News Release

Latest Customer Satisfaction Surveys Puts Verizon Wireless on Top in Rochester, New York

Company's Continuing Investment in Customer Service, Employee Training Paying Dividends

May 16, 2004

John O'Malley
John.OMalley@VerizonWireless.com
585-321-7264Laura Cahill
laurac@mragroup.com
315-233-3000 or 315-569-2256

ROCHESTER, NY — At Verizon Wireless, customer service begins the moment the customer walks in the store, calls an 800 number, or sends an online service request. "Our goal is to resolve our customers' issues quickly, completely, and, ideally, on the first call or point of contact," said John Palmer, president of Verizon Wireless' Upstate New York Region. "We're as committed to providing a high level of customer service satisfaction as we are to the quality and reliability of our industry-leading wireless network."

That commitment is paying off, according to three new national customer satisfaction surveys. Strategy Analytics, VocaLabs, and the Yankee Group all announced survey results last month that clearly point to Verizon Wireless' customer satisfaction superiority:

  • In a survey of 1,000 cell phone users across the U.S., Strategy Analytics concluded "Verizon [Wireless] sets a daunting benchmark for its competition, achieving class-leading ratings for service quality and customer care."
  • In its quarterly SectorPulse report, Vocal Laboratories (www.vocalabs.com)  reported Verizon Wireless was once again the "clear winner in Customer Service quality, gaining an 'A' ranking in caller satisfaction."
  • The Yankee Group studied the discriminating buying habits of businesses and business users and found Verizon Wireless has the market share lead for all business users among the six national wireless carriers.

$100 Million Investment in Training, System Upgrades
According to Palmer, customer satisfaction results like those don't happen by accident. Verizon Wireless spends $100 million annually to support its national customer service efforts through system upgrades, call center enhancements and employee training. The thousands of dedicated customer service representatives in the company's 22 call centers are the key to Verizon Wireless' 1.6 % churn rate, the lowest in the wireless industry. "The customer service reps in our call center and stores, and the sales reps who work one-on-one with our customers, are the front line in our efforts to provide superior customer service," said Palmer.

Each of the call center reps handles an average of 1,000 customer calls each month, a number that emphasizes the importance of resolving customer issues quickly and accurately. The company's intensive training program is the foundation for its customer satisfaction success. Every new customer service representative goes through a comprehensive 12-week training program combining classroom training and supervised customer call handling. In addition, each rep participates in a minimum of eight hours of continuing training every month. The training is intended to prepare the rep for the myriad customer calls they'll face and to provide them with the tools and skills they'll need to resolve them.

"We teach our customer-facing employees problem solving skills, to think on their feet, and to have patience," Palmer said. "Our representatives are very good at assessing an issue and solving it. We also encourage our customer service people to take responsibility, to not push the problem off to someone else, and to ask if things are being taken care of to the customer's full satisfaction."

To meet the demands of its growing customer base, Verizon Wireless continues to expand its customer service function, recently announcing the opening of a new 1,200-person call center in Wilmington, NC. The Rochester call center continues to grow also. It currently employs 675 customer service representatives, including 110 hired since the beginning of the year. And more growth is expected.

"We've got a tremendous pool of talented people to choose from in the Rochester area," said Palmer.

For Palmer, it all comes down to how well those reps relate to the customer. "A customer doesn't do business with a company. They do business with the people who represent the company, so we look to our customer service people to add value to the satisfaction equation so our customers keep coming back."

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 39 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com.  To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto www.thenewsmarket.com/verizonwireless.

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