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Verizon simplifies long-distance pricing plan

(Telephony) Verizon has launched flat-rate pricing plans in 36 of the 37 states in which it provides long-distance service that the company believes will be easier for both its customers and sales reps to understand and will result in increased sales. The plans will be launched in Hawaii, the 37th state, in about two weeks.

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In addition to flat rates, the three plans have no minimum or monthly charges. The “Timeless” plan offers 10 cents per minute rates for all direct-dialed, state-to-state calls. The “SmartTouch” plan allows customers to buy long-distance time in advance for 8 cents per minute. The “FirmRate” plan is designed for businesses that spend less than $100 per month on long distance. Calls in this plan are billed at 9 cents per minute.

Before deciding to launch these plans, Verizon conducted extensive research and testing, according to a company spokeswoman. What the company found out was that consumers nationwide are confused by the myriad choices when choosing a long-distance plan.

“They didn’t understand what off-peak meant or what monthly charges were,” the spokeswoman explained. “They would look at an advertisement that offered 5 cents a minute, and say, ‘What does that really mean?’ So we set out to create the cleanest, simplest plan we could.”

Once that was accomplished, Verizon tested the plans in the toughest proving ground of all.

“The old axiom holds true: New York is the toughest place to launch anything. But they were very successful,” the spokeswoman said.

Verizon hopes that simplifying its message will help it battle churn, an ongoing challenge for every service provider.

“It will be easier to sell these plans, because our reps will also understand them better,” the spokeswoman said. “This should help us retain local customers, because the more services you offer, the more likely it is that your customers will stay with you.”

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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