Omnitel Wins Teleperformance Gold Award For Customer Care After Less Than Eighteen Months In Service

Milan, Italy and Philadelphia, Pa. — Italian wireless provider Omnitel Pronto Italia today announced it is the winner of the 1997 Teleperformance Gold Award for outstanding customer care. Omnitel, Bell Atlantic's wireless investment in Italy, took the honor after being in service less than 18 months.

In April of this year, Omnitel added its one millionth customer, making it one of the fastest wireless startups in history. It took more than four years for the entire U.S. cellular industry to sign on one million customers.

The Teleperformance Awards are an annual European event to identify excellence in customer care. Ratings are based on blind calls to customer call centers, judging both objective and subjective criteria to determine how quick, efficient, and friendly a company is in responding to a variety of customer requests.

1997 marks the Teleperformance Awards' ninth anniversary.

As one of Italy's top three winners, and the country's only communications provider to receive an award, Omnitel was selected as the only European carrier to earn its way to the Teleperformance finals in Paris this spring.

"The Teleperformance benchmarks for customer care are a good barometer of what customers expect from a service provider," said Tom Bartlett, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic International Wireless. "Winning the Teleperformance Gold Award says Omnitel knows what it takes to make buying and using a wireless service a satisfying experience.

"And winning this early in Omnitel's business life cycle is a clear indication that the company's parents have endowed its offspring with the qualities needed to thrive in a competitive marketplace."

Bell Atlantic, second largest shareholder in the Italian wireless operator, has been a key to Omnitel's sharp customer focus, providing the company with the procedures, structure, resources, strategic planning and vision that Bell Atlantic has used to establish world class customer care organizations inside and outside the U.S.

  • Of Omnitel's 3,000 employees, more than one third are now dedicated to customer care functions;
  • The company's stringent hiring standards means only about one out of 12 candidates is selected for a customer care position;
  • Each customer care representative receives a minimum of six weeks training before ever taking a call;
  • Additional training comes after only two months of service.

"The right image or a recognizable brand name can bring customers in the door, but it's been our ability to deliver on our promise of providing high quality products, flexible service packages, the best value, and individualized customer care that will convince them to stay," said Bartlett.