DENVER, February 18, 2003 - Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) today reported strong and measurable service improvements for 2002. Since the launch of the "Spirit of Service" campaign last year, Qwest has improved the service experience based directly on customer feedback. Today's results show that Qwest customers are getting better service than they have received previously and that the more than $9 billion in network upgrades and new technology investments made over the last three years are delivering the expected improvements.
"We've made significant progress in delivering the Spirit of Service to customers, but we're not finished yet," said Richard C. Notebaert, Qwest's chairman and CEO. "Providing great service to customers is not a line item in the business plan; it is how we define success."
The company implemented more than a dozen initiatives in 2002 to enhance the customer experience, and Qwest internal data shows the number of residential customers who are satisfied with their Qwest experience has risen 13 percent since October 2002.
Consumer and business highlights include:
- Extended Customer Service Hours - Since November, more than 300,000 residential customers have been able to do business with Qwest in the evening or on Saturdays as a result of the company's expanded service hours.
- Enhanced Web Customer Care - Since its launch in October, more than 21,000 small businesses and 550,000 residential customers have taken advantage of MyQwest.com, an online ordering and customer service tool.
- Simplified Pricing -Qwest began offering simplified residential service packages across the region in January. Qwest now offers the PreferredChoice and ValueChoice packages that allow customers to select from a list of Qwest's most popular features for discounted monthly rates.
- New Automated Voice Routing - Qwest implemented a new, simplified voice routing system for incoming calls, using a new voice selected with the help of Qwest customers.
- Improved Business Services - Qwest opened a new customer care center to support small businesses with complex service needs, and for larger businesses, Qwest has new toll-free numbers for fewer call transfers and expedited service. Launched in June 2002, Qwest Total Advantage has helped many businesses simplify their agreements and reduce costs with volume-based discounts.
Qwest's network investments have built one of the most robust and reliable high-speed networks in the world. For the third year in a row, Qwest's annual service performance showed improvement.
Installation and Maintenance Service Results
In the 14-state region where Qwest provides local service, service data for 2002 showed the best results on record in key areas for residential and small-business customers:
- 99 percent of Qwest's nearly 19 million installation commitments were met on time - the best results in seven years.
- Nearly 96 percent of total repair commitments were met on time the best results in seven years.
- Repeat repairs within 30 days decreased nearly 15 percent from the same time last year.
- More than 89 percent of service outages in Qwest's territory were repaired in less than 24 hours - the best results on record.
- At the end of December, the number of customers who had been waiting more than 30 days for the installation of their first telephone line remained at some of the lowest levels on record.
Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) is a leading provider of voice, video and data services to more than 25 million customers. The company's 53,000-plus employees are committed to the Spirit of Service and providing world-class services that exceed customers expectations for quality, value and reliability. For more information, please visit the Qwest Web site at www.qwest.com.
This release may contain projections and other forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements may differ materially from actual future events or results. Readers are referred to the documents filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission, specifically the most recent reports which identify important risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to: the duration and extent of the current economic downturn in our 14-state local service area, including its effect on our customers and suppliers; the effects of our anticipated restatement of historical financial statements including delays in or restrictions on our ability to access the capital markets or other adverse effects to our business and financial position; our substantial indebtedness, and our inability to complete any efforts to de-lever our balance sheet through asset sales or other transactions; any adverse outcome of the SEC's current investigation into our accounting policies, practices and procedures; any adverse outcome of the current investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office in Denver into certain matters relating to us; adverse results of increased review and scrutiny by Congress, regulatory authorities, media and others (including any internal analyses) of financial reporting issues and practices or otherwise; the failure of our chief executive and chief financial officers to provide certain certifications relating to certain public filings; rapid and significant changes in technology and markets; any adverse developments in commercial disputes or legal proceedings, including any adverse outcome of current or future legal proceedings related to matters that are the subject of governmental investigations, and, to the extent not covered by insurance, if any, our inability to satisfy any resulting obligations from funds available to us, if any; our future ability to provide interLATA services within our 14-state local service area; potential fluctuations in quarterly results; volatility of our stock price; intense competition in the markets in which we compete, including the likelihood of certain of our competitors emerging from bankruptcy court protection or otherwise reorganizing their capital structure and competing effectively against us; changes in demand for our products and services; dependence on new product development and acceleration of the deployment of advanced new services, such as broadband data, wireless and video services, which could require substantial expenditure of financial and other resources in excess of contemplated levels; higher than anticipated employee levels, capital expenditures and operating expenses; adverse changes in the regulatory or legislative environment affecting our business; and changes in the outcome of future events from the assumed outcome included in our significant accounting policies.
The information contained in this release is a statement of Qwest's present intention, belief or expectation and is based upon, among other things, the existing regulatory environment, industry conditions, market conditions and prices, the economy in general and Qwest's assumptions. Qwest may change its intention, belief or expectation, at any time and without notice, based upon any changes in such factors, in Qwest's assumptions or otherwise. The cautionary statements contained or referred to in this release should be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that Qwest or persons acting on its behalf may issue. This release may include analysts' estimates and other information prepared by third parties for which Qwest assumes no responsibility.
Qwest undertakes no obligation to review or confirm analysts' expectations or estimates or to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
By including any information in this release, Qwest does not necessarily acknowledge that disclosure of such information is required by applicable law or that the information is material.
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