News : Frontier Shifting Away More Quickly from Off-shore Customer Service
San Bernardino, CA, USA, July 15, 2016 -- Frontier Communications Corporation has "rapidly accelerated" plans to return temporary off-shore customer service to the U.S. after finding the overseas performance "extremely disappointing" in the wake of the April 1 buyout of Verizon's voice, video, data and FiOS network.
The telecommunications company, which has been scrutinized over issues experienced by customers during the transition, will conclude its relationship by the end of this month with an off-shore customer service center tasked with handling a portion of backlog issues, western region Vice President of Marketing Cameron Christian said Tuesday.
Speaking to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors at the request of board Vice Chairman Robert Lovingood, Christian said the off-shore group, utilized by Verizon in the past, had been tapped to assist with customer complaints while more than 4,000 former Verizon employees were being trained on Frontier's back-end systems.
"Meaningful" training over 30 days for those new Frontier employees couldn't occur until April 1, according to Christian. Frontier had originally planned to use the off-shore center to supplement customer service efforts through the end of 2016, but now will return 1,000 new jobs to the U.S. and break off that relationship five months early.
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While the off-shore group continues to work during certain peak-calling periods, more than 80 percent of customer service calls are currently being handled in the U.S., he said.
Shaky customer service combined with inconsistent telecommunications delivery has drawn ire from many customers, leading local leaders to press Frontier on the efforts the company is undertaking to remedy issues.
Lovingood told Christian that his office had received more than 100 phone calls from constituents in the 1st District, which encompasses the Victor Valley, expressing frustration.
"What we're seeing today from our constituents," Lovingood said, "is just a complete drop in commitment of services."
Acknowledging the transition — including more than 1.5 million customers in California and another 1.5 million in Florida and Texas — "did not go perfectly," Christian said that the backlog of service issues encountered during the first 60 to 75 days post-transition "has largely been cleared."
He added that bill credits had been issued to certain customers who experienced problems and that operations were back to "normal," slipping in the caveat that "normal" was a relative term for any large telecommunication network.
"We will always have some trouble tickets," he said, "but like I mentioned before, the primary backlog was cleared by the end of May."
Frontier holds more than 30 facilities in the region and employs 100 workers in San Bernardino County, providing control to local decision-makers in an attempt to expedite problem solving, he said.
Lovingood requested that Frontier bring a service center to the 1st District.
Meanwhile, 4th District Supervisor Curt Hagman, saying that the volume of complaints his office had been receiving "died down quite a bit," still suggested there was work left to do.
"I think you have to rebuild that confidence in the branding you have in California," he said, "and I'm glad to see the efforts that you're taking here today."
Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales insisted that the county sought for any business to be successful, yet also explained that Frontier had to essentially embrace its duty.
"Perhaps a great deal of corrective action is needed and will be continued to be needed in order for us to see you through to a successful end," Gonzales said. "You play a critical role in this, not only in the personal lives of people that call San Bernardino County their home, but for those business entities who depend on your service. And I'm sure you're aware of this."
Following communication between county officials and Frontier on Tuesday, several individuals addressed the board about issues they've experienced, ranging from billing to lack of service.
In the Victor Valley, customers have reported an alarm system failing to connect calls to a security company during a burglary and expressed uneasiness about how seniors who depend on landlines for medical alert systems could cope in the event of an outage.
Frontier has established the email address to escalate issues to local teams that are expected to assist more quickly with problem resolution. "Melinda" is Melinda White, Frontier's western region president.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Frontier Communications:
Frontier Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: FTR) offers voice, broadband, satellite video, wireless Internet data access, data security solutions, bundled offerings and specialized bundles for residential customers, small businesses and home offices and advanced business communications for medium and large businesses in 27 states. Frontier’s approximately 15,400 employees are based entirely in the United States.
Published: Tuesday, July 19, 2016