As Senior Vice President for Nationwide Small Business and Channel Chief for Verizon Business, Wendy Taccetta is responsible for driving results in several strategic areas of the business. They are focused on creating the best end-to-end wireless experience for small business owners who trust their business to Verizon.
She is also focused on developing a customer-centric Partner Program at Verizon. They understand that a great partner experience will always deliver a better customer experience. Channel Partners has called their strategic focus “a historic revamping” of Verizon’s channel program. Their ambition is to make it easier than ever before to partner with Verizon.
Her team of 1,400+ employees is committed to accelerating small business growth, driving transformation across the Verizon Business ecosystem, and fostering a culture of collaboration every day.
She has held a variety of roles during her 21-year tenure at Verizon, which has allowed her to build a diverse resume of experience in business and consumer sales, business transformation, and sales operations. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President, Global Commercial Operations at Verizon Business.
She is a second-generation V-teamer, whose father was a field technician for 35+ years. She lives in New Jersey with her husband of 17 years. When she is not working, she is baking, spending time with her family, cheering for the Yankees (or Cowboys), or planning for their next travel adventure. She currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Northeast Boys and Girls Clubs of America. In 2020, she was named a Channel Chief of the Year by CRN.
Her personal ethos aligns with Verizon’s commitment to the four stakeholders: customers, employees, shareholders, and society. She is a passionate employee advocate, committed to leadership development, and a champion of women and other minorities in business. She believes diversity is not only the right thing to do but that it creates a stronger company and society.
Quote she lives by: “When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give others the same chances that helped you succeed.” – Michelle Obama
She works hard to keep the door of opportunity open and am committed to sustaining efforts that will give the same opportunities to others. She is proud of the work that she has played a role in over the last 20+ years and is excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Do not be intimidated by technology
- More than 60% of the hacking starts with individual behavior
- Expand the ways to support
- Verizon has a pillar about helping society
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio brought to you by on pay Atlanta’s new standard in payroll. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:24] Lee Kantor here, another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is going to be a good one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor on pay without them. We couldn’t be sharing these important stories today on the Atlanta Business Radio. We have Wendy Taccetta with Verizon Business. Welcome, Wendy.
Wendy Taccetta: [00:00:43] Thanks for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:44] Well, before we get too far into things, tell us a little bit about Verizon business. How are you serving, folks?
Wendy Taccetta: [00:00:50] So I am what they call a Verizon baby, actually. I’ve been with the company since 1999 and my dad was a tech for thirty five years. And it’s a different company than it was when my dad started. We are now all about mobility, making sure that people can stay connected, but that they can do bigger things as they recover from COVID and making sure that companies can not only survive this moment, but that they can thrive through it.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:18] So now how do you recommend small business folks to leverage all that is Verizon business?
Wendy Taccetta: [00:01:27] I think the biggest thing for small business owners is to not be intimidated by technology. So what’s interesting when we talk to small business owners, we just completed a survey of 600 owners and what they told us is they’re more optimistic about their future now than they were a year ago. But they also know that they have to keep changing if they’re going to keep pace. So of course, it starts with having a great cell phone and a great cell provider, and we are proud to be that and that’s been our legacy. But it’s so much more. If you want to be a small business owner these days, you’ve got to be agile. You’ve got to be able to do appointments at your customers home. You’ve got to be able to let your employees work from home. You’ve got to make sure your data is secure. All of those things are technology. And what we know is you may be a fabulous landscaper, but understanding cybersecurity that may not be your biggest strengths. So what we’re focused on is you can come to any of our stores across the country. We have 7200 locations, and on any day we will sit with you and do a consultation to figure out how to really enable your business to do even more than you do today. So it’s been exciting because business owners know they need to do this work. They don’t know where to begin, and they trust us because we’ve always been reliable. And what we want them to know is we are more than a cell phone company. We have so much more to offer them than we ever have in the past.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:00] Now isn’t the difficult part for an initiative like this is to even open the mind of your customer to even think of Verizon as a potential solution partner in this area. Their business, like it’s just been kind of ingrained in us that Verizon is the, you know, Verizon and cell phone are, you know, arm in arm, and that makes perfect sense. And it just to then to then say, OK, I’m going to also go to them because I’m having, you know, a strategy issue with my business. If I should, you know, go into this area or if I should, you know, you know, reach out to them because, you know, cyber, you know, somebody’s a friend of mine got hacked. I wonder if that’s going to impact me.
