Verizon Launches Overhaul of Monthly Phone Bill; Year-Long Project to Result in Bill That's Easier to Read and Understand

NEW YORK -- Verizon this month launched a massive program to make the monthly phone bill dramatically easier to read and understand for the company's 30 million consumer and business customers across the country.

Verizon consumers in Delaware, Florida and New Jersey this month will be the first to receive phone bills that have been partially re-designed. Business customers in those states as well as customers in other states will begin to receive the new bill over the next several months, and new enhancements will be added to the improved bills during a 12-month program to completely overhaul the monthly bill.

"Customers need a phone bill that is easy to understand and clearly shows all charges. As new products, government charges and services have been added over the years, the old bill has become complicated and can be difficult to understand," said Jill Wagner, Verizon vice president -- consumer marketing. "When this project is completed, Verizon's new bill will be easier to read, more understandable, and contain more useful information."

The project is part of the company's ongoing service improvement program.

Delaware, Florida, New Jersey Consumers See Initial Re-Design

Starting this month, consumers in Delaware, Florida and New Jersey will receive bills that are printed on larger paper. The first and most notable changes are on the first two pages, which are re-designed to give a clear summary. The text will be printed in an easier-to-read typeface as well.

The first page will show overall charges and government-mandated fees and taxes, along with a table of contents explaining where details can be found elsewhere in the bill. The second page will include a comprehensive list of phone numbers for various Verizon centers, including hours of operation and Web-site addresses. To make the bills easy to spot in the mail, the new bills will also arrive in envelopes with a new design centered around the Verizon logo.

As the project extends into other states, additional pages of the bill will be re-designed. By August, all Verizon customers will be receiving improved phone bills, and design enhancements will continue through the first quarter of 2004.

Overall Re-Design Will Enhance Communication With Customers

When the bill redesign project is complete and all pages of the bill are re-designed, it will contain new features, in addition to being easier to read and understand. One of the new features will be customer-specific information about new services that might have recently become available in a customer's area. In addition, customers will receive coupons they can use to save money on different Verizon products and services.

"The bottom line is we are listening to our customers," said Wagner. "Giving them a bill they truly understand provides an enormous opportunity to establish an effective communications vehicle with our customers and delivers a strong message about service quality and customer focus. Once we have completed the overall project, the redesigned bill will be another factor that differentiates us from the rest of our industry -- and customer-service companies in general."

To launch the project, Verizon pulled together a special team from the company's Marketing, Information Technology, Regulatory, Legal and Finance departments. The project represented a major challenge for the Verizon IT team, which had to combine significantly different systems and processes previously used by the companies that merged to create Verizon.

"To accomplish a consistent, accurate way of collecting customer billing information internally and then presenting it to customers in the most understandable fashion possible requires that different systems work together properly," said Harry Artz, senior vice president of billing and information technology for Verizon. "This was an enormously complex project, but it is rewarding to see us at the point where we are now sending out our new bills with the first set of enhancements, with much more to follow in the upcoming months. Clearly this bill sets a new bar in the industry for what we describe as customer friendly. "

Consumers Can Review, Pay Bills On-Line Too

For customers who don't want a paper bill at all, Verizon's Web site, www.verizon.com, features a handy on-line bill. Customers can review and pay their bills without writing a check or paying postage.

"Any Verizon customer can now go to our Web site and manage his or her bill electronically and securely. Customers can also perform other functions there, ranging from buying a new service to reporting a problem at any hour of the day or night," Wagner said.

To enroll to review and pay bills on the Web site, Verizon customers should have their regular phone bill in front of them, as it contains customer-specific and private information that is required to sign up and execute transactions electronically.

To date, 3 million Verizon customers have signed up on www.verizon.com, and regularly use the site to pay bills, ask questions, change service options, and order products. About 36,000 more customers sign up on the site each month.

A Fortune 10 company, 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 136.6 million access line equivalents and 33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.