Verizon Earns Top Telecom Ranking in Study of Online Service by Fortune 100 Companies

NEW YORK - Verizon provides the same high-quality service it routinely offers over the phone and in person to customers who now do business with the company on its Web site, according to a study of the Fortune 100 companies, which ranked Verizon tops in the telecommunications industry and among the top 10 companies overall.

The 2002 Online Customer Respect Study of The Fortune 100 Companies - performed by The Customer Respect Group in Bellevue, Wash. - analyzed how well companies on the list serve customers who use their Web sites. The study rated Verizon as sixth best overall, third in online privacy and first in how well it explains online policies to customers, called "transparency" in the survey.

"Since we launched Verizon.com as an e-commerce site, it has always been our goal to make sure customers who order a product there, review a bill or make a payment receive the same superior quality of service they are accustomed to when they interact with our employees on the phone or in person," said Maria Malicka, Verizon executive director in retail markets.

"We will continue to use the best technology and our highly skilled marketing, service and information technology teams to continue delivering service innovations on our Web site. We strive to make it easy for customers to do business with us," Malicka said. "Many of our customers told us they wanted the capability of doing businesses with us on the Internet, and we listened."

Verizon's high rating for online privacy reflects the company's commitment to protecting the privacy of its customers.

"Our commitment to privacy is demonstrated by our adoption of the best privacy principles in the industry while vigilantly ensuring that our practices remain consistent with them," said David Valdez, Verizon's chief privacy officer. "This has made Verizon the leader in protecting customer privacy, and it is encouraging to receive this type of recognition."

Since Verizon.com was launched as an e-commerce site in October 2001, over 2.5 million Verizon customers have registered on the site. They regularly visit the site to order products and services, view and pay monthly bills, report service problems, ask questions about a bill and learn about new products and technologies.

Researchers for The Customer Respect Group posed as customers and visited the Web sites of all 100 companies, sending e-mail inquiries and testing some 25 different Web site attributes. When the research was concluded, each company was rated in six areas to arrive at an overall rating between one and 10. The six areas were: principles, transparency, privacy, responsiveness, simplicity and attitude. Verizon received an overall score of 8.9 out of 10.

Within the telecommunications industry, Verizon finished first out of the eight companies whose Web sites were studied, including the major long distance companies and the largest local phone companies.

"The (Verizon) privacy policy is excellent with sound underlying principles," the study said of Verizon's site. "The company displays an exemplary standard of responsiveness to inquiries."

The Customer Respect Group is an international research and consulting firm that uses its Customer Respect Index methodology to help companies improve how they treat their customers online. The Customer Respect Index (CRItm) and iWitnesstm methodology provide companies with actionable and measurable data to enhance their customers' online experience. For additional information, visit www.customerrespect.com.

"Our 2002 Online Customer Respect Study demonstrated that Verizon understands the power of the Internet and has extended its customer-focused philosophy to its Web site," said Donal Daly, CEO of The Customer Respect Group. "Through the adoption of key elements of the Customer Respect Index, Verizon is in a position to further improve the loyalty and satisfaction of its customers. We look forward to reviewing Verizon's site in our March 2003 Telecom Sector study."

Verizon Communications

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 33 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.