03.30.2009

Verizon's Online Community Forums Provide Enhanced Customer Service

NEW YORK - The Verizon Community Forums have become the company's hottest online venue for consumers to submit questions, share advice, and get answers about Verizon's robust portfolio of broadband, entertainment and communication services.


On the forums, customers can interact with each other, ask questions, problem solve, and learn more about the company's products and services.  Answers posted on the forums most often come from the community's highly active members, referred to as "super users," an important subset of customers critical to the success of any online community. 


According to Mark Studness, director of e-commerce at Verizon, the Community Forums have been well-received since rolling out last July, generating more than 10 million page views.


"The Community Forums have spurred interaction among customers because people today expect to be able to find answers to their technical questions online," said Studness. "The feedback we've already received shows that our customers value the personalized peer-to-peer advice and feedback they receive from fellow users." 


One of the growing base of super users is Justin McMurry of Keller, Texas, who describes his involvement as growing from a natural interest in Verizon's FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services.  Formerly a technical support expert for many years at a major technology company, McMurry said he enjoys solving problems and answering questions for others who visit the Community Forums in search of real-time feedback from fellow customers.


"After I retired, I missed being in technical support and helping customers resolve problems," McMurry said. "I joined the Verizon Community Forums to learn, and as others came online, I got more and more involved in helping them. The important thing about the forums is that they're easy to access and get questions answered."


To create the Verizon Community Forums, Verizon collaborated with Lithium Technologies, a major online community solution provider based in Emeryville, Calif., with more than a decade of experience in creating successful online communities for large-enterprise organizations.


"We are proud to offer our leading-edge capabilities to companies like Verizon that want to leverage the experts in their customer base to provide all customers with the service and support they need and want - with the twist that the experts be fellow customers," said Lyle Fong, CEO of Lithium Technologies.


Not only are Verizon customers obtaining help from fellow users, but Verizon is also watching for ideas to improve product offerings. For example, a recent post from a consumer about the bright display from a FiOS TV set-top box led the company to accelerate the delivery of a light-dimming feature in set-top box software upgrades provided to FiOS TV customers.


The Verizon Community Forums cover the full spectrum of the company's residential and small-business products and services, including FiOS TV, FiOS Internet, digital-subscriber- line-based High Speed Internet service, residential phone service, and other Verizon products and services.


To learn more about the Verizon Community Forums, customers can visit forums.verizon.com.  For further information about Lithium Technologies, visit www.lithium.com.


About Lithium Technologies
Lithium is the leading provider of customer-centric social networking solutions for the enterprise. Working with market leaders such as Best Buy, Sony, AT&T, Research In Motion Limited (RIM), Univision, and PayPal, Lithium delivers online customer communities that work. Lithium solutions inspire customers to share knowledge, connect with each other, and connect with the enterprise, thus providing a unique method for companies to identify, engage, and understand customers. As a result, businesses measurably improve their marketing and sales, accelerate innovation, and increase customer satisfaction. Lithium's platform is proven in high-volume, growth environments and provides the security, analytics, APIs, and multi-language support that enterprises demand. Founded in 2001, Lithium is privately held with headquarters in Emeryville, California. For more information, visit www.lithium.com.


About Verizon
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, 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 more than 80 million customers nationwide.  Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 224,000 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.


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