Satisfaction with the Wireless Purchase Experience Has Improved Among Customers Purchasing at a Retail Store

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Sprint Nextel Ranks Highest in Wireless Purchase Experience Satisfaction among Full-Service Carriers, While Tracfone Ranks Highest among Non-Contract Carriers

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif: 9 August 2012 — Improvements in sales efficiency and exceeding customer expectations contribute to increased customer satisfaction among wireless customers who completed a sales transaction at a retail store, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Full-Service Wireless Purchase Experience StudySM--Volume 2 and the 2012 U.S. Wireless Non-Contract Purchase Experience StudySM--Volume 2, both released today.

Now in their 9th year, the semiannual studies evaluate the wireless purchase experience of customers using any one of three contact channels: phone calls with sales representatives; visits to a retail wireless store; and on the Web. Overall customer satisfaction with both full-service and non-contract branded carriers is based on six factors (in order of importance): store sales representative; website; phone sales representative; store facility; offerings and promotions; and cost of service.

The study finds that overall satisfaction among full-service wireless customers who conducted a recent retail store transaction has increased significantly to 774 (on a 1,000-point scale), compared with 754 in 2011- Vol.2, the first year satisfaction among the different channels was tracked. In contrast, satisfaction in the other contact channels has remained stable during the same time frame.

Full-service wireless customers who purchase a device in a retail store indicate experiencing greater satisfaction when speaking with the salesperson handling their transaction. In particular, satisfaction improves notably regarding the promptness in speaking with a sales representative and timeliness of completing the transaction.

Among full-service wireless customers who purchased a service plan or device in a retail store, total transaction times have improved since 2011-Vol. 2, especially in the early stages of the sales process. For example, the total average time that customers wait between being greeted upon entering the store and speaking with a salesperson is 7.5 minutes--a decrease of nearly one full minute from 2011.

"The study shows a direct correlation between an efficient sales transaction process and improving satisfaction with the overall retail experience," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. "Customers who make purchases in retail stores have the opportunity to touch handsets and accessories and see the pricing associated with each, something not possible over the phone or on the Web. In addition, carriers have invested heavily in the retail store environment in merchandising, store upgrades and staff training to make the overall sales experience more enjoyable and efficient."

Parsons notes that improvements within the retail store are translating into loyalty, as 39 percent of full-service wireless customers say they "definitely will" revisit the same store, compared with 35 percent a year ago.

Wireless Purchase Experience Study Results

For a third consecutive time, Sprint Nextel ranks highest in overall customer purchase experience satisfaction among major full-service wireless carriers. Sprint Nextel achieves a score of 775 and performs particularly well in the offerings and promotions and cost of service factors.
 
TracFone ranks highest in overall customer purchase experience satisfaction among non-contract service carriers. TracFone achieves a score of 763 and performs particularly well in the phone sales representative and website factors. Boost Mobile (758) and MetroPCS (758) follow in the rankings.

The study also finds the following key wireless retail sales transaction patterns:

  • While 64 percent of full-service customers indicate that their most recent purchase experience occurred in a retail store, 18 percent used the phone, and an additional 18 percent transacted online. This differs considerably from non-contract customers--25 percent say their most recent purchase transaction occurred online, and only 12 percent indicate that it was via phone.
  • The average total time customers spent completing a sales transaction in a full-service retail store is approximately 54 minutes--a decrease of approximately one minute from six months ago. In comparison, customers making purchases from non-contract carriers indicate spending just 45 minutes in a retail store.
  • Satisfaction with the overall purchase experience among other retailers, such as Apple, Best Buy, Costco, RadioShack and Wal-Mart, averages 760 index points--which is 18 points lower than among stores owned by full-service wireless carriers.

The 2012 Wireless Full-Service Purchase Experience Study--Volume 2 is based on responses from 8,047 wireless customers. The 2012 Wireless Non-Contract Purchase Experience Study--Volume 2 is based on responses from 3,644 wireless customers. Both studies are among current subscribers who report having a sales transaction with their current carrier within the past six months. The study was fielded from January through June 2012.

For more information on customer satisfaction with wireless service, wireless retail sales, cell phone handsets, customer care, prepaid wireless service and business wireless service, please visit JDPower.com.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

Media Relations Contacts:

John Tews; J.D. Power and Associates; Troy, Mich.; (248) 680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com
Syvetril Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103; media.relations@jdpa.com

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No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

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Media Contacts

Troy, Michigan
(248) 680-6218
Westlake Village, California
(805) 418-8103