Level 3 Communications

Anthony Christie

Fortune 500: How Customer Experience and Employees Dictate Our Success

The 2016 Fortune 500 list came out over the summer, and Level 3 is number 333 – a jump from our 401-place ranking last year. I’ve been asked what we’re doing as a company to continue our upward momentum on the list. The truth is, there is no “secret sauce.” We realized a full year of revenue from our tw telecom acquisition, and stayed laser-focused on business basics, prioritizing two areas in particular: customer experience and company culture.

It’s All About Our Customers

Once customers have worked with us, they’re more likely to recommend Level 3 than competing vendors.* Still, it’s no secret the telecom industry is rife with customer service issues – it’s been that way since the beginning. But that’s certainly not an excuse to stick with the status quo.  At Level 3, we work every day to prove it’s possible to have an outstanding customer experience with a network services provider.

While we have always pursued a customer-first mentality as a key brand pillar of our company, we have begun shifting our efforts to cultivate an “outside-in” mentality across the organization. We push ourselves to look at how we do things from a customer’s perspective – not just from an internal or functional view. This feedback is shaping our internal metrics to be more customer focused, and is informing how we develop, deliver and support new products and services.

This past year, we took a hard look at both industry trends and what our customers said they needed to be successful now, and years into the future. Several key themes emerged: Hybrid IT, real-time communications moving to the cloud, the online experience and cybersecurity. These themes defined our product roadmap, and we developed several new products and services to help meet the demands of our customers’ evolving IT environments. We launched an enhanced hybrid WAN solution, as well as a software defined network (SDN)-based platform giving our customers more flexibility, visibility and control over their networks. In addition, we expanded our SDN-enabled Ethernet, cloud connection, and voice platforms to address the growing need for on-demand, secure, real-time consumption.

We know how critical a solid security program is to our customers. So we’ve worked closely with them to ensure what we develop is comprehensive, secure and adaptable to the daily onslaught of new threats. Thanks to our global network footprint, we’re able to monitor 1.3 billion security events per day. That’s billion with a b. We also have the infrastructure in place to help mitigate DDoS attacks, secure access services, and a cloud-based network security solution that helps neutralize cyber-attacks of all kinds more efficiently and effectively.

Online experience is also an area to which we’ve dedicated a lot of time and resources this year. The most recent Cisco Visual Networking Index says globally, IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020, up from 70 percent in 2015. This certainly jibes with what we’re seeing from our customers. To that end, we’ve significantly increased the capacity of our global content delivery network (CDN) and augmented our staff to help deliver the seamless online experience our customers and their end users have come to expect.

Our People Make the Difference

Given our focus on customer experience, I’m happy to say the majority of our customers rate Level 3 as good as or better than competitors. But of course, we want to do better, and that won’t be possible without the efforts of our outstanding employee base. In an article Fortune wrote regarding the key areas companies should focus on to better their chances of landing a spot on the Fortune 500 list, the author mentioned making people a priority. According to the article, “The best [companies] know that human capital is their only source of sustainable competitive advantage.” Certainly, Level 3 wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are today without the dedication, passion, intelligence and integrity of our people.

To continue to cultivate the strengths of our employees, we’ve focused on four areas: integrated culture, diversity and inclusion, employee engagement and Employee Resource Groups. We believe it’s through the diversity of our people’s passion and strengths that we’re able, as a company, to realize the successes we’ve seen in recent years.

I couldn’t be prouder of the Level 3 team and the work we’ve done across the board to develop solutions for our customers. I’m pleased those efforts have continued our forward momentum on the Fortune 500 list and I’m excited to see the progress we make in another year.

To find out more about Level 3’s SDN, Security, Content and Voice solutions, visit level3.com.


*2015 Level 3 Global Customer Experience Ratings