T-Mobile has yet again claimed the top position across the board with regard to customer experience according to the most recent J.D. Power report.
The service provider attributes improvements in its ranking to an increase in retail locations from 3,600 stores to over 5,300 in the past two years. That was helped by its approach to customer care — dubbed the Team of Experts care model. The report also takes into account cost, offers and promotions, courteous and knowledgeable phone and retail sales representatives, website experience, and in-store experience. T-Mobile achieved a score of 864 out of 1,000.
Where does everybody else rank and where are the challenges?
T-Mobile holding down the top position in customer experience compared to other full-service wireless carriers is nothing new. It's won the 'purchaser experience' and 'customer care' rankings no fewer than four times in a row. It's taken the overall top ranking twice consecutively.
The provider also says it grew the gap between itself and the competition. That is all but confirmed by J.D. Power's decision to award T-Mobile with a Power Circles ranking of 5 compared to Verizon and AT&T's three-circle ranking. Verizon Wireless scored 837 overall while AT&T came in third with a score of 836 out of 1,000. For Verizon, T-Mobile's new rating drops it below the average score of 839.
T-Mobile isn't necessarily the best outside of full-service contract plans and experiences though.
For non-contract full-service carriers, the provider's Metro by T-Mobile fell in at second with a ranking of 851 compared to Cricket's 862 out of 1,000. The score is exactly on par with the average, just ahead of Boost Mobile at 850 and Virgin Mobile at 825.
T-Mobile's customer experience ranking could drop because of Sprint
T-Mobile has held onto its position at or near the top on several key consumer metrics for some time now but that could change soon enough. That comes down to the recently approved merger with Sprint. Several states are still contesting the deal and there are plenty of reasons it may not be entirely to T-Mobile's benefits.
At least one of those may turn out to be Sprint's track record with consumers.
The joint company will adopt T-Mobile's strategies for customer service and related practices. But that doesn't mean Sprint won't impact things. Setting aside problems the latter of the two has faced in terms of mobile network reach and coverage, Sprint simply does not tend to rank well with customers.
In the twelve months leading to February, Sprint managed to actually lose points in customer satisfaction, for example. For this ranking, Sprint ranked dead last among full-service operators with a score of just 812 out of 1,000. Sprint only earned two out of five possible Power Circles awarded. That's a category J.D. Power refers to as "the rest" compared to other carriers. It's also a position Sprint has consistently held at regular intervals over the years.
At very least, Sprint's track record as a non-contract full-service provider under the Boost branding can't cause any damage. The carrier is being sold to DISH in order to keep competition balanced in the US. But there is a real risk that Sprint's influence on the T-Mobile experience may cause some harm.