Verizon on Thursday cut a number of employee positions in its retail locations across the country just ahead of its third quarter earnings report.
Verizon spokeswoman Kim Ancin on Monday told Wireless Week the cuts stem from Verizon’s decision to combine two of its in-store positions – experience specialist and operations specialist – into a single role.
Ancin said experience specialists were formerly in charge of greeting customers at the door, taking their names and entering them into the service queue, while operations specialists were tasked with back room inventory, among other things. The new position of “retail specialist” will be responsible for all of those duties, Ancin said.
According to Ancin, employees were notified of the change Thursday afternoon. Those impacted by the change will be allowed to apply for other positions within the company, she said.
Because some employees may take up different positions with Verizon, Ancin said she could not provide a figure for the number of jobs lost. She did, however, say previous indications from a Communications Workers of America (CWA) representative that thousands of positions were lost was “exaggerated.”
CWA could not immediately be reached for comment Monday morning.
Prior to the cuts, Ancin said Verizon had approximately 162,000 employees. The vast majority of Verizon retail employees are not unionized, but in May Verizon and CWA struck the first-ever contract agreement for approximately 70 Verizon Wireless retail workers in Brooklyn, N.Y. and Everett, Mass.
But the tweak is not the only streamlining change Verizon has recently instituted in its stores.
Back in August, Verizon Executive Vice President of Wireless Operations David Small said the carrier was working to streamline in-store transactions with a new customer interaction model called Flex Flow. Small said the new tablet-based workflow helps employees more quickly address what customers came into the store to accomplish. The system is already yielding reductions in transaction times, which Small said allows the carrier to “be far more efficient with the employees that we have.”
Verizon’s retail shift also comes just ahead of the carrier’s third quarter earnings report scheduled for Oct. 20.
In the second quarter, Verizon said wireless revenues fell four percent year over year to $21.7 billion. The carrier recorded 86,000 net handset additions during that period, up from a loss of 8,000 in the previous quarter but well below analyst estimates of 191,000 net additions.