AT&T, Accenture Join Forces to Transform AT&T Consumer Sales and Customer Care
Firms sign agreement to creatively enhance sales and care capability serving nearly 60 million consumers
NEW YORK – Jan. 15, 2002 – AT&T (NYSE: T) and Accenture (NYSE: ACN) today announced an innovative, multi-billion-dollar agreement in which the firms will team to transform AT&T Consumer’s long distance sales and customer care operation. The “co-sourcing” agreement, which calls for AT&T to spend about $2.6 billion over five years, combines the strengths of both companies, each of which will contribute to the management, staffing, technology and culture of the operation.
Under terms of the agreement, AT&T Consumer will continue to be responsible for establishing strategic business direction, defining marketing strategies and designing product offerings. Accenture will be responsible for providing new technology development and ongoing management direction for the transformation of AT&T Consumer’s long distance sales and customer care operation.
“This is a terrific business opportunity for both companies and a positive development for consumers, employees and shareowners,” said Betsy Bernard, AT&T Consumer president and chief executive officer. “This agreement will enable us to continue to deliver the world-class customer care consumers rightly expect from AT&T, while at the same time transform our business to dramatically increase our operational efficiency and significantly reduce costs.”
As part of the agreement, AT&T will provide the vast majority of employees for the “co-sourced” operation. These people will remain on the AT&T payroll, collecting the same AT&T salary and benefits they currently enjoy, and most will continue to perform the same work they do today while reporting to their current AT&T supervisor or manager. Going forward, these costs will become part of the “co-sourced” agreement.
Accenture, in turn, will provide personnel who will help lead the transformation and implement technology and process improvements. Specifically, Accenture will be responsible for deploying innovative new technology to transform AT&T Consumer’s customer care computer and systems infrastructure to enrich AT&T’s interactions with its customers. Accenture also will deliver innovative training and performance management techniques that, in the end, will result in AT&T’s customer care representatives having the leading-edge tools and information they need to serve customers quickly and efficiently for years to come.
The “co-sourced” operation will be led by Bill Stake, currently vice president for AT&T Consumer’s sales and customer care organization.
There will be no immediate change in the ways customers interact with AT&T Consumer. And there are long-term benefits designed into the agreement to enhance customer care and build on AT&T’s tradition of world-class customer service.
Both companies said that today’s agreement also is expected to result in significant savings for AT&T. Specifically, AT&T Consumer said the “co-sourced” operation will enable the company to improve productivity and flexibility while reducing sales and customer care costs by more than half over the life of the agreement.
“AT&T and Accenture are transforming an award-winning sales and customer care team by merging the experience and skills of both organizations,” said Joe Forehand, Accenture chairman and CEO. “This, combined with state-of-the-art technology, will enable AT&T Consumer to serve its customers more quickly and efficiently than ever before.”
Bernard said today’s announcement stemmed from AT&T Consumer’s strategic imperatives to manage the business for cash while transforming its service-delivery operation, even as it explores new opportunities for growth while preparing to become a tracking stock later this year. She emphasized that the company will benefit by having an even clearer expectation of its sales and customer care costs since they’re clearly articulated in the agreement with Accenture.
Bernard said the agreement includes strong performance metrics to ensure the “co-sourced” operation meets quality standards consistent with AT&T’s. The agreement also includes upside opportunities for Accenture and AT&T if the “co-sourced” operation surpasses certain targets, and the ability for AT&T to earn service credits from Accenture if the “co-sourced” operation misses certain targets.
Both companies said the agreement is effective immediately.
AT&T (www.att.com) is among the world’s premier voice, video and data communications companies, serving consumers, businesses and government. Backed by the research and development capabilities of AT&T Labs, the company runs the world’s largest, most sophisticated communications network and is the largest cable operator in the U.S. The company is a leading supplier of data and Internet services for businesses and offers outsourcing, consulting and networking-integration to large businesses.
Accenture is the world’s leading management consulting and technology services organization. Through its network of businesses approach — in which the company enhances its consulting and outsourcing expertise through alliances, affiliated companies and other capabilities — Accenture delivers innovations that help clients across all industries quickly realize their visions. With more than 75,000 people in 47 countries, the company generated net revenues of $11.44 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2001. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
Editor’s note: NEWS BRIEFING CONFERENCE CALL
AT&T and Accenture will hold a news briefing conference call at 1:30 p.m. (Eastern time) today with Betsy Bernard, AT&T Consumer president and chief executive officer, and Joe Forehand, Accenture chairman and chief executive officer. The number for today’s briefing is 1-800-288-8961 (U.S.) or 1-612-288-0337 (international). No access code is required. Trouble number: 1-866-892-1640 (U.S.) and 1-612-334-6983 (international). A replay of the news conference will be available for 24 hours beginning this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. (Eastern time) at 1-800-475-6701, access code 623652 (U.S.), or 1-320-365-3844, access code 623652 (international).
The foregoing are "forward-looking statements" which are based on management’s beliefs as well as on a number of assumptions concerning future events made by and information currently available to management. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on such forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside AT&T’s control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements. For a more detailed description of the factors that could cause such a difference, please see AT&T’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. This information is presented solely to provide additional information to further understand the results of AT&T.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, the accuracy of which is necessarily subject to risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied include general economic conditions and other factors, including those discussed in the Accenture Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2001 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Accenture undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.