where we can come out or whatever has to be done to get these numbers changed," Koester said.
Koester offers products that provide security and confidence but he's concerned everything can be converted in time. He's pushing for an extension of the September 6th deadline because safety could be at risk, Koester said.
"We're having a hard time sleeping at night. It's bothering us this bad," Koester said. "One of the things we've taken pride in over the years is taking care of the customers. For the first time in 30 years, it's going to be a challenge."
Koester said he's making the changes at no cost to his customers. It's also a huge drain on his resources. By the time everything is done, Koester anticipates his employees spending more than 6000 hours making the switch.