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From Last to Second: Sprint Shows Improvement in J.D. Power Retail Ranking...

Tue Aug 17, 2010 - 9:38 AM EDT - By Annie Latham

Have you been to a retail outlet of a wireless carrier lately? How was your experience?

J.D. Power and Associates has just released the results of its semi-annual study of the wireless retail sales satisfaction experience (AKA the 2010 U.S. Wireless Retail Sales Satisfaction Study�Volume 2). It is based on experiences reported by 7,972 wireless customers who completed a retail sales transaction within the past six months (January and June 2010).

Notable was Sprint Nextel's improvement. They moved into second place behind T-Mobile USA. Bringing up the rear was Verizon.

The study ranks overall customer satisfaction on four factors: sales staff, which account for nearly half of the score; price and promotions; store facility; and store display.

T-Mobile USA received top honors for the third straight time, with an overall retail sales index ranking of 744.

Sprint Nextel moved from last place among nationwide operators six months ago to second place, just one point shy of first, with a score of 743.

The industry average score was 734 points.

AT&T Mobility, (T) which scored 733 points, held steady in third place

Verizon Wireless, which scored 729 points, fell to last place.

Overall retail satisfaction is up from six months ago, when T-Mobile USA's top rank came from a score of 723.

Other key findings included:

> Nearly three-fourths of customers indicate that a salesperson offered to explain how to operate the phone during their most recent visit�an increase of 4 percentage points, compared with six months ago. In addition, nearly two-thirds of customers indicate having discussed possible extra charges that may apply to the bill�an increase of 3 percentage points during the same time period.

> The average total reported time spent in the retail store to complete the sales transaction is approximately 56 minutes�a decrease of nearly three minutes, compared with just six months ago.

> Advertising has proven to be a key element in the wireless carrier selection process. Overall, 60 percent of wireless customers find advertising "extremely/very important" in choosing their current carrier.

> Nearly one-half (46%) of wireless customers visit their retailer to upgrade or replace a phone from their current carrier. Renewing or changing an existing wireless plan (31%) and inquiring about phone repair (25%) round out the top reasons customers cite for visiting a retail store within the past six months.


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