We all know that Verizon has the best overall coverage in the country, but a new report by J.D. Power and Associates tells us that by their ranking Big Red also has the best customer service as well. In fact this is the fourth time in a row they have topped the semi annual list in two years. The report is calculated from the experience of thousands of customers in three contact channels: telephone; walk-in (retail store); and online. Each contact method is measured by satisfaction and processing issues including efficiency of problem resolution processes and the duration of hold times.
On a scale of 1000 Verizon edges out AT&T 766 to 759 and both are above the full service average of 755 in terms of overall customer care. Rounding out the four major carriers are Sprint Nextel with 746, only slightly below average, and T-Mobile lagging very far behind with 715.
Verizon claims that the key to their success is the carrier's footprint in social networking. The company takes to Facebook and Twitter to answer customer questions and will often follow them up with a direct message and in some cases even a phone call.
An interesting part of this study is the higher level of satisfaction of people who are on shared data plans (778). I'm sure you all remember the hand wringing when news of those type of plans started tricking out to the public. According to the study: "The higher levels of satisfaction with shared data plans are partially due to the profile of its customers, particularly the early adopters who changed service offerings once the mobile data share plans were offered. For example, not only are customers with shared data plans more loyal than those without a shared data plan, but they also have a more positive perception of their carrier, in addition to spending approximately $30 more per household overall."
Also listed on the J.D. Power report was prepaid carriers. On that list Metro PCS and Virgin Mobile lead the pack, with 733 and 779 respectively. Cricket has by far and away the worst customer care number with 633. I can't help but wonder if the fact that Metro PCS actually has brick and mortar stores has something to do with their number. Here in Boston the Metro stores are like roaches, as soon as one goes down (which is frequently), another one pops up just as fast.
The quality of a carrier's customer service can sometimes be a tough thing to gauge. The majority of the people calling have some sort of problem and typically aren't the calmest people in the world. The obvious answer to this is to have the least amount of issues on your network, something that the top carrier in the country should be able to do, so it's not surprising that Verizon has the best scores. For instance a quick look at the T-Mobile Facebook support page shows that the majority of the complaints are about coverage, that's something Verizon doesn't have to worry about.
So what are your thoughts? Do you agree with these rankings? I'm sure that there are some very loyal T-Mobile customers out there who disagree with this list. Maybe even one or two pissed off Verizon Wireless customers. Let us know in the comments.