NEW YORK - As Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) celebrates its first anniversary, the company's wireline customers throughout the country are enjoying better service than ever.
Whether measured by independent studies, tracked in monthly reports to state regulatory agencies, or measured by the level of customer complaints, Verizon's service quality has improved since June 30, 2000, when GTE and Bell Atlantic joined to create Verizon.
"As we mark the end of our first year as the nation's leading telecommunications company, it's time to look back on what's most important: the service we deliver to our customers day in and day out," said Lawrence T. Babbio, Verizon vice chairman and president. "The results show that we continue to make strong progress in delivering on our promise to be the nation's best provider of quality local, data and long-distance services. The results also show we're doing an effective job of harnessing the best practices that were used by the former Bell Atlantic and GTE companies.
"The fact that one of the most respected studies of customer satisfaction recently ranked us in a virtual dead heat as the top local telecommunications company confirms what our internal and other measurements are telling us. We do have the highest-skilled, hardest-working employees in the business, and we have built a nationwide telecommunications network that's second to none." NOTE: A fact sheet on Verizon's network follows the end of this release.
Recently, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) ranked Verizon in a virtual dead heat with Bell South for the top spot among all local telephone companies. In addition, Verizon was the only local company to improve its score over last year, while scores for all other local companies worsened.
The ACSI survey of over 50,000 consumers across multiple industries reinforces what other measurements have shown about Verizon's service. One of those measurements shows the results of some 25,000 customer interviews conducted by an independent research firm for Verizon each month. The consumers and business customers selected for the interviews are those who have had a recent installation, repair or other interaction with the company.
Across the largest body of customers - consumers - Verizon's indices improved by 1.4 percent for installation and over 5 percent for repair since last year.
In other areas of those monthly interviews, also known as the company's Customer Care indices, Verizon recorded these year-over-year improvements in the percentage of customers who rate Verizon as outstanding or very good:
- Consumer request and inquiry at company business offices - up 3.3 percent.
- General business new line and service installation - up 3.8 percent.
- General business request and inquiry - up 2.8 percent
- Directory Assistance - up 1.8 percent
- Service to Enterprise (large) business customers - up 2.4 percent
In another key service quality area tracked by the company, customer complaints - including those made to state regulatory agencies -- dropped dramatically, by about 20 percent since last year.
"We have seen a dramatic increase in the expectations our customers have," Babbio said. "The fact that we have seen such a sharp reduction in complaints from customers themselves while their expectations have risen again confirms that we are moving in the right direction."
Each month, Verizon must report on and meet about 460 key service-related measurements in each of the 31 states and in the District of Columbia where it provides local phone service. These results are tracked by the governmental regulatory agency in each jurisdiction. Today, Verizon is meeting or beating at least 440 of those measurements, or nearly 95 percent. Last year at this time, Verizon was meeting or beating just over 92 percent.
Since last year, Verizon service quality and customer satisfaction have been recognized by a variety of organizations:
- J.D. Power in its most recent study of local telephone service providers (Summer 2000) reported that both the former Bell Atlantic and GTE companies improved, with Bell Atlantic providing service well above the industry average, and GTE performing at the industry average.
- Yankee Group in its most recent Technologically Advanced Family survey of local phone customers (February 2001) reported that customers of the former Bell Atlantic ranked the company first in six of eight categories dealing with satisfaction. Overall, the former Bell Atlantic was ranked number one in the study.
- Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in its recent Wireline Telecom Survey of service provided to medium-and large-sized business customers (April 2001) reported Verizon was tied for first place in local service and ranked number one for data and wireless services.
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 112 million access line equivalents and 27 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.
Set the Standard
Background - When the former Bell Atlantic and GTE companies merged to create Verizon on June 30, 2000, they joined what were already two of the nation's premier local and long-distance networks. Since then, Verizon has continued to make smart, targeted network and technology investments. Here is a short summary on the Verizon network that serves our retail and wholesale customers around the clock:
- Billions of calls -- Each day, the Verizon network processes some 1.5 billion originating or terminating local and long-distance calls. That's over 62 million calls each hour, or over one million calls each minute. On top of that, the network handles trillions of bits of data each day, as the company's data business continues to grow rapidly.
- Advanced, fiber-optic technology - The Verizon network features about eight million miles of fiber-optic systems - enough to circle the Earth over 300 times. That's more than any other local or long-distance company in the country.
- Massive scale - Overall, the Verizon wireline network that serves 31 states and Washington, D.C., stretches over some 542 million miles. For the record, that's enough to circle the Earth over 20,000 times. No other telecommunications company in the country has a network of this scale.
- Digital switching technology - More than 99.9 percent of Verizon's more than 4,800 call-routing centers across the country use the latest digital technology. And they all have backup batteries and/or diesel generators that allow them to continue supplying dial tone when commercial power is lost.
- Record "up time" - The lines served by those switching systems have averaged less than seven one-hundredths of a minute time "down time" in any given month. In human terms, that would equate to an 80-year-old person who was sick for only one hour in his or her entire life.
- Redundancy - As part of its ongoing network and technology deployment efforts, Verizon has built over 8,000 self-healing SONET (synchronous optical network) fiber-optic rings in its network - including nearly 600 new rings this year alone. This advanced network architecture, which typically serves several communities, automatically senses a break in one part of the ring and quickly re-routes voice and data in the opposite direction, rendering the network damage transparent to consumers and businesses.
- Verizon patents - As Verizon continues to deploy advanced technology, it continues to conduct its own research and has earned a significant number of patents in the process. Since Verizon was created last year, the company has been issued 167 worldwide patents -- 97 in this country and 70 abroad. In addition, the company has filed 374 new patent applications in the past year.
- Lines - With its advanced network, Verizon serves close to 63 million customer access lines. Overall, the company serves 112 million access line equivalents, which takes into account higher capacity data circuits and the deployment of advanced technology such as dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM). This new technology allows up to 32 different wavelengths of light to travel along the same fiber-optic strand, quickly and cost-effectively expanding the capacity of Verizon's network.