Cingular simplifies bills

Jul 12 2004 - 11:49 AM ET | Cingular
Cingular Wireless has announced a simplified bill that it hopes will lure more customers. There are lots of changes, but the one we like the most is the simulated first bill: no more suprises about all the taxes and charges that get tacked on. Other handy features include color coded maps to show callings areas, and having the most important information all at the top. The full press release follows below. Cingular Sets New Standard in Customer Service With Cingular Service Summary and New Bill Forma Personalized Profile and New Easy-to-Read Bill Format Simplifies Customer Experience Cingular Wireless, the first nationwide wireless carrier awarded the right to use the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association's "Seal of Wireless Quality," today announced a new, improved and simplified monthly bill format and a clear and a personalized summary of the customers' service plan designed to increase customer satisfaction while reducing questions about billing issues and services purchased. These new customer initiatives introduced in South Florida are part of company's ongoing commitment to delivering customer service that meets or exceeds "Seal of Wireless Quality" standards. The Cingular Service Summary gives new customers easy-to-understand information about their service plan, a simulated first bill with expected charges, an example of a subsequent bill, color-coded coverage maps specific to their calling plan, and other details about the terms and conditions of service. The service began rolling out in April in company-owned stores throughout South Florida and will be available in exclusive agent locations later this summer. At the time of new service activation, Cingular customers will receive their personalized Cingular Service Summary. This one document provides customers with a quick, easy-to-understand explanation of their new wireless service, giving them the information they need to effectively and conveniently manage their account. The new easier-to-read bill format, designed with input from customers and employee focus groups, better categorizes vital information and moves the most relevant data to the first page of the bill. For example, last payment date, current bill due date, rollover minutes, past due balance, and current rate plan information will all be included in a convenient location. Bills are also available in Spanish upon request. "When our Cingular sales associates assist customers with finding and selecting a phone and wireless service plan that fits their unique needs, the job is only half done," said Rich Guidotti, Vice President and General Manager Cingular Wireless-South Florida. "The next step is to make sure our customers understand the particulars about their calling plan and bill and know how to utilize all of their features. Our Cingular Service Summary and new bill format give customers the information they need in a simple format customized just for them -- so they can enjoy all the benefits of being mobile without any of the confusion new customers sometimes might face during those first couple of months or questions that come up throughout the term of their agreement." Each Cingular Service Summary contains customer-specific information, including: * My Info: Contains the customer's wireless phone number; account number; activation date; terms of service; activation charge; deposit amount; monthly service charge; billing cycle; regular minutes; additional minute charge; and bonus minutes (if applicable). * My Phone: Includes cost information on the wireless phone purchased. * Plan Details: Lists all features included or purchased in a customer's plan, such as Rollover(SM) minutes; text messaging; call forwarding; call waiting; caller ID; three-way calling; basic voice mail; and detailed billing. * My Calling Area: Includes a color-coded coverage map specific for each customer's plan and home-calling area. * Manage My Account: Provides information for customers on how to log on to to find out details of their calling plan, account balances and even how to change their rate plan. Customers can also pay their bills online and sign up for Auto-Pay. "Each of these enhancements addresses billing issues, questions and suggestions that customers or employees have shared with us," said Guidotti. "We are constantly looking for ways to improve the 'Customer Experience,' and this update to our billing system and personalized account summary are just two of many initiatives in our quest to provide products and services that 'Fit You Best.'" Additionally, the Cingular Service Summary includes general information, such as costs/fees associated with 411 calls, text messaging use and early termination; explanations of Rollover(sm) Minutes, Caller ID, and detailed billing; description of services such as Auto Pay; instructions for setting up voice mail; and a "first bill estimator" so customers will know what to expect when their actual first bill arrives. Each Cingular Service Summary contains the contact information of the Cingular sales associate who assisted them, as well as Cingular's toll-free customer service number (1-866-CINGULAR) and Web address ( ), so customers can receive additional information about their account. Subscribers also can dial 611 from their Cingular phone to be connected with a customer service representative. In recent months, the company has introduced more detailed coverage maps and simplified rate plans as well as self service enhancements that let customers check account information and add services right from their handsets by dialing a Star Service number such as *BAL for their balance, *MIN to check minutes, *PAY to pay their bill and *NOW to order features like text messaging packages.