Albuquerque, NM, April 5, 2001 ? Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE:Q), the broadband Internet communications company, announced today its ?One Call Solution? customer care restructuring for its residential customers. This initiative represents a major transformation of Qwest?s customer care operations, including channeling customer calls to service or sales consultants, depending on their needs.
The reorganization is already starting to have a positive impact on customers as seen by a reduction in customer complaints. In February, complaints by residential customers were down by 6 percent over a year ago and the improvements are expected to continue: In the small-business market where these changes have been in effect for almost a year, complaints to Qwest and regulatory agencies in Feburary were down 28 percent over January and were 33 percent lower than the same time last year.
In addition to changes in call handling, specialization and compensation, Qwest?s One Call Solution strategy places special emphasis on training. Customer care consultants have participated in up to 25 days of training since last August. The focus of the training is to ensure that customer issues are resolved as quickly as possible and to teach the best possible customer care behaviors, including knowledge of Qwest products, services, policies, processes and tools. In every instance, consultants strive to resolve the issue in a single phone call. Qwest?s customer care centers will handle more than 12 million calls this year.
?We?ve literally changed every aspect of how we handle customer contacts, from training to compensation, to work assignments, to our service centers in Albuquerque and throughout the region,? said Mark Pitchford, senior vice president for customer care. ?You name it ? we?ve changed it to reflect what?s most important to our customers. The bottom line is that if a customer has to make more than one call to Qwest then we?re not doing our job.?
More than 600 sales representatives have shifted to new customer care centers in an effort to serve customers faster, more efficiently and with enhanced service expertise. With the exception of sales calls, all residential customer needs are now handled by seven Customer Care Centers employing more than 850 service specialists throughout the region. Qwest?s has one of these centers in Albuquerque, employing 141 customer care consultants who are specially trained to handle service issues and customer questions. Sales calls are automatically routed to seven Consumer Sales Centers where trained product experts advise Qwest?s customers on solutions to meet their communications needs. This consumer restructure mirrors similar changes that occurred in the small business market last April.
?We now have a team of specially trained employees in Albuquerque and elsewhere who deal exclusively with customer care issues,? said Pitchford. ?Our customer care consultants are rewarded based on whether they meet or exceed our customers? expectations. We think of this as a three-legged stool ? a robust communications network, state-of-the-art products and services and customer care. Our network and our products lead the industry. We?re now making customer care just as strong. We?ve got to get that right.?
High call volumes and changing customer needs were just some of the challenges facing Pitchford?s team during this restructure. ?We didn?t have the luxury of closing down our operations while we retooled,? Pitchford said. ?We had to keep our focus on the customer throughout, and the results have been very positive.?
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leader in reliable, scalable and secure broadband Internet-based data, voice and image communications for businesses and consumers. The Qwest Macro Capacity® Fiber Network, designed with the newest optical networking equipment for speed and efficiency, spans more than 106,000 miles globally. For more information, please visit the Qwest web site at www.qwest.com.
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