Wendy Taccetta: [00:03:43] So you are absolutely right. It is not what people have always thought of when they think of Verizon, so they created my role about four months ago and my job is to be obsessed relentlessly about small business owners, to listen to them and to listen to our teams about what are these businesses struggling with. And I want to give you a great, really great example. The biggest thing we hear is that I need more capacity and I need more agility. It used to be great to have the best location on the corner, but nowadays you need more than that because everyone doesn’t want to come to your location and you may want to serve customers beyond your own community. Well, there’s technology that makes that possible. But here’s the other thing we know customers are not willing to trade quality for access. And what I mean by that is they still want a rich experience when they do business with you. They want to see videos. They want to be able to do instant payment. They want to know that their data is secure. So as a business owner, you have to be thinking about those things. But there’s so much that comes with that you get access to more customers.
Wendy Taccetta: [00:04:59] If you can be digital, you get access to more revenue. If you have the ability to come to my home as well as to let me come to your office location. And you have access to more workers if you allow employees the flexibility to work from home or to work from your primary site. Technology lets you do all of that. And the good news is we are doing that with more than seven million customers across the country today. We have this expertize and what we’ve done is take the best of the things we do for enterprise customers, for government agencies, and we are making sure it is fit for small business owners. And the way that you do that is by listening to them. So every day I listen to what small business customers have to say. We check in with them. That’s what I’m doing in Atlanta right now. And then we talk to our teams, and if they’ve got a problem, we are going back to our teams and headquarters and saying, How do we fix it? Because customers deserve more and every small business deserves somebody willing to support them as they figure out what comes next. And that’s where Verizon business comes in.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:08] Well, it is a very noble aspiration and goal, and I sincerely hope that you achieve all that you dream of achieving with this initiative because believe me, all I do is talk to small and mid-sized business people every day. That’s all I do is interview business people and and there is a lack of support from enterprise level organizations. I have seen lots and lots of small to midsize business partners. Business folks struggle with the exact things you said. Like that landscaper, that landscaper is great at landscaping and then now the person wants to pay they they want their person to pay him with a check or something, and they don’t know how to pivot to a digital payment that would make the transaction easier or or, you know, seamless and safe and secure. And there’s a lot of opportunity there if you can get this right. So I’m very excited about this. How? Walk me through like, I’m that landscaper and I’ve been using Verizon as my cell phone carrier, so I got that part. How do you kind of kind of just open their mind to say, OK, is it go into your local Verizon shop and then have a conversation? Is that my new best friend? Like, is that my partner locally in my in my area that I work? And then together we’re going to come up with a strategy like, what is that relationship really look like when it’s happening to that individual business owner? Or how do you expand it beyond? Oh, yeah, that’s my cell carrier.
Wendy Taccetta: [00:07:41] So what’s interesting is that in the past, it would have been come to our store and we’ll talk to you. Part of what we’ve done is expand the ways we can support you. So I actually have a team that goes out to two small business owners, knocks on their doors, the ways we used to and comes to meet you where you were. We have the teams that are in our stores so you can visit any of our locations. But I also have a virtual team so that we can do a video conversation. We can do it over chat. We are willing to find you whatever way makes you comfortable so that we can start the conversation. But here’s the thing because ultimately what you’re saying is how do you get started? I don’t even know where to begin. I would like every small business owner to understand this. More than 60 percent of the hacking that we see starts with individual behavior. It starts with someone clicking into the wrong website, downloading a form. It starts with the access that your employees have and how. How you protect your data. So the first thing you can do is have a policy of what your users can and cannot do. And we actually have templates that let you get started and up and running in 30 minutes. But then you want the way to use a dashboard. How do you know what they’re doing? So we’ve built a product business mobile secure that lets you see what’s happening on all of your devices that you are connected to the internet.
