Verizon has significantly expanded and enhanced its self-service tools for wireline residential customers, enabling them to do everything from shopping for bundles of services to paying bills to fixing problems with TV and Internet services - at any time of day or night.
The online and voice-activated tools, the expansion and enhancement of which were announced Wednesday (Jan. 27), are designed to be easy for customers to use and to put them in direct control of their specific service needs. The tools also meet the needs of consumers, a growing number of whom use self-service tools every day for such things as paying bills, purchasing airline tickets and making hotel reservations.
"The broadband connections we provide our customers have received wide industry acclaim for reliability and performance," said Lou Sigillo, Verizon vice president of customer service strategy. "We've now taken that great technology and added diagnostic and self-managed tools that allow customers to obtain the service or products they need from us, whether it's the middle of the afternoon or dead of night, often using the same tools our own customer service representatives use.
"And because we know some of our customers prefer a more traditional path for customer service, Verizon's highly trained customer service representatives remain just a phone call away," said Sigillo.
Verizon Self Service Options Streamline How Customers Get What They Need
With the self-service expansion and enhancement, Verizon now has five signature self-service tools: the Support section of Verizon.com; online ordering for existing and new customers for bundles and a la carte services within Verizon.com; FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide (IMG); In-Home Agent (IHA) software; and a telephone voice response system.
Verizon.com is the primary self-service destination for the company's residential customers. The site supports online ordering; a way for customers to learn about Verizon services; account management to view and pay bills; and interactive support options that help customers diagnose and resolve problems without ever having to place a phone call to Verizon.
Customers can also update their account information and pay bills online by registering for My Verizon. As an added benefit, Verizon Perks is being offered exclusively to Verizon customers who are registered users of My Verizon. The Verizon Perks program provides customers the opportunity to save money when purchasing gift cards from popular retailers.
Customers can use Verizon.com to learn about and order voice, Internet and TV services and obtain the best and most compelling promotional prices only available online. Verizon.com also provides convenient "click to chat" options where live agents can assist customers with online ordering and other service tasks. Click here to view a short video about, and take a tour of, Verizon's online support center.
Interactive Media Guide and In-Home Agent
FiOS TV customers have access to some of the most advanced self-service capabilities, utilizing both the FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide and the In-Home Agent. With the IMG, customers can order new channels, movies or premium services, troubleshoot their FiOS TV set-top box or program their remote controls to specific TVs, sound systems or digital video recorders, all on their TV screen.
Customers can also use the IMG to remedy problems with their TV service and watch a series of short videos on channel 131 that provide information about FiOS services and features. In 2009, Verizon experienced a 40 percent increase in the number of IMG transactions over the previous year.
The downloadable In-Home Agent tool for Verizon FiOS and High-Speed Internet customers provides users with direct access to an application that performs many of the same setup, management and troubleshooting functions that previously required assistance from a help-desk representative.
Back-office systems and information resources have been integrated to enable the In-Home Agent to provide customers with a simple point-and-click feature to perform functions such as configuring a new PC to work on a home Wi-Fi network, setting up e-mail accounts, remotely establishing parental viewing controls, and automatically fixing Internet access or video problems. Usage of the In-Home Agent tool currently tops 1.2 million interactions per month.
With the Interactive Media Guide and In-Home Agent, customers can take advantage of quick codes which are a set of numbers related to FiOS TV customers on their TV screen that help pinpoint service issues using the network diagnostic system. By calling a toll-free number and entering the on-screen quick code, a customer helps the diagnostic system identify the problem area -- saving time, limiting the frustration of explaining the issue and resolving the problem. Click here to watch a series of videos that showcase the value of the Interactive Media Guide for consumers. Click here and here to view short videos about the value of Verizon's In-Home Agent to customers.
Telephone Voice Response System
For many common service requests, customers access Verizon's self-service platform and the voice-activated services by dialing 1-800-VERIZON (1-800-837-4966). This simple, efficient and single point of contact for Verizon was established in late 2008, and now handles more than half of all inbound service calls to Verizon. The most widely used self-service solutions that customers can obtain by using Verizon's voice recognition unit (VRU) are:
Bill balance and bill payment - Rather than waiting on hold to reach a service representative, the VRU interprets a customer's request for either a current bill balance or desire to pay the current balance and eliminates the need to do anything further. These two VRU applications are currently used during more than half of all calls placed by customers.
Self-installation of set-top boxes - Customers who have either gone to a Verizon Plus Store to pick up a set-top box or had one shipped to them can utilize the VRU to hear instructions on self-installing and activating their box. This application is currently used during 80 percent of all calls placed by customers involving set-top boxes.
The VRU system can also help customers create a repair ticket, run a diagnostic test on their home voice line to determine the location of line trouble, and even help fix a calling feature such as three-way calling.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 91 million customers nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of approximately 222,900 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $107 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.