- Verizon has completely redesigned its service delivery model, fundamentally changing its approach and supporting technologies, as well as organization and process flows.
- The initiative, dubbed ‘Rapid Delivery,’ has increased operational efficiency, leading to reductions in the time required for quotes, orders and contracting. Tightened data integrity means greater accuracy throughout the sales process.
Improving the customer experience is on every carrier’s radar. One of the charges often levied against very large carriers (and large companies in general for that matter) is that it’s often difficult to get things done. If there is a service or billing error, resolution can become a time-consuming, frustrating effort for the customer. Over the last several years, a number of providers have invested in initiatives to improve customer self-service tools such as portals as well as internal tools used by sales and support teams. Revamping the customer engagement process from pre-sales through deployment and ongoing support is a daunting task for any provider, but for carriers that have grown through acquisition, consolidating multiple systems and processes acquired over many years adds another layer of complexity to an already sensitive, complicated mission. Verizon is one of those providers that has taken on the challenge; so far, it seems to be making exceptional headway in its efforts.
Verizon has accumulated hundreds of systems throughout its growth process, and in recent years, it has been working to decommission legacy systems, a significant undertaking for a company of the size and scale of Verizon. Most recently, Verizon invested more than $150 million in an initiative it has dubbed ‘Rapid Delivery’ – a complete process redesign to streamline and automate all aspects of the sales lifecycle to increase operational efficiency, improve speed and accuracy of quotes, orders and invoices, and reduce the opportunity for human error, with the ultimate goal of serving customers quickly and efficiently.
In developing Rapid Delivery, Verizon identified six process steps – opportunities, quotes, pricing, contracts, orders and billing – with each step having an associated system. The systems underpinning Rapid Delivery rely on the integration of industry-standard solutions along with internally developed tools. For example, the carrier uses Salesforce.com to track opportunities and has integrated links to its pricing, quoting and contracting systems. Digitization of contracts is another important development under Rapid Delivery. Verizon has eliminated lengthy paper contracts in favor of shorter digital documents. A product catalog includes rules for product configuration as well as availability, taxes and other information to ensure that the quoted service is available and flows through correctly for provisioning. However, updating systems is only half the battle. New systems and processes are useless without employee buy-in and training. To that end, Verizon has invested more than 250,000 hours in training more than 11,000 employees on the new processes so far.
Currently, Private IP, access services, CPE and managed network services are supported under Rapid Delivery, but the carrier is continuing to add support for products based on customer requirements. So far, Rapid Delivery is proving to be a game changer for Verizon, and the carrier has already seen substantial improvements from the initiative: timeframes for quoting, pricing, contracting, ordering and billing have been reduced from days or weeks to hours and minutes. Verizon cites several examples of large multi-site projects where the lifecycle from quote to installation was a matter of weeks. The combination of these improvements has resulted in a net of around 70% improvement in time from quote to delivery.
The improvements that Verizon has made will certainly help take costs out of operations in the long run; automation reduces human error and allows the carrier to manage employee resources more efficiently. Rapid, accurate response is something that will resonate with customers, differentiating Verizon from its peers.