Wendy Taccetta: [00:09:08] But those are simple things that every owner could do, investing less than an hour of their time just to get started. And here’s the way that I think about it any solution can be as big or as small as you want. So we have products like one talk, which allows your phone to ring. Whether you’re in the office, it’ll ring on your cell phone. It can ring on a desk phone. It can also ring on multiple people’s phones, all at the same time. It’s a phenomenal product because eighty five percent of people say they call a small business and they don’t answer, they’ll never call again. Well, we built this product. Initially, it had a desktop phone because everyone was in offices. Two months ago, we actually launched new pricing on an app so you can take the existing equipment you have and just start the app and immediately you’re answering all your phone calls and you’re not missing those customers. There are small steps that every business owner can make today that can change their business. And then as you want to grow, we can grow with you and you can grow into those desktop phones and you can grow into bigger technology. But, you know, I like to think every big business starts small, and it’s up to us to figure out how our small business owners can be as big as they want and sometimes as lean as they want with technology.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:35] So tell me about the partner program, how is that kind of coincide with this initiative of focusing on the small business owner?
Wendy Taccetta: [00:10:46] It does. So I’m also in charge of our third party partners who sell on behalf of Verizon. So you may you may actually do business with them as well. And my job is to make sure they have access to the same products that we are building for our direct sales teams. So it shouldn’t matter to a customer, whether they’re doing business with one of our channel partners, they’re doing business in one of our agent locations or they’re doing business in one of our direct stores. It is a one Verizon experience and my job is to make sure that the customer is never in the middle of that and that our partners have what they need to serve customers. Because here’s what I know people experience is what leads to a customer experience. So my job is to make sure that the partners, our sales teams, they have what they need because if they’re frustrated or customers are frustrated. So I get to obsess about a lot of things. But in the end, it’s about how do small businesses come back faster than we’ve ever seen from a moment like this? And I think there’s a path and that technology can help.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:51] So now who makes a great partner in your partner program?
Wendy Taccetta: [00:11:56] Pretty much. I would tell you that we are proud of everyone that’s in our partner program these days. We are pretty ruthless about making sure that we stay partners with people who put customer first, who do business with integrity and who can adapt to change. And I’m proud to say that that’s the partner portfolio that I represent today and whether that’s in one of our indirect stores or whether that’s through one of our partners that comes to you directly. I’m pretty proud of the partnerships that we’ve built, and we’re all committed to the same thing helping these businesses come back.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:33] So now right now, you’ve only been doing this, I guess you’ve been in charge of this just for a few months. Is there anything that you can share in terms of the success story that now that you’re going out there and meeting people and talking to people and seeing listening? Is there any learning that you can share that can, you know, maybe jump start a small business out there that’s struggling?
Wendy Taccetta: [00:12:56] So my favorite is that Verizon has a pillar about helping society, and we actually just launched small business digital ready, which is our commitment to do through grants and through tools and resources, support a million small businesses over the next decade. And we don’t mean to support them once and be done. We mean we will measure our success on the percentage of those businesses that are still thriving 10 years from now. I am super proud of that because when we talk to small business owners and when we say, what do you need, the answer is different for every one of them. So my job isn’t to create a single product that’s going to be fit for everyone, but we’ve created this digital platform that helps you be more present online helps you figure out how to really sell beyond your community. We’re pretty proud of it. We’re about a month into that and we are actually doing better than we expected, which is great news because that means we’re helping more businesses. And I had a chance to sit with a few of them last week, and their stories are just amazing. They’re figuring it out and these resources are good, but it’s the community they’re building, getting to know other business owners beyond the ones in their neighborhood. So so far, I’m excited about it. I wish that we would hit our million or million small businesses and before the end of the year, I’m sure we won’t get there, but that would be a phenomenal problem to have. But we know that they can’t come back alone. We have to support them with our wallets. But we also as enterprise, as enterprise businesses. We have to support them with our programs, and I think digital already is a huge part of that.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:40] So if somebody wants to learn more about either the partner program and or this small business initiative, what is the website?
Wendy Taccetta: [00:14:49] So the best place to start is Verizon forward slash business, and you will see all the information, including the survey that’s out there, that tells you what other small business owners are telling us. And you can enter your information and we will get back to you as quickly as possible or come into one of our stores and see us seven days a week. We are open and ready to help.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:12] Well, when they thank you so much for sharing your story today, you’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Wendy Taccetta: [00:15:18] Thank you for having me. I love that you’re supporting this community, too. I think it’s going to take all of us.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:24] All right, this is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you all next time on Atlanta Business Radio.
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