Verizon enhances self-care capabilities
Carrier aims to boost service uptake and revenues by letting customers help themselves
Verizon today announced details on a handful of self-service tools and features for helping customers manage their services themselves, including several that have been “soft-launched” to customers without fanfare in recent months.
“We see well north of a million or more customers on a monthly basis that self-serve,” said Patrick Smith, Verizon director of customer service. “We have a pretty comprehensive plan to continue to improve our tools.”
Recent enhancements to Verizon’s self-serve capabilities include an easier authentication system that helps expedite calls to the company’s call center and the expansion of the company’s In-Home Agent capability, originally available only to subscribers to the company’s high-speed FiOS service, to other broadband users. In-Home Agent (IHA), a downloadable software program, provides customers 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.
Verizon now has a total of five self-service tools, including the support section of verizon.com; online ordering for new and existing customers; a telephone voice response system; IHA; and the FiOS Interactive Media Guide (IMG). While the latter is available only to subscribers to Verizon’s high-speed FiOS service, the other four tools are available to a broader customer base, Smith said.
The IMG lets FiOS users order new channels, movies or premium services or program remote controls via their TV screen. “Our belief is if you don’t offer customers the ability to manage their services or order new ones, you’re missing a huge opportunity,” said Smith.
A recent enhancement to the IHA and FiOS IMG is support for quick codes, a set of numbers that help pinpoint FiOS service issues. By calling a toll-free number and entering the quick code displayed on the screen, a customer can help the diagnostic system identify the problem area.
Verizon.com supports online ordering and bill paying and provides information about services. The site has a “click to chat” option that enables customers to reach a live operator. Those who call Verizon’s toll-free customer service number, meanwhile, interact with a voice recognition unit (VRU) that gives them information about their current bill balance without the need to wait to talk to an operator.
Moving forward, capabilities that previously were available through verizon.com will migrate to the FiOS IMG, Smith said. The company also has a comprehensive plan to make a significant investment in all of its self-service tools this year, he said.
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© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
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