Overall customer service satisfaction is much higher among wireless contract-based customers than those who subscribe to prepaid or non-contract service plans, according to a J.D. Power and Associates study (http://www.jdpower.com/).
Now in its ninth year, the semiannual study provides a detailed report card on how well wireless carriers provide service to their customers via three contact methods: telephone calls with customer service representatives (CSR) and/or automated response systems (ARS); visits to a retail wireless store; and on the web. Within each contact method, the study measures satisfaction and processing issues, such as problem-resolution efficiency and hold-time duration.
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). One of the main factors contributing to this performance disparity is service contacts that originate in the ARS channel that are eventually transferred to a live service representative.
Specifically, non-contract customers report longer hold times than contract customers do when waiting to speak to a service representative. Among non-contact customers, reported hold time averages more than one minute longer than among contract customers (5.5 vs. 4.4 minutes, respectively).
“It is not unexpected that hold times are shorter for contract customers, since full-service providers generally have access to existing account information that helps identify the customer immediately once contact is made,” says Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. “There is also a disparity between the contract and non-contract segments in terms of the quality of the experience with the service representative. In particular, non-contract customers are considerably less satisfied than are contract customers in the areas of knowledge about plans; personal concern for customers; and apathy towards customers.”
According to Parsons, treating customers with respect by personalizing the transaction should not differ among customers in each segment, regardless of their tenure or the monetary value to the provider. This personalization is even more critical among customers in the non-contract segment, as the frequency of switching providers is 2.5 times higher, compared with contract customers (21% vs. 8%).
Verizon Wireless ranks highest in wireless customer care performance among full-service providers with an overall score of 770. Verizon Wireless performs particularly well in phone contacts that originate in the ARS channel and are then transferred to a live service representative, and through phone calls made directly to a CSR. T-Mobile follows in the overall rankings with a score of 766 and performs well among customers who contact their carrier online or through the ARS-only channel.
Boost Mobile ranks highest in overall customer care satisfaction among non-contract service providers, with an overall score of 763. This overall score is comparable to the high-performing full-service provider scores. The company performs particularly well in phone contacts that originate in the ARS channel and are then transferred to a live service representative, and through phone calls made directly to a CSR.