Verizon - An award-winning commitment to usability

Verizon.com needed superior user experience design to provide the best online service for its customers. It chose HFI training for its eCommerce team — and leveraged that usability expertise to win “Best in Class” from The Customer Respect Group and “Ten Best Web Support Sites” ranking from the Association of Support Professionals (ASP).

The challenge

In the hypercompetitive communications industry, the battle is as much for the customers you have as for the ones you don’t. To keep “churn” rates down, providers need to marry breakthrough products with breakthrough customer service. So, Verizon set out to design the best online account management and e-support experience for seamless customer service at Verizon.com.

Technically and operationally, creating a single, online customer service presence was no simple matter. It meant bringing telecom and wireless websites together, integrating two completely different web interfaces with distinct architectures and unique design standards — to say nothing of the support, billing, and other business operations under those umbrellas, each one with its own ownership and culture.

Verizon’s integration initiative was an opportunity to reevaluate and relaunch its entire online customer service presence. What was working? What wasn’t? How could the user experience be made better and more consistent?

“We were looking aggressively for ways to make huge improvements,” says Mark Studness, Director of eCommerce at Verizon. The eCommerce team is the business function responsible for Verizon’s entire end-to-end online customer experience. They work with designers, usability practitioners, and other resources to guide an idea through its entire lifecycle, from concept to delivery and beyond.

The HFI approach

Verizon looked to HFI for user experience training for their eCommerce team.“We had to build a great website,” says Studness, “one that really served our customers’ needs. And how do you build a great website? You have to have the people with the right skills. That was the way to achieve our integration project and make significant improvement in our sites and online customer service.” Studness’s approach to the relaunch and integration project reflected his strategic leadership style. “I invest in our people’s skill sets. At the end of the day, they are the ones who are going to make this site better.” He discovered HFI’s Certified Usability Analyst (CUA) training program. The 10-day instructor-led training proved popular with team members, who felt the course was thorough, research-based, and grounded in practice. To date, more than 95 professionals from Verizon have received CUA training and certification.

The result

Verizon.com could not have gotten a more robust ROI from its HFI training. Leveraging their new understanding of user experience design, the Verizon E- Commerce team helped Verizon.com designers and usability practitioners solve numerous technical and design challenges as they relaunched Verizon.com’s customer service interface. The support team achieved Studness’ goal of creating the best possible online customer experience.

Beating the competition also created a crucial differentiator in a closely-fought market, one that garnered acclaim from industry analysts. The Customer Respect Group awarded Verizon.com “Best in Class” ranking in their 2008 Online Customer Service Study of Telecommunications Industry Websites. With continued improvement guided by CUAs in the eCommerce team, Verizon won the award again in 2009, the only provider to achieve an “Excellent” rating in two successive years.

Verizon.com then won the Association of Support Professionals (ASP) 12th Annual “Ten Best Web Support Sites” competition, based on its excellence in online service and support. In naming Verizon.com’s E-Support site one of the “Ten Best,” the ASP singled out Verizon.com’s quadruple-play integration, and validated the customer-centered approach fostered by the HFI training.

Because the new Verizon.com sets a new standard in customer service, it also saves Verizon a significant amount of money. User experience design anticipates and meets customer expectations, making the online experience attractive and satisfying. Customers are more likely to conduct their business online, when each successful interaction — a bill paid, a question answered, or a product or service sold is easy. Successful online interactions result in fewer calls to a call center. Each call center interaction is much more expensive than an online transaction. So, creating online customer service excellence creates call deflections, which translates into significant cost savings.

The monthly savings returned Verizon’s investment in HFI training very quickly. In 2009 savings generated by e-Support and Account Management transactions increased by 38% representing savings of $50MM.

Terry
Terry Golesworthy, President of The Customer Respect Group, said, “Verizon was the first and, to date, the only provider to offer an integrated online customer service experience across the four key products: TV, internet, telephone and wireless. Verizon came out on top of our provider review in all aspects including, and most critically, the usability criteria.”
Mark
Mark Studness, Director of eCommerce, said, “We have definitely incorporated the principles in HFI training into our operations. There is a heightened sense of satisfaction from the employees who appreciate the company’s investment in them. Moreover, they gain confidence and professionalism from having knowledge they can apply day to day, creating customer service excellence in their web projects. The awards Verizon.com received are what really came out of the HFI training program.”

