New 'Easy O' Service Speeds Calls to Bell Atlantic Services

New 'Easy O' Service Speeds Calls to Bell Atlantic Services

Bell Atlantic Customers Find 'Easy 0' Helpful Tool

June 27, 2000


Jim Smith,

WASHINGTON -- Beginning tomorrow, dialing "0" will provide some Washington area callers with shortcuts to many of the Bell Atlantic services they frequently call.

Bell Atlantic is expanding its year-long trial of "Easy 0sm" operator services by giving more than 126,000 customers in Washington and Northern Virginia access to a menu that instantly connects them to services they most often request from operators. The customers are all served by company's DuPont and Braddock Road switching centers, where the trials are being conducted.

"With Easy 0, callers get what they want faster and without having to redial another number," said Kitty Linder, vice president of operator services for Bell Atlantic. "We began testing this new service after studies showed that more than half the calls to '0,' our call completion service, didn't belong there. And when that happened, customers had to redial the correct number or wait to be transferred."

For example, studies revealed 11 percent of callers who dialed "0" actually wanted directory assistance, which is available by dialing 411 directly, avoiding a transfer or redial. Among the more than 40 percent of miscellaneous calls handled by call completion operators were requests for the temperature, the cooking time for turkeys and the number of eggs used to bake a cake.

Nearly 25 percent of calls to operators are from customers who do not know where to call for Bell Atlantic repair service, to order new services or resolve billing questions.

With Easy 0 access, customers hear a standard greeting and then seven choices. Pressing the single digit that matches the appropriate choice makes an instant connection to the service they need.

The options include:

  • traditional operator services of placing collect, bill-to-third party or credit card calls,
  • verification and interruption of a busy line,
  • assistance for callers with special needs,
  • Bell Atlantic local and national 411,
  • telephone repair service,
  • business or residence service centers for ordering services or discussing billing, and
  • automatic connection to the appropriate emergency police, fire or ambulance agency.

Trials of Easy 0 began last July in Wheaton, Md., and recently were expanded to Silver Spring, Md. Customers readily adopted the new service with virtually no negative comments to company researchers.

"Our trial proved that skeptics who say menus are cold and impersonal are wrong," Linder said. "Today, efficiency is a priority, but so is personal service. And with Easy 0 access, customers have it both ways. They get a speedy dispatch of their call to the right person who's ready to help."

The initial trial proved that asking an operator, whose job is to assist in completing calls, for other services or information wasted both the caller's and the operator's time. The new menu eliminates that. Bell Atlantic expects that customers will memorize the menu selections they use the most, further expediting their service.

The first menu option provides an immediate connection to emergency services to expedite assistance for callers who dial 0 instead of 911. Most callers who follow the prompt to "dial 9 now" will be connected automatically to their local public safety emergency answering center. Of course, dialing 911 directly is still the preferred dialing for emergencies.

The trial will be expanded across the Washington regional calling area this summer and eventually into other areas served by Bell Atlantic.

The new menu selections are:

  • For an emergency requiring police, fire or ambulance, press or dial 9 now.
  • To place a collect, calling card or bill-to-third call, press 2. Enter area code and number you are calling now. (Call will be routed to the appropriate carrier, either Bell Atlantic or the customer's toll or long distance carrier).
  • To verify or interrupt a busy line, press 3.
  • To obtain a local or national telephone number or area code information, press 4.
  • To reach Bell Atlantic's repair service, press 5.
  • To reach Bell Atlantic's business office, press 6 (followed by 1 for home service or 2 for business service).
  • To repeat the menu, press 7 now or, for special assistance, please hold for an operator.

The Easy 0 trial in the District of Columbia serves customers in parts of Northwest Washington. The Braddock Road central office serves Burke, parts of Springfield and George Mason University.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 44 million telephone access lines and more than 20 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.