411 on 411: Verizon Service Is Tops in Accuracy

NEW YORK - Verizon's LiveSource operator services team, which answers more than 3 million wireline and wireless directory assistance calls each day, is the best, according to a leading industry study.

The Paisley Group, in its semiannual study of directory assistance services, reported that Verizon led independent local exchange carriers (ILECs) in Customer Fulfillment with a score of 93.7 percent, nearly 1.5 percent over the ILEC average.

"Customer Fulfillment [is] the definitive directory assistance quality standard that by measuring database, operator and speech recognition accuracy, evaluates how often DA callers receive a correct listing report," the Paisley Group said.

Verizon's overall score and resulting improvement were based on raw scores of 96.3 percent in database accuracy (a full percentage point over the industry average) and a 98.7 percent in operator accuracy.

As for automated directory assistance across the industry, where voice recognition systems analyze requests and search for listings, the Paisley Group reported these systems industrywide are accurate 98.1 percent of the time for calls that are fully automated.  In some cases, the systems handed complex listing requests over to operators to allow dialog with customers to assure an accurate search. Verizon introduced self-service directory assistance three years ago.

To test directory assistance services, the Paisley Group established a test sample of listing requests that included business, residential and government listings, including some new listings and some with an expected "not found" result. Geographical distribution, call type and customer type also were managed for statistical accuracy before test calls to the service suppliers were made.

"Our team's mission has always been to deliver accurate numbers quickly," said Kitty Linder, president of Verizon LiveSource, "and that's what motivates our operator training, our investment in technology and our persistent tweaking of our systems and processes.

"Being recognized by the Paisley Group as the best shows our product is effectively serving our traditional and our wholesale customers with what they want and deserve," she said.

The Paisley Group publishes its National Directory Assistance Performance Index twice a year. 

Verizon LiveSource employs nearly 6,000 operators at 56 call centers and serves not only Verizon landline customers but also nearly half the wireless industry, where innovative services like text messages with listings forwarded to wireless handsets and directory assistance in Spanish continue to make 411 a vital communications tool.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a New York-based Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 57 million customers nationwide.  Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks.  Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.