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NEW YORK -- Beginning today, dialing "0" will provide some New York area callers with shortcuts to many of the Verizon services they frequently call.
Verizon is expanding its trial of "Easy 0sm" operator services in the New York area to more than 125,000 New Rochelle and Brooklyn customers.
Easy O gives them access to a menu that instantly connects them (at no charge) to services they request from operators.
More than 138,000 customers in the White Plains and Levittown areas have been successfully using the Easy O menu since mid-September.
"With Easy 0, callers get what they want faster and without having to redial another number," said Kitty Linder, president of operator services for
Verizon. "We began testing this new service after studies showed that more than half the calls to '0,' our call completion service, didn't belong there. And
when that happened, customers had to redial the correct number or wait to be transferred."
For example, studies revealed 11 percent of callers who dialed "0" actually wanted directory assistance, which is available by dialing 411. Among
the more than 40 percent of miscellaneous calls handled by call completion operators were requests for the temperature, the cooking time for turkeys and the
number of eggs used to bake a cake.
Nearly 25 percent of calls to operators are from customers who do not know where to call for Verizon repair service, order new services or resolve billing
With Easy 0 access, customers hear a standard greeting and then seven choices. Pressing the single digit that matches the appropriate choice makes an instant
connection to the service they need.
The options include:
- Traditional operator services of placing collect, bill-to-third-party or credit card calls.
- Verification and interruption of a busy line.
- Assistance for callers with special needs.
- Verizon local and national 411.
- Telephone repair service.
- Business or residence service centers for ordering services or discussing billing, and
- Automatic connection to the appropriate emergency police, fire or ambulance agency.
Trials of Easy 0 began in July 1999, in Wheaton, Md., and were expanded to parts of the Washington, D.C. area; suburban Philadelphia; New Jersey and, most
recently, New York and Boston. Customers readily adopted the new service and appreciate the ease of access it gives them to key services.
"Our trials are proving that skeptics who say menus are cold and impersonal are wrong," Linder said. "Today, efficiency is a priority, but so is
personal service. And with Easy 0 access, customers have it both ways. They get a speedy dispatch of their call to the right person who's ready to help."
The job of a call completion operator is to assist in completing calls. The initial trial proved that when callers asked the operator for other services or
information, it wasted time for both the caller and the operator. The new menu eliminates that. Verizon expects that customers will memorize the menu selections
they use the most, further expediting their service.
The first menu option provides an immediate connection to emergency services to expedite assistance for callers who dial 0 instead of 911. Callers who follow
the prompt to "dial 9 now" will be connected automatically to their local public safety emergency answering center. Of course, dialing 911 directly is
still the preferred dialing for emergencies.
Easy 0 has already been expanded across North Jersey and will eventually serve other areas served by Verizon.
The new menu selections are:
- For an emergency requiring police, fire or ambulance, press or dial 9 now.
- To place a collect, calling card or bill-to-third-party call, press 2. Enter area code and number you are calling now. (Call will be routed via the appropriate
carrier, either Verizon or the customer's toll or long-distance carrier).
- To verify or interrupt a busy line, press 3.
- To obtain a local or national telephone number or area code information, press 4.
- To reach Verizon's repair service, press 5.
- To reach Verizon's business office, press 6 (followed by 1 for home service or 2 for business service).
- To repeat the menu, press 7 now or, for special assistance, please hold for an operator.
.Patent protection for the company's Easy 0 system is pending.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, 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 more than 101 million access line equivalents and
more than 26 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 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.