E-Commerce Works: Just Ask 10 Million Verizon Customers

NEW YORK - At least some of more than 10 million Verizon customers have split $9,450,000 in postage savings by paying their bills online since Verizon launched its enhanced Web site 3 1/2 years ago. It's like winning the lottery on a team ticket, at the post office's expense.

According to Verizon statistics, 10 million customers have registered to use the site, www.verizon.com, for everything from product research, to booking repair visits, to activating calling services, all of which once required a lot of work and patience.

"The Web site is our new front door," said Bob Ingalls, president of Verizon's Retail Markets Group. "It's as inviting as a boutique but as powerful as a mega store, because you can do just about any kind of business with us there."

Verizon has continually improved the site since it was built back in 2001 to unify e-commerce for the then-newly formed company. Orders flow directly from the customer right into ordering, billing and provisioning systems. Lines needing repair are automatically tested by Verizon computers when problems are logged at the site. Information about every aspect of Verizon is accessible.

More key statistics: Those 27 million bills paid online were worth $2.4 billion. The 10 million registered users have visited the site 57 million times. In an average week about 15 million total site visits occur, including those from unregistered users, and about 4,000 customers book repairs without touching a phone or talking to a repair clerk.

"E-commerce brings our front door to our customers' PCs," Ingalls said. "All folks have to do is open it and come on in."

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of 212,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 45.5 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.