WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 7 February 2013 — Satisfaction with a carrier's customer care service is higher among wireless customers subscribing to data-sharing service plans1 than it is among those subscribing to more traditional service and data plans, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Full-Service Performance StudySM—Volume 1 and the 2013 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Non-Contract Performance StudySM—Volume 1, both released today.
Now in their 11th year, these semiannual studies offer a detailed report card on how well wireless carriers provide customer service via three contact channels: telephone; walk-in (retail store); and online. The studies measure satisfaction and processing issues in each contact method, such as the efficiency of problem resolution processes and the duration of hold times.
- 41% of full-service wireless customers who solved their issue online used the chat function (up five percentage points from 2011 Vol. 2).
- Overall satisfaction is highest when customers use the online chat function (755) to resolve issues.
- Satisfaction averages 246 points higher among non-contract customers whose issues are resolved on the first contact vs. multiple contacts (801 vs. 555, respectively).
- 68% of full-service customers with a smartphone use a mobile application to contact/monitor their carrier regarding service issues.
Overall satisfaction among full-service customers who currently subscribe to a mobile share data plan is 778 (on a 1,000-point scale), compared with 750 among those who subscribe to a more traditional service and data plan. While satisfaction levels among mobile share plan customers are higher across most of the customer service contact channels, the largest gap in satisfaction between shared data customers and non-share plan customers is in the customer service representative-only channel (826 vs. 771, respectively). Specifically within this channel, knowledge of the service representative (8.3 vs. 7.8, respectively, on a 10-point scale) and timeliness of resolving issues (8.1 vs. 7.3, respectively) are the two areas that drive higher satisfaction performance among share data plan customers.
"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," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. "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."
The study finds that full-service customers with mobile data sharing plans have contacted their wireless carrier more often during the past six months than did those with non-data share plans (51% vs. 42%, respectively); however, full-service customers with a mobile data share plan have also spent an average of nearly one minute more on hold waiting to speak with a service representative, compared with non-data sharing plan customers (5.8 minutes vs. 5 minutes, respectively).
"It's not unexpected that customers who change or upgrade to these new mobile data share plans would initially be more likely to contact their carrier with questions or problems, particularly concerning how these service plans may potentially alter usage habits," said Parsons. "It is important to understand that with any major service change, the need for simplicity is paramount. Additional investment is needed in support services to not only handle the increase in the number of customer interactions, but also provide service representatives with the necessary training and information across all contact channels to offer a timely and superior service experience."
For the fourth consecutive reporting period, Verizon Wireless ranks highest in wireless customer care satisfaction among full-service carriers, with an overall score of 766. Verizon Wireless performs particularly well in telephone contacts that originate in the automatic response system (ARS) channel and are then transferred to a live customer service representative (CSR), and in telephone calls made directly to a CSR.
MetroPCS ranks highest in overall wireless customer care satisfaction among non-contract carriers, with an overall score of 733. MetroPCS performs particularly well in telephone calls made directly to a CSR.
The 2013 Wireless Customer Care Full-Service Performance Study—Volume 1 is based on responses from 7,332 wireless customers. The 2013 Wireless Customer Care Non-Contract Performance Study—Volume 1 is based on responses from 3,131 wireless customers. Both studies are based on the experiences of current customers who contacted their carrier's customer care department within the past six months. The study was fielded from July through December 2012.
 Data-sharing service plans offer varying volumes of data for multiple devices as well as unlimited voice and text
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. 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
The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), a financial intelligence and education company, signed an agreement to sell its McGraw-Hill Education business to investment funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC in November 2012. Following the sale closing, expected in early 2013, the Company will be renamed McGraw Hill Financial (subject to shareholder approval) and will be a powerhouse in benchmarks, content and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. The Company's leading brands will include: Standard & Poor's, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, Crisil, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Company will have approximately 17,000 employees in more than 30 countries. Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.
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