Advance Preparation May Save Verizon in Current Employee Strike

Verizon Company Crisis PR

Verizon employees began their strike early in April protesting to the company’s plans to outsource jobs and transfer some work to other areas of the country. Leaving the company to face the largest strike in their history. But it turns out, at least to this point, the strike is having only a minimal effect on customers. That is primarily due to Verizon’s forward thinking and preparation.

A few years ago, Verizon began implementing more automated and “self-serve” options for customers both calling in and online. According to Tami Erwin, Sr. VP, in 2014, about 20 percent of customer service interactions were resolved by customers using Verizon’s interactive phone menus or their website. The self-service includes troubleshooting for home networks and routers, and other issues including bundling upgrades and billing inquiries.Currently, self-service happens in more than 60 percent of all service transactions.

Technology is saving “multiple millions of calls per month,” Bob Mudge, Executive VP said last week. Customers no longer need a representative to perform tasks such as upgrading a service plan to faster internet speeds, and FiOS routers, considered “self-healing,” allow users to directly request a reboot if there is a problem.

All the upgrades added to a training program Verizon began a year ago with salaried employees at a national centralized location, means Verizon had tens of thousands of temporary call-center workers trained and ready to step into the strike-vacant spots immediately.

It’s not a long-term solution since some of these temps include company PR officials, lawyers, and corporate tax employees who have their own jobs to complete. But the advance preparation gives Verizon more wiggle room during the strike, allowing them to report to customers that though it’s a large strike, their service should not be affected in any way.

Verizon used online videoconferencing to train people to fill replacement jobs if needed, and they are needed now, including management-level staff going into the field, even in bucket trucks, to keep service as usual. In this process, for whatever reason Verizon put their training and self-serve technology in place, it has provided a means for them to weather the storm of the current strike. If the company continues to make thoughtful and well-planned decisions, they should come through this strike without any damage to their reputation and continue to be ready for further growth.

Firms that have worked for Verizon include Axia Public Relations & Crenshaw Communications.

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Comments

  1. Gman says

    Really? If you think this companies silly little training program in Virginia to teach desk-sitters to climb poles is training and preparation. You are crazy! Most union technicians take 4-5 years to master their craft. This includes advanced knowledge about electrical properties, fiber optic training, hazardous voltage, etc. Many have professional licenses, others CDLs. Most have a degree in an electric related field (condition of hire). The only people that could step in to do these jobs are experienced technicians and linemen.

    Verizon is not only demonstrating its hatred for its employees by cutting off their healthcare, they are abusing their management left behind to fill in for union workers with 16 hour days. The replacement workers or scabs are also being used and will be tossed aside like day old newspapers. This is the first organization to publicly trash their own workers and lie about its employees through costly videos and newspaper ads.

    Verizon is also shortsighted in the way they run the business. Soon their cellular network will reach its saturation point and the executives at the top will have completed their job of lining their pockets with gold. What is the next big thing? They don’t know, they have no plan, and all of the bright people who built this company are walking the street.

    These workers who so easily had their healthcare stopped were also the same people who responded to 911 in New York and built the phone systems up in no time. These are the same Americans who saddled up and headed to New Jersey in response to Hurricane Sandy. These are the same workers who contribute to their communities. Oh I guess they teach that in their 3 day training school or teleconference.

  2. Bob says

    @Stephanie:

    I don’t know what fantasy world you are living in, but if you don’t work, you don’t get the benefits.

  3. Bad Article says

    That is the most ridiculously slanted article I have yet read. Has the author not seen the YouTube video of these so called “trained” replacement workers? They are dropping poles on people’s houses!

  4. Stephanie says

    I have a response to your comment “If the company continues to make thoughtful and well-planned decisions, they should come through this strike without any damage to their reputation and continue to be ready for further growth.”

    Canceling healthcare for thousands of workers will not affect the reputation of the company? Verizon had a choice not to do this and I really think this is horrible when they are publishing that they are bargaining in good faith?

    I truly hope that the people of this country would have compassion and the image of Verizon would be in question.

    • Scott says

      The Union workers also had a choice not to walk out. I have read the most recent proposal that Verizon put forth to the Union. It was fair and addressed its concerns. The Union is playing politics… and in doing so they toy with peoples’ lives. The benefits ran out for these workers because they STOPPED WORKING. That is what happens when they quit their jobs. The longer they are out, the better the replacements that Verizon put in place will perform, and the less relevant the Union workers will become. If they are smart, the Union will get off their collective butts and get back to the table and accept the reasonable proposal that Verizon put forth.

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