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Wireless Carriers Delivering Improved Customer Satisfaction

August 13, 2009

Even in times of economic struggle, customer service still has to remain a priority as no company can afford to lose a customer. According to J.D. Power and Associates, wireless customer care providers are on the ball and improving the quality of care delivered to the base.

The research firm reports overall wireless customer care performance has improved considerably. Customers are experiencing shorter hold times and improved rates of problem resolution on the first contact. This performance is in comparison to rates just six moths ago.

"Satisfaction improves considerably when customers spend less time on hold and more time addressing their problems and inquiries with a customer service representative," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates, in a statement. 

J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Wireless Customer Care Performance Study – Volume 2 found overall customer care performance has improved considerably to 735 on a 1,000-point scale. This improvement is a 12 point jump from the first wave of the study, which was released in February.

Improvements in satisfaction have been demonstrated across all methods of contact. More than three-fourths of calls to customer service are resolved on the first contact, compared with just 66 percent six months ago. Hold times now average 5.55 minutes compared with 6.58 minutes in February of this year.

"In order to sustain and improve these levels of satisfaction, carriers must ensure the usefulness of their customer support systems, whether the contact is made over the phone, in a store or online. This includes effectively answering customer inquiries and accurately identifying those customers who need to speak directly with a representative, based on the type and severity of the problem they are trying to resolve," added Parsons.

Receiving the highest ranking in wireless customer care performance were Alltel, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless in a three-way tie. Each company earned a score of 747. Alltel’s strength is in customer store visits; T-Mobile shines in transferring customers from an automated response system to a live representative; and Verizon quickly identifies and resolves customer problems.

"While each of the highest-performing carriers has individual strengths, all are successful in reaching the customer quickly," said Parsons. "All have representatives who demonstrate high levels of courtesy, concern and knowledge, which translates into effective problem resolution and higher satisfaction levels among their customers."

The study also found nearly one third of contacts pertain to cost; of those customers who have to contact their carrier by phone two or three times to achieve resolution, 17 percent would likely switch compared to 10 percent without issue; and 15 percent of contacts result from calls or text messages originated by the carrier.

No matter what the economic outlook is for any market, customers still want quality service and to feel like they are receiving value for their money. This latest study demonstrates there are wireless carriers paying attention to this importance and will likely strengthen their market share as a result.

Check out other rankings by J. D. Power and Associates as the research firm has identified quality players in their respective markets. Boost Mobile is one company earning top ranks in customer satisfaction for pre-paid wireless. For the wireless market overall, it appears customers are getting the respect they so desperately seek. 

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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for ContactCenterSolutions and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tim Gray