Let your fingers do the walking. It's a snap. Using an innovative quality betterment strategy to improve the Yellow Pages and other telephone directory services, GTE Directories Corp. in Dallas/Fort Worth, one of the world's largest telephone directory companies, has retained old customers and won new ones worldwide.

Faced with lagging advertising sales and growing competition from other publishers and newcomers to the Yellow Pages market in the late 1980s, the company devised a new quality management system in order to better anticipate and satisfy customer needs.The company's senior management attended quality improvement courses offered by the parent company, GTE Corp., and then taught a similar course to its own senior and middle managers. GTE Directories set up quality improvement teams throughout the company, determined production goals and established specific customer service standards and performance measures.

The moves paid off. From 1993 to 1994, the company boasted a 5.5 percent reduction in domestic operating expenses, 71 percent reduction in billing and collection errors, 9 percent reduction in published errors, a 24 percent improvement in on-time delivery performance and scored the lowest published error ratio of any directories' publisher in industry benchmark studies. This year, the company expects operating costs to drop another 3.7 percent.

GTE Directories Corp. is a 1994 Malcolm Baldrige award winner.


CHIEF EXECUTIVE: Earle A. Goode, president.

HEADQUARTERS: Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

EMPLOYEES AND FACILITIES: GTE Directories employs more than 5,000. In addition to the headquarters in Dallas/Fort Worth, there are offices and/or production facilities in 20 states, including three national accounts offices, four regional marketing offices, four regional customer relations offices, four production offices, three printing plants and four directory distribution centers. The company also has a number of facilities in Canada and other locations abroad.

BASIC BUSINESS: GTE Directories publishes and sells advertising for telephone directories and provides directory-related services for more than 1,000 directory titles in the United States and abroad.

The company's On Call service, accessed through a touch-tone telephone, provides consumer information such as news, entertainment, sports, community events, weather, stock reports and games; the Quick Tips service gives callers information about goods and services provided by advertisers in Yellow Pages. GTE Directories also publishes direct-mail coupon booklets in special editions of its directories.


GTE Directories Corp. began expanding to foreign markets in the Pacific Rim in the 1960s and 1970s, publishing directories in Chinese. The company provides mainly technical assistance, as well as publishes directories and provides sales and other directory-related services in 13 foreign markets including Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brunei, Canada, Costa Rica, Grenada, Indonesia, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Last year, it entered into an agreement with Belgacom, the national telecommunications provider in Belgium, to help Belgacom start up the subsidiary Belgacom Directories Services. GTE Directories owns 20 percent of the new subsidiary, which launched the Brussels directories in Flemish and French last month.

The company plans to target other markets in Western Europe, where advertising expenditures as a percentage of total media expenditures are high and where telecommunications industries are to be privatized within the next decade. It also will focus on Eastern Europe and expand its current business in Asia and Latin America.


GTE Directories began as Tel Ad Publishing, selling advertising for the Santa Monica and Redondo telephone directories in California in the late 1920s. In 1935, Tel Ad Publishing, along with its parent company, was sold to General Telephone Co. The following year, Tel Ad Publishing became the General Telephone Directory Co., serving General Telephone's phone companies nationwide. In 1959, General Telephone merged with Sylvania and the company changed its name to General Telephone & Electronics Corp.

In the late 1950s, the company began expanding internationally. It purchased a printing company to print larger directories and launched its first computerized directory in 1975.

In 1984, company headquarters were moved from Madison, Wis., to the current site in Dallas/Fort Worth. Three years later, GTE Directories formed Chesapeake Directories Sales Co., a joint venture with Bell Atlantic Corp. that sells advertising for Bell Atlantic telephone directories in Washington, D.C., and neighboring states.

In 1988, the company acquired the assets of Los Angeles-based printing firm Times Mirror Press and formed GTE Directories Press, its third printing plant.

GTE Directories is a unit of GTE Information Services, also located in Dallas/Fort Worth. Both are part of GTE Corp., a Stamford, Conn.-based public company.