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Privacy policy

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

This Privacy Policy governs the manner in which Human Factors International, Inc., an Iowa corporation (“HFI”) collects, uses, maintains and discloses information collected from users (each, a “User”) of its humanfactors.com website and any derivative or affiliated websites on which this Privacy Policy is posted (collectively, the “Website”). HFI reserves the right, at its discretion, to change, modify, add or remove portions of this Privacy Policy at any time by posting such changes to this page. You understand that you have the affirmative obligation to check this Privacy Policy periodically for changes, and you hereby agree to periodically review this Privacy Policy for such changes. The continued use of the Website following the posting of changes to this Privacy Policy constitutes an acceptance of those changes.

Cookies

HFI may use “cookies” or “web beacons” to track how Users use the Website. A cookie is a piece of software that a web server can store on Users’ PCs and use to identify Users should they visit the Website again. Users may adjust their web browser software if they do not wish to accept cookies. To withdraw your consent after accepting a cookie, delete the cookie from your computer.

Privacy

HFI believes that every User should know how it utilizes the information collected from Users. The Website is not directed at children under 13 years of age, and HFI does not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13 years of age online. Please note that the Website may contain links to other websites. These linked sites may not be operated or controlled by HFI. HFI is not responsible for the privacy practices of these or any other websites, and you access these websites entirely at your own risk. HFI recommends that you review the privacy practices of any other websites that you choose to visit.

HFI is based, and this website is hosted, in the United States of America. If User is from the European Union or other regions of the world with laws governing data collection and use that may differ from U.S. law and User is registering an account on the Website, visiting the Website, purchasing products or services from HFI or the Website, or otherwise using the Website, please note that any personally identifiable information that User provides to HFI will be transferred to the United States. Any such personally identifiable information provided will be processed and stored in the United States by HFI or a service provider acting on its behalf. By providing your personally identifiable information, User hereby specifically and expressly consents to such transfer and processing and the uses and disclosures set forth herein.

In the course of its business, HFI may perform expert reviews, usability testing, and other consulting work where personal privacy is a concern. HFI believes in the importance of protecting personal information, and may use measures to provide this protection, including, but not limited to, using consent forms for participants or “dummy” test data.

The Information HFI Collects

Users browsing the Website without registering an account or affirmatively providing personally identifiable information to HFI do so anonymously. Otherwise, HFI may collect personally identifiable information from Users in a variety of ways. Personally identifiable information may include, without limitation, (i)contact data (such as a User’s name, mailing and e-mail addresses, and phone number); (ii)demographic data (such as a User’s zip code, age and income); (iii) financial information collected to process purchases made from HFI via the Website or otherwise (such as credit card, debit card or other payment information); (iv) other information requested during the account registration process; and (v) other information requested by our service vendors in order to provide their services. If a User communicates with HFI by e-mail or otherwise, posts messages to any forums, completes online forms, surveys or entries or otherwise interacts with or uses the features on the Website, any information provided in such communications may be collected by HFI. HFI may also collect information about how Users use the Website, for example, by tracking the number of unique views received by the pages of the Website, or the domains and IP addresses from which Users originate. While not all of the information that HFI collects from Users is personally identifiable, it may be associated with personally identifiable information that Users provide HFI through the Website or otherwise. HFI may provide ways that the User can opt out of receiving certain information from HFI. If the User opts out of certain services, User information may still be collected for those services to which the User elects to subscribe. For those elected services, this Privacy Policy will apply.

How HFI Uses Information

HFI may use personally identifiable information collected through the Website for the specific purposes for which the information was collected, to process purchases and sales of products or services offered via the Website if any, to contact Users regarding products and services offered by HFI, its parent, subsidiary and other related companies in order to otherwise to enhance Users’ experience with HFI. HFI may also use information collected through the Website for research regarding the effectiveness of the Website and the business planning, marketing, advertising and sales efforts of HFI. HFI does not sell any User information under any circumstances.

