IRVING, Texas - From Alpha to Zephyr, Verizon customers in Texas received improved service in 2002 and benefited from an expanded choice of communications services.
Verizon pumped $338 million, or about $925,000 a day, into its wireline telecommunications network in the Lone Star state last year. That investment enabled the company to expand availability of advanced services such as digital subscriber line (DSL) and calling features, and improve the reliability of its network.
The company's employees also played an important role in delivering quality service to Texas customers.
"The dedication of Verizon's employees in Texas, driven by a dedication to build lasting, positive customer relationships was evident in the outstanding service that customers received," said Mary Jane Johnston, Texas region operations president, Verizon. "When extraordinary weather wreaked havoc on our network, we fixed problems quickly. Our Texas team improved day-to-day service, and completed the highest number of daily work orders as compared to all other regions that Verizon serves nationwide."
In Texas last year, Verizon improved its overall productivity for repair and installation jobs by 16 percent as compared to the previous year. In addition, Verizon employees in the state reduced the amount of rework, or repeat job assignments, by 25 percent year over year.
A significant factor in delivering the strong service results is the customer service commitment shared by Verizon and the Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents 3,800 Verizon employees in Texas.
"Every time a Verizon employee speaks to a customer on the telephone about a new order or repair request or meets with them at their home or office, the priority is to deliver outstanding service," said Mike Simmons, CWA Local 6171 president in Texas. "The CWA and Verizon share a spirit of service in Texas as large as the state, and that commitment to our customers fuels our regional success."
During 2002, the number of repairs requested per 100 phone lines, known as the "trouble- report rate," averaged 0.95, down from 1.22 in 2001. These repair requests from customers typically include static on a line, an out-of-service line or a malfunctioning calling feature. Verizon's performance surpassed the Texas Public Utility Commission's industry target of 3.0 trouble reports per 100 lines. Customer complaints in Texas also dropped, down 25 percent over the previous year.
Verizon is measured by the Texas PUC in several other areas, including the average time customers wait for installation once they have placed an order, the average time a phone line is out of service, the percentage of repeat trouble reports and the average time it takes employees to answer customer calls made to repair. Verizon beat the industry targets in all of these areas in 2002.
For example, Texas customers requesting services from Verizon receive them on average in less than 19 hours, down from 25 hours the previous year. Verizon has invested in a sophisticated computer network that allows custom calling features to be installed the same day, sometimes even when the customer is still on the phone. The industry objective in this area is about 54 hours, or a little over two days.
In a survey of customers who have had a recent contact with the company, conducted monthly for Verizon, 75 percent of consumers rated Verizon service last year as either outstanding or very good. Among business customers, 81 percent rated Verizon service in 2002 as either outstanding or very good. The survey is conducted monthly for Verizon by an independent firm.
Last summer, Verizon piloted an innovative effort in three North Texas suburbs to provide better repair service. The pilot, received favorably by the public, allowed customers to request early (6-8 a.m.) and late (6-8 p.m.) technician visits for repair. As a result of the successful trial, customers in Carrollton, Denton, Garland, Grapevine, Irving, Lewisville and Plano soon will be able to request late evening repair visits.
Verizon, the nation's biggest spender on communications gear, plans to spend about $7.5 billion on capital projects in its nationwide wireline business alone this year, including continued significant Texas investment.
With its Texas investment, Verizon will sharply expand the number of customers who are able to order its super-fast DSL service that improves their Internet and telecommuting experience. In 2003, Verizon plans to add more than 10 million new telephone lines to its 36 million lines now equipped nationally with DSL, meaning 80 percent of the company's lines will be able to carry the service by year's end. The expansion will include adding more availability in existing DSL markets in Texas plus the launch of DSL service in other cities.
Verizon also will continue to supply more of its technicians with global positioning system capabilities, which is expected to reduce the number of missed appointments with customers.
In addition, the company will continue to augment its new fiber optic network designed to support out-of-franchise, large business customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. These customers have traditionally been limited to SBC and other regional companies for their high-end voice and data services.
To encourage local telephone customers to remain with Verizon, the company also plans to offer additional product bundles that offer discounts on long-distance, wireless and DSL. Verizon introduced its Veriations with DSL bundle in Texas last year, enabling customers to save $15 per month on their DSL service. Nationwide, more than 20 percent of all Verizon wireline customers benefit from similar pricing discounts by subscribing to some type of bundle or packaged offering.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.8 million access line equivalents and 32.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and 229,500 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 30 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.