Verizon: Reducing Late Payments and Billing Inquiries

Background

Verizon Communications, Inc. is the largest wireless communications service provider in the United States. The company is headquartered in New York City and employs almost 180,000 employees.

Verizon was rapidly increasing its sales, but the soaring cost of billing and collections had become a serious issue. Uncollectible accounts had nearly doubled over three years, and unnecessary billing inquiries to customer service reps had increased 30 percent in just one year. To improve profit and productivity, Verizon partnered with QualPro to reduce the number of overdue bills and unnecessary billing inquiries.

Approach

QualPro’s consultants assembled a team of Verizon’s managers and personnel from billing credit, technical support, and customer service departments. Together, the team brainstormed a large number of potential improvement ideas designed to increase profitability. Our consultants helped the team narrow the list to 18 ideas deemed practical, fast, and cost-free. Some of these ideas included giving more detailed answers to customers, increasing employee training, and allowing more time to handle each call.

Our consultants designed three experiments for Verizon’s personnel to perform. The consultants created different combinations of the 18 ideas for the call centers to perform. The first experiment tested 10 ideas on 20,000 customer accounts. The second and third experiments simultaneously tested eight new ideas to improve collections and 10 ideas to reduce billing inquiries. From these tests, two ideas proved to be effective: sending a billing explanation brochure and increasing employee training. After analyzing the experiment results, QualPro’s consultants created recommendations for Verizon to implement.

In accordance with our commitment to driving continuous improvement, our consultants worked closely with Verizon employees to guide the process changes.

Results

Following QualPro's recommendations, Verizon reduced the number of late payment accounts by 22 percent and reduced billing inquiries by almost 9 percent. These changes increased the company’s profit by millions of dollars.