Disclosure of Information

HFI may disclose personally identifiable information collected from Users to its parent, subsidiary and other related companies to use the information for the purposes outlined above, as necessary to provide the services offered by HFI and to provide the Website itself, and for the specific purposes for which the information was collected. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information at the request of law enforcement or governmental agencies or in response to subpoenas, court orders or other legal process, to establish, protect or exercise HFI’s legal or other rights or to defend against a legal claim or as otherwise required or allowed by law. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information in order to protect the rights, property or safety of a User or any other person. HFI may disclose personally identifiable information to investigate or prevent a violation by User of any contractual or other relationship with HFI or the perpetration of any illegal or harmful activity. HFI may also disclose aggregate, anonymous data based on information collected from Users to investors and potential partners. Finally, HFI may disclose or transfer personally identifiable information collected from Users in connection with or in contemplation of a sale of its assets or business or a merger, consolidation or other reorganization of its business.

Personal Information as Provided by User

If a User includes such User’s personally identifiable information as part of the User posting to the Website, such information may be made available to any parties using the Website. HFI does not edit or otherwise remove such information from User information before it is posted on the Website. If a User does not wish to have such User’s personally identifiable information made available in this manner, such User must remove any such information before posting. HFI is not liable for any damages caused or incurred due to personally identifiable information made available in the foregoing manners. For example, a User posts on an HFI-administered forum would be considered Personal Information as provided by User and subject to the terms of this section.

Security of Information

Information about Users that is maintained on HFI’s systems or those of its service providers is protected using industry standard security measures. However, no security measures are perfect or impenetrable, and HFI cannot guarantee that the information submitted to, maintained on or transmitted from its systems will be completely secure. HFI is not responsible for the circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures relating to the Website by any Users or third parties.

Correcting, Updating, Accessing or Removing Personal Information

If a User’s personally identifiable information changes, or if a User no longer desires to receive non-account specific information from HFI, HFI will endeavor to provide a way to correct, update and/or remove that User’s previously-provided personal data. This can be done by emailing a request to HFI at hfi@humanfactors.com. Additionally, you may request access to the personally identifiable information as collected by HFI by sending a request to HFI as set forth above. Please note that in certain circumstances, HFI may not be able to completely remove a User’s information from its systems. For example, HFI may retain a User’s personal information for legitimate business purposes, if it may be necessary to prevent fraud or future abuse, for account recovery purposes, if required by law or as retained in HFI’s data backup systems or cached or archived pages. All retained personally identifiable information will continue to be subject to the terms of the Privacy Policy to which the User has previously agreed.

Contacting HFI

If you have any questions or comments about this Privacy Policy, you may contact HFI via any of the following methods:
Human Factors International, Inc.
PO Box 2020
1680 highway 1, STE 3600
Fairfield IA 52556
hfi@humanfactors.com
(800) 242-4480

Terms and Conditions for Public Training Courses

Reviewed: 18 Mar 2014

Cancellation of Course by HFI

HFI reserves the right to cancel any course up to 14 (fourteen) days prior to the first day of the course. Registrants will be promptly notified and will receive a full refund or be transferred to the equivalent class of their choice within a 12-month period. HFI is not responsible for travel expenses or any costs that may be incurred as a result of cancellations.

Cancellation of Course by Participants (All regions except India)

$100 processing fee if cancelling within two weeks of course start date.

Cancellation / Transfer by Participants (India)

4 Pack + Exam registration: Rs. 10,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (4 Pack-CUA/CXA) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Individual Modules: Rs. 3,000 per participant ‘per module’ processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the course (any Individual HFI course) registration before three weeks from the course start date. No refund or carry forward of the course fees if cancelling or transferring the course registration within three weeks before the course start date.

Exam: Rs. 3,000 per participant processing fee (to be paid by the participant) if cancelling or transferring the pre agreed CUA/CXA exam date before three weeks from the examination date. No refund or carry forward of the exam fees if requesting/cancelling or transferring the CUA/CXA exam within three weeks before the examination date.

No Recording Permitted

There will be no audio or video recording allowed in class. Students who have any disability that might affect their performance in this class are encouraged to speak with the instructor at the beginning of the class.

Course Materials Copyright

The course and training materials and all other handouts provided by HFI during the course are published, copyrighted works proprietary and owned exclusively by HFI. The course participant does not acquire title nor ownership rights in any of these materials. Further the course participant agrees not to reproduce, modify, and/or convert to electronic format (i.e., softcopy) any of the materials received from or provided by HFI. The materials provided in the class are for the sole use of the class participant. HFI does not provide the materials in electronic format to the participants in public or onsite courses.