Verizon.com Celebrates 5th Birthday With Makeover That Eases Customer Access, Shopping, Browsing

NEW YORK -- Born on Nov. 1, 2001, Verizon's Web site has been a boon to customers and the company, opening a channel that more than 8.5 million home customers use regularly and over 350,000 visitors explore daily.  Now, the site has just been redesigned to make it even easier and faster to use.

"E-commerce has evolved a lot since www.verizon.com debuted five years ago," said Brian Price, executive director of Verizon's Online Center of Excellence, "and we've improved with age and experience.  Our focus on customer ease of use has always been the standard we set, and the new design will take customers to a new level of comfort when they engage us on the Web."

The new www.verizon.com boldly proclaims the company's brand theme -- "Richer, Deeper, Broader" -- promising fulfilling experiences with Verizon's broadband and entertainment services.

Cleaner in design than the last update a year ago, the home page now has a minimalist look with an easy-to-navigate bar that runs  across the center of the page and lists Verizon's service categories: residential, small business, medium business, large business and wireless.  This enables visitors to get information about products and services, quickly and seamlessly.

Customers are asked their zip code, which lets the Web site display more relevant information on products and services available in their area.  Customers are shown relevant promotions for products and services available in their area, like FiOS Internet or FiOS TV.  Every customer does not see the same product and service offer.

Michael D'Argenio, director of interactive marketing and design for Verizon said, "Personalized relevant content is the new watchword in e-commerce. Using these simple data, customers experience smooth and customized shopping.  Fewer searches are abandoned due to frustration."

Registered users, of course, can sign in right away to begin account reviews, bill payments, repair requests or service ordering.

For residential customers, the home page for services lists general product categories across the top of the page: broadband, entertainment, phone, bundles and wireless.  Rolling over each category exposes a drop-down menu to refine searches for products and services. Shortcuts to topics -- like setting up new home service, moving, adding or modifying services, or finding phone numbers -- have their own instant-access buttons. Customized broadband product recommendations are easily retrieved, and account access and functions appear right on the home page.

The Support header gives quick access to contact information, online help, billing, order status checks, repair requests, and a tab for more information on products available for customers with disabilities. The About Us link opens up various other Verizon company information pages. 

"Generally, it's like a department store," D'Argenio said. "Once you're in the store, you go to a department, go to the section that has the products you're looking for, you check them out, and then you go buy.

"That's been the model all along for e-commerce, and our customers have shown through usage of our site that we've made using www.verizon.com an intuitive and satisfying experience."

Statistics show the Web site works.  So far this year, there have been more than 177 million site visits, more than 820 million page views, and more than 1.3 million customers have placed orders online. The company collects more than $1.2 billion in payments online, up 20 percent over last year. User registrations continue to grow, up 12 percent so far this year.  Online support sessions have nearly doubled to 5 million so far in 2006.

According to Price, this refreshment of the site and the functional and graphical simplicity should boost online sales, bill payment and online-help transactions, and improve customer satisfaction significantly.

"As www.verizon.com is a growing channel, look for us to make further changes in 2007 that will provide a superior way for customers to learn, shop and transact with us online," he said.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a New York-based Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving nearly 57 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which operates one of the most expansive wholly owned global IP networks, and Verizon Telecom, which is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.