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Verizon brings enterprise self-help portal to SMBs

Verizon Enterprise Center also adds eBonding and billing management to its dashboard offerings

Verizon Business (NYSE:VZ) is now making its popular Verizon Enterprise Center self-help portal available to small to mid-sized businesses, adding automated features such as click-to-chat for immediate help from customer service representatives.

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Verizon has seen demand from its smaller and mid-sized business customers for this level of support, said Mark Chodoronek, executive director of the Verizon Business Customer Enablement Management Team. “Our SMB customers have said they wanted this kind of capability,” Chodoronek said. “We are definitely responding to their demand here. The functionality exists so, with the capabilities on the EC, the customer has the functions of billing inquiries, repairs, orders, network management tools, and a dashboard, but also the commonality of doing business going through one front end. It’s secure, it’s available 7 by 24, and it allows them also to see other products and services that we offer.”

The VEC’s new automated functionality includes click-to-chat to reach a Verizon Business CSR immediately, ebonding to deliver network alarms and alerts directly to a customer’s event management system and a billing management tool that provides an integrated view of a customer’s network and services but also allows a wide variety of sorting options.

The click-to-chat feature has already proven extraordinarily popular, Chodoronek said, so much so that Verizon Business is testing a feature to let customers directly chat with technicians. To support click-to-chat globally, Verizon also added a number of languages to its service, he added.

“We have been surprised at the percentage of customers that are utilizing it,” Chodoronek said. “We have gotten 40% of our inquiries that are going into our VEC help desk environment going through click to chat. In some cases, a customer is on a certain application and needs help, or they have an issue with a repair function. We are now beta testing click-to-chat to actual technicians – if a request comes in, a customer service rep will be able to refer it directly to a technician, who also can use an over-the-shoulder function to help a customer.”

By integrating the VEC with Verizon’s eBonding Services, Verizon Business enables alarms, faults and maintenance reports to be delivered directly to the customer’s CRM, billing or OSS systems, so that customers don’t have to resort to “swivel chair” monitoring of multiple systems to determine the impact of alarms that come through the VEC, Chodoronek said. “We have direct connectivity between our infrastructure and theirs through eBonding.”

The new billing management tool adds billing to the dashboard and enables customers to customize their billing reports by sorting bills based on categories they establish, Chodoronek said.

“They can get a high-level visual and see their spend across voice, data, IP and wireless or see usage, non-usage, taxes, charges by invoice type,” Chodoronek said. “They can also change account stats in regards to getting visibility of where their spend is by product, region or subset within the organization. Plus they can get a quick snapshot of spending easily versus running billing reports or lining up paper bills on your desk to compare.”

Verizon Business earlier added mobility to the VEC, enabling customers to view the portal via smartphones.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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