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Are you Happy with your Wireless Carrier?

Tue Aug 18, 2009 - 12:35 PM EDT - By Annie Latham

Last week, J.D. Power and Associates put out its 2009 Wireless Customer Care Performance Study--Volume 2.

Now in its seventh year, the semi-annual study provides a detailed report card on how well wireless carriers service their customers via three point-of-contact methods:

-- telephone calls with a customer service representative (CSR) and/or automated response system (ARS)
-- visits to a retail wireless store
-- on the Web

Within each contact method, the study measures satisfaction and processing issues such as problem-resolution efficiency and hold-time duration.

One of the findings was that the major wireless network providers have made significant progress in terms of serving customer needs. In fact, overall wireless customer care performance has improved considerably as customers report shorter hold times and improved rates of problem resolution on the first contact, compared with six months ago.

Has that been your experience?

Some of the other study highlights include:

-- Verizon Wireless performs well with regard to identifying customer problems quickly and resolving them efficiently with service representatives.

-- Fifteen percent of contacts result from calls or text messages originated by the wireless carrier. Those customers who contact their carrier after receiving these communications are more satisfied (744, on average), than customers who do not receive proactive contact from their carrier (730).

-- Sprint gets "most improved" **

** Not in the report, per se. Read on...

If you look at the chart, you'll see that again, Sprint is bringing up the rear.
Even a post by Larry Dignan of ZDNet states "Verizon, T-Mobile lead in wireless customer service; AT&T, Sprint below average."

But if you hop over to Sprint Connection, you'll see that Sprint's score of 704 is being celebrated. Below is a sampling of what was said:

"Sprint Nextel customers say the company is taking much better care of them than six months ago, the latest J.D. Power survey says.

Sprint was also the only company to improve substantially."

The real improvement comes from Sprint, up nearly 50 points, from 657 six months ago to 704 now. No. 4 AT&T also improved, from 722 to 730.

So, Sprint is still fifth out of five companies in the survey. But if it took a similar leap in the next six months, it would be No. 1.

Sprint said the J.D. Power improvement was in line with its own research.

By the way, the 2009 Wireless Customer Care Performance Study--Volume 2 is based on responses from more than 12,000 wireless customers who contacted their carrier's customer care department within the past year. The study was fielded January through June 2009.


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