Sprint, T-Mobile Satisfy Wireless Contract Customers

August 11, 2011

jdpower-customer-satisfaction-wireless-purchase-experience-aug11.gifSprint and T-Mobile rank highest, in a tie, in customer satisfaction among major full-service wireless carriers with a score of 755 on a 1,000-point scale each, according to data released in August 2011 by J.D. Power & Associates. The J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Full-Service Wireless Purchase Experience Study, Volume 2 indicates Sprint performs well among the website sales, offerings and promotions and cost of service factors. T-Mobile performs particularly well in the cost of service factor.

The industry average for major full-service wireless carriers was 751. Overall customer satisfaction with both full-service and non-contract branded carriers is based on six factors (in order of importance): store sales representative; website sales; phone sales representative; store facility; offerings and promotion; and cost of service.

Boost Beats Competitors in Non-Contract Customer Satiafaction

jdpower-purchase-experience-wireless-non-contract-aug-2011.JPGBoost Mobile ranks highest in overall purchase experience satisfaction among non-contract service carriers with an overall score of 766 on a 1,000 point scale, according to the 2011 U.S. Wireless Non-Contract Purchase Experience Study, Volume 2. Boost Mobile performs particularly well in phone sales representative, offerings and promotions and cost of service.

MetroPCS (760) and Virgin Mobile (753) follow Boost Mobile in the non-contract service carrier rankings. The non-contract industry average was 740. There was a wider disparity between the leading providers and the industry average in the non-contract channel than in the contract channel. In addition, there was a wider gulf between providers coming in below the industry average and the average score itself in the non-contract channel than the contract channel.

Web Customers Rate Purchase Experience Lower

The studies find that overall customer satisfaction varies widely by the type of channel used for their wireless sales transaction. Satisfaction is lowest among customers who most recently conducted a web sales transaction (738 on a 1,000-point scale, on average), compared with retail (walk-in) and telephone channels (753 and 752, respectively).

J.D. Power analysis suggests that customers who purchased through the web channel, where finding information quickly is more challenging, tend to rate their experience lower based on the general lack of personal assistance, compared with either in-person or over the phone.

Phone Customers Less Satisfied with Cost of Service, Promos

In addition, the studies find that satisfaction with cost of service and offerings and promotions is lower when purchases are made over the phone than when made online or in stores. For example, satisfaction with cost of service among purchases occurring over the phone averages 626, compared with 653 and 652 when purchases occur online and in stores, respectively.

Similarly, satisfaction with offerings and promotions for purchases made over the phone averages 12 points lower than for online purchases and 17 points lower than for in-store purchases.

J.D. Power says that customers making purchases online and in stores have the opportunity to view all product offerings and see the pricing associated with each one, which is not always possible over the phone.

Purchase Method Has Impact

Overall satisfaction also differs by the method of purchase, as expectations are set by the type of purchase being made. For example, satisfaction is 775 among full-service customers who change their service plan via the phone, compared with just 716 among those opting to do so online. However, overall satisfaction scores do not vary by channel when purchasing a new device.

According to J.D. Power, full-service carriers that provide an exceptional purchase experience (receiving ratings of 10 on a 10-point scale) may earn $4 more per customer each month, compared with full-service carriers that do not provide a satisfactory experience.

  • Sixty-two percent of full-service customers indicate that their most recent purchase experience occurred in a retail store location, while 19% say that their most recent sales transaction occurred via the telephone or online channel. This differs considerably from non-contract branded customers, as 26% say their most recent purchase transaction occurred online, and only 13% indicate that it was over the telephone.
  • The average total time customers spent in the full-service retail store to complete the sales transaction is approximately 53 minutes, a decrease of more than three minutes, compared with six months ago. In comparison, customers making purchases from non-contract carriers indicate spending just 44 minutes in the retail store.
  • Satisfaction with the overall purchase experience among other retailers, such as Apple, Best Buy, Costco, RadioShack and Wal-Mart, averages 740 index points, which is 18 points lower than among stores owned by full-service wireless carriers.

Contract-based Wireless Customers Happier

Among customers who sign a contract for wireless service, overall customer care performance averages 761 on a 1,000-point scale, 23 index points higher than the average satisfaction among non-contract subscribers (738), according to other J.D. Power data released this month. J.D. Power analysis indicates that one of the main factors contributing to this performance disparity is service contacts that originate in the automated response system (ARS) channel that are eventually transferred to a live service representative.

About the Data: The 2011 Wireless Full-Service Purchase Experience Study, Volume 2 is based on responses from 9,190 wireless customers. The 2011 Wireless Non-Contract Purchase Experience Study, Volume 2 is based on responses from 1,767 wireless customers. Both studies are among current subscribers who report having a sales transaction with their current carrier within the past six months. The studies were fielded from January through June 2011 by J.D. Power and Associates and are the source of the enclosed charts.

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