Qwest Concentrates on Customers

Qwest names Joni Baird as VP of corporate social responsibility (a.k.a. community relations), touts customer service improvements

November 21, 2002

4 Min Read

DENVER -- Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q - News) today announced that Joni Baird, 54, has been named vice president of corporate social responsibility. Baird, who will report directly to Joan H. Walker, Qwest senior vice president of corporate marketing and communications, will be responsible for the company's rejuvenated giving program, the Qwest Foundation, and other community relations efforts. "We are pleased to have attracted Joni, a respected community and corporate leader, to the Qwest team," said Walker. "We are re-focusing our efforts around the 'Spirit of Service,' which includes re-engaging in the communities in which we do business, with our retirees and the Qwest Pioneers. Joni's experience and commitment will allow us to move forward swiftly and with a renewed sense of purpose." Baird has run award-winning community relations programs at corporations in the past, and was most recently vice president of community relations at U.S. Bank in Denver. Baird also held executive positions at Johns Manville Corporation, where she headed up the company's community relations efforts and was vice president of the Johns Manville Fund. Prior to joining Johns Manville, she was an investigator in the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, where she created programs to support rape victims. She is also on faculty at Regis University in the Masters of Nonprofit Management program. In a separate release: Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q - News) announced today that several company-wide initiatives unveiled last month are producing immediate results. Efforts to dramatically improve the customer service Qwest provides to residential and wireless customers began on October 6. Qwest's new service focus already has improved the consumer experience and uses new technology to provide additional consumer service options. Several initiatives are ahead of schedule, including the opening of the customer solution center in Des Moines, Iowa; and enhancements to Qwest's web site. A customizable section of the Qwest web site now offers consumers extensive online capabilities, and improved access to personal account information. In addition, on November 23, Qwest will extend its hours to provide consumers with service availability on Saturdays. As part of Qwest's commitment to improved service, the company pledged to provide details of all ongoing service efforts. Notable results to date include:

  • A new automated e-care solution called MyQwest became available in October, offering residential and wireless customers a customizable section of the Qwest web site to manage their accounts. MyQwest provides new online services, including the ability to check wireless minutes used, review monthly bills, buy products and receive notification of order status. Today, there are nearly 350,000 customers using MyQwest e-care solutions within Qwest.com and an average of 3,000 new consumers sign up each day. Additional e-care improvements will be announced in December.

  • Qwest is taking its commitment to customer service seriously by reducing outside vendors by a total of 17 percent and shifting customer support to internal resources. To that end, the Qwest Customer Solution Center opened November 5. The purpose of this center, which employs more than 240 people, is to resolve questions about more complex services in one phone call. Consumers with multiple services work directly with a customer care representative who has more extensive training in bundled services, including DSL and wireless.

  • Qwest is launching new Saturday hours for consumer sales, customer care and El Centro, a Spanish language sales and care center, on November 23, 2002. These Saturday hours are in addition to existing Saturday hours at the Credit Management Center, where customers can make bill payments. These call centers will now be open on Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (MST), meeting the goal of answering consumer calls between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. in all of Qwest's local service area time zones.

  • In addition, Qwest has reduced telemarketing calls by 30 percent overall, including during the dinner hours, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. As part of Qwest's tighter telemarketing quality standards and training, customers will receive fewer calls from Qwest.

"Customer service is the highest priority at Qwest, and we are holding ourselves accountable for implementing these initiatives within an aggressive time frame," said Annette Jacobs, president of Qwest consumer markets group. "Just 45 days after announcing our commitment to the Spirit of Service initiatives, we've seen some great improvements. We'll continue to improve and update consumers on our progress." Qwest Communications International Inc.

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