Customer service is improving, Charlotte-based FairPoint says
The Associated Press
MONTPELIER, Vt. - Under fire for its poor performance, FairPoint Communications (NYSE: FRP) told Vermont regulators Thursday it has reduced wait times for consumers who contact call centers and has sharply cut the number who give up before they ever speak to an operator.
In a filing with the Vermont Public Service Board, the company that bought out Verizon Communications' landline and Internet business in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont said the average wait time for callers to its Consumer Call Center was now nine seconds and 89 percent of calls were answered within 20 seconds. The company said those times were faster than at any point since the company began service in February.
The filing also said:
• The average wait time for calls to a Business Call Center was now 16 seconds.
• The average wait time for calls to FairPoint's repair center was 19 seconds, which is better than at any point since the "cutover" from Verizon.
• The average rate for abandoned calls - when callers hang up before a customer service representative answers - was down to 1 percent for consumers and 2 percent for business calls and repair calls. In March, 59 percent of consumer center callers were hanging up early, according to FairPoint.
• One percent of customer bills now are known to have errors, compared with about 5 percent in April and May.
"In short, FairPoint believes that it has made and continues to make substantial progress to improve its systems and processes that will result in continued customer-service improvements to levels which will exceed those prior to cutover," said company President Peter Nixon in testimony submitted to the board.
But he said FairPoint was still having trouble with new order installations and wasn't filling them as efficiently as Verizon did.
FairPoint, which is based in Charlotte, N.C., bought Verizon's northern New England business in 2008 and formally began service last February. It has been plagued with problems, including erroneous bills, poor call response and delayed completion of new order installations. Customers, in turn, have deluged regulators with complaints, wanting action.
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