How Verizon is using AI solutions to reduce customer churns

Verizon Communications has revealed how it’s using generative AI solutions to reduce customer churns by predicting why a customer is calling, connecting them with a suitable agent and reducing store visit time.

Verizon retail store

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said: “We have four generative AI products in commercial use. We have 1,500 data points on each telephone number. We don’t expose the data for anybody else. We run all our data, large language models inside our network, not outside.”

Verizon has about 70 million store visits every year. The company can personalize any offer as soon as a customer visits, cutting roughly seven minutes per store visit, Hans Vestberg said at the Future Talent Summit in Stockholm.

Verizon, one of the leading telecom operators in the United States, reported about 145 million wireless retail connections in 2023. Its churn rate, percentage of customers who stopped using the company’s services, hovered around 1 percent, Reuters news report said.

“We believe this year we can have less churn … it’s an experience for you, for my employee, and ultimately I’ll make some more money,” Hans Vestberg said.

Hans Vestberg said the company receives around 170 million calls every year. Verizon uses GenAI to determine 80 percent of the time why a customer is calling. “I have 60,000 call agents and I know what they are really good at so I can match your call with the right agent. This would mean 100,000 customers staying with Verizon,” Hans Vestberg said.

According to a recent Analysys Mason survey of CSPs worldwide, 90 percent of respondents said that GenAI is becoming critically or highly important for achieving  business goals. Respondents also expect GenAI to have an impact across all business domains and are struggling to prioritise use-case adoption when GenAI is applicable everywhere.

The recent IDC report said global telecoms are in the process of utilizing a number of use cases including customer service chatbots, virtual assistants, and field technicians, as well as the usage of AI for network modernization and predictive maintenance, network traffic management, personalized marketing, fraud detection and prevention, churn predictions, and revenue assurance.

“With the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics, the telecom operators have obtained a new powerful ally that should help them modernize their business operations and improve efficiencies,” said Kresimir Alic, research director, Worldwide Telecom Services at IDC.

Earlier this year, Verizon launched several GenAI-backed initiatives focused on customer service. Other companies such as Swedish fintech Klarna have been using GenAI from OpenAI to cut response time in handling customers and save costs.

Verizon has developed and deployed human-assisted GenAI applications aimed at simplifying customer interactions and ensuring positive experiences with every engagement.

These AI tools are crafted to facilitate seamless business transactions with Verizon, significantly reducing the cognitive load on both store personnel and customer service representatives. These tools operate with a “human in the loop” approach, acting as personal guides to assist customers and frontline employees in finding the best solutions and offers available. This strategy not only streamlines processes but also allows Verizon representatives to build meaningful relationships with customers, emphasizing the importance of every interaction.

Verizon’s personal assistant technology is a cornerstone of this initiative, aiding frontline teams in navigating thousands of resources to swiftly and accurately provide personalized information to customers. This enhancement has enabled employees to resolve nearly 95 percent of customer inquiries efficiently.

Leveraging AI, Verizon intelligently pairs customers with the most suitable customer care representatives based on their specific needs. This AI-driven matchmaking enhances the customer experience by fostering optimal human connections. Additionally, the AI serves as a personal shopper and problem solver, instantly analyzing customer profiles to give employees a head start on understanding and addressing customer concerns. As a result, Verizon has managed to reduce customer transaction times by two to four minutes.

From new plans and product offers to service upgrades, AI proactively identifies customer needs, ensuring agile and consistent experiences regardless of the shopping platform. This proactive approach has significantly boosted customer engagement and reduced churn rates.

“We’re on a journey to provide a premium experience during every interaction because we know it matters to our customers,” stated Brian Higgins, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Verizon Consumer. “We connect roughly 99 percent of the population and they count on us to handle everything from making calls and sending texts, to purchasing new tech, billing questions, or checking out new products in our stores.”

The positive impact of these innovations is evident, with notable increases in customer satisfaction and engagement across all sales and service channels. From addressing pain points and delivering signature experiences to creating top-tier digital channels and ensuring simplicity and transparency at every touchpoint, Verizon’s teams are seeing meaningful improvements.

Baburajan Kizhakedath

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