Mike Marshall’s one-stop communications and entertainment emporium, The Signal Spot, offers multiple choices for individuals and families searching for simplicity in the digital cable and satellite jungle.
Marshall makes it easy for his customers to make the right choice and become informed on various options amid the myriad of carriers and providers competing for their consumer dollars. From high-speed internet, satellite and broadband tv entertainment and residential and business landline, The Signal Spot is an advocate for the customer and carries an eclectic electronic menu of services from premier sources like BendBroadband, Dish Network, Direct TV, CenturyLink and Yellowknife Wireless.
“I started working in the home services industry with cellular and television back in 2003 and managing a local cell phone shop selling Dish Network,” said Marshall. “In 2005 I was recruited by Clearwire and got some experience in wireless internet, TV, landline and cellular service and since then I’ve been invested primarily in home services for the Bend area and all over the United States.
“I was one of the first Clearwire employees and was brought on to help with the launch back in 2005. As in most new companies, they bring in a lot of guys to brand the name and I noticed a trend to lay off employees once they were established. At the end of 2006 I had the idea to branch off on my own and rehire the employees they were laying off. They were still great performers and everything, that was just Clearwire’s strategy.”
Marshall traveled extensively throughout the Western United States from Stockton to Seattle and Boise as an independent rep with a stable of subcontractors. After two weary years and thousands of miles, he wanted to centralize everything to be operated out of Bend and be able to stay home with his family.
“In 2008 we launched a national call center out of one of the Clearwire retail stores and began with eight employees,” he explained. “Our very first month in October we did a record number of sales to the tune of $134,000 and proved Clearwire wrong that a central call center couldn’t be effective.
“From there we moved into our own place at the Waterside Building in Bend and grew rapidly. By the end of 2009 we capped out at 65 employees and became the biggest Clearwire retailer nationwide and among the top five percent of all Dish Network retailers. In January of 2010 when we were at our prime, we got a 30-day notice from Clearwire that they’d drastically cut commissions to the point where we couldn’t make it anymore.”
After making drastic pricing changes and reducing staff, Marshall and his crew rebuilt the business. But three months later, Clearwire delivered another notice to reduce commissions again. So, unable to make any money selling the services, they decided to shut down the call center in September of 2011, bringing their focus back to Central Oregon and launching their new retail store called The Signal Spot.
“Our motto is ‘switching service made easy and fun.’ We want people to know this can all be a smooth, streamlined shopping experience without the hassles and stress of calling separate companies for each specific product or service. We know all the hidden activation costs and startup fees the companies don’t tell you about and can guide people effortlessly through the transitions as quickly and simply as possible.
“We go above and beyond for our customers by saving them money and educating them on the services available. We hold free one-hour Information Spot training seminars that are fun and informative. We understand how quickly technology changes. It’s crazy. We’re in the industry and it’s even tough for us to stay on top of the latest trends, enhancements and advancements.”
The next training session is a Dish Network orientation and any new or existing customers attending are entitled to a five-dollar discount on their monthly bill for ten months.
“We teach you cool skills to utilize Dish Network to its fullest ability,” he said. “All those buttons on the remotes can be overwhelming. What I want to stress is that this is a class for all technology levels, from the simple stuff like using your remote properly to recording programs to your DVR and surfing the guide, to more advanced topics like using Dish Online, Blockbuster Movie Pass and downloading Dish Network apps to your iPhone or iPad that enable you to watch live TV anywhere in the world.”
Marshall and his current staff of six just started ramping up the focus on their retail outlet these past couple months and have begun rebuilding their employment staff.
“We’re working on an exciting enterprise later this year that will re-launch a new call center in Central Oregon and get back to providing jobs for our local residents, while continuing to help consumers save dollars on their utility bills. I love living and working in the Bend area. Being able to work less and play more and provide that for our employees is something we’re pushing hard toward now.”
The Signal Spot is located at 335 NE Greenwood Ave. in Bend. For information on upcoming classes or service questions contact them at www.thesignalspot.com or 541-701-2263.