Wireless carriers in the United States are in a competitive market and have to think carefully about how they approach factors like acquisition and network investment, but a recent study by J.D. Power highlights a key factor in keeping customers that you already have – problem resolution. According to the study, good problem resolution reduced the number of customers looking to head to another carrier from 41 percent for the subset of customers who had a hard time getting issues taken care of all the way down to only five percentage points for customers who said that their carrier made it easy to take care of any problems that arose.
Some of the biggest deciding factors in how easy or hard customers perceived problem resolution included how easy it is to talk to a human about a problem, hold time and time spent on the phone, the availability of both phone and online assistance, and of course, not having to address an issue again. Being able to easily speak to a live human can bring up the average customer satisfaction score with a carrier by 210 out of 1,000 points. Getting to speak to that representative quickly and not having to talk to them all that long also affected customers' perception, with customers who were annoyed with their carriers tending to have hold times of over 10 minutes and talk times approaching 20 minutes. Some carriers don't have live phone support available, and over half of surveyed customers think that's a bad thing. The ones that do prefer online support, however, tend to rank customer service ease far higher when their preferred method of contact is available.
According to the survey, Verizon holds the crown in customer satisfaction on this front among full-service carriers. AT&T got second place, T-Mobile placed third, and Sprint rounded out the segment. The margins were pretty thin, and Sprint scored pretty low – the average was a 789 score, and Verizon got 797 points, with the second and third places only dropping a point each. Sprint's score was not outright stated in the report, but it doesn't take very complex math to figure out that its score was a comparatively low 768. The prepaid full-service carrier segment was led by Boost Mobile with 763 points, then Virgin Mobile with 755, and finally Cricket with 752. The partial-service segment saw Consumer Cellular leading with 864 points, then Net10 drove the average down with a score of 725, and Straight Talk finished with a score of 721.