NEW YORK - Verizon customers in seven additional states are receiving redesigned phone bills this month, completing the first phase of a massive 12-month program to make the monthly phone bill dramatically easier to read and understand for the company's 30 million residential and business customers across the country.
Residential and business customers in the following states are the latest to receive the improved phone bills from Verizon: Arizona, California, Idaho, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
These customers join Verizon customers in 23 other jurisdictions who have already begun receiving new phone bills that have been partially redesigned. In subsequent months, new enhancements will be added to the improved bills, and additional pages will be redesigned 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 surcharges 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.
Starting this month, Verizon consumers and business customers in the seven additional states will receive bills that are printed on larger, white paper with Verizon-branded colors. The first and most notable changes are on the first two pages, which are redesigned 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, along with a new 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 well as a message about the new bill format.
As the project continues, additional pages of the bill will be redesigned. Design enhancements will continue throughout 2004.
When the bill project is complete and all pages are redesigned next year, the bill 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, Sales, 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. "
For customers who don't want a paper bill at all, Verizon's Web site, www.verizon.com, features a handy online 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.
In addition, Verizon has already begun to take advantage of this new billing capability by issuing personalized user IDs and passwords for registering on Verizon.com. This has resulted in a 20 percent increase in on-line registrations.
To date, over 3.3 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 10,000 more customers sign up on the site each day.
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 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 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 221,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.
Arizona, California, Nevada: Jon Davies, 805-372-6969
Michigan: John Vanwyck, 231-727-1246
Oregon, Idaho: Bob Wayt, 503-629-2459
Washington: Missy Barran, 425-261-5855
National: Mark Marchand, 518-396-1080