WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif: 27 August 2014 — Even as the network outage performance gap diminishes among major providers in the telecommunications industry, one of the key reasons for businesses to consider switching from their current provider continues to be the need for more reliable network service, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Business Wireline Satisfaction StudySM released today.
The annual study measures customer satisfaction with providers of telecommunications voice and data services in three segments: very small businesses (companies with between one and 19 employees, with a corporate service plan); small/medium businesses (companies with between 20 and 499 employees); and large enterprise businesses (companies with 500 or more employees). Satisfaction is measured across six factors: performance and reliability (27%); cost of service (18%); sales representatives and account executives (19%); billing (14%); communications (15%); and customer service (12%).
“As annual improvements in network performance continue, such performance-related issues as network outages and reliability continue to be key elements of dissatisfaction for business and a reason to consider switching providers,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of telecommunications services at J.D. Power. “It’s imperative for telecom providers to communicate the improvements the industry has made relative to network performance and to provide quick resolution when issues do occur, as even minor outages can hamper business capabilities to service customers.”
Overall customer satisfaction averages 700 on a 1,000-point scale in 2014.
In the large enterprise business segment, Cox ranks highest with an overall score of 782. Verizon ranks highest in both the small/medium (759) and very small business (727) segments respectively.
- The industry average for short- and long-duration outages has declined significantly since 2011. The average number of short-duration data outages (lasting less than five minutes) experienced by customers during the past six months has decreased by more than 28 percent, to 3.4 incidents in 2014 from 4.7 in 2011. The average number of extended outages (greater than five minutes) has dipped more than 16 percent in the same period to 1.6 incidents in 2014 from 1.9 in 2011.
- Among business customers who purchase voice services and experience two or more lengthy outages, 31 percent indicate they are likely to switch providers in the next 12 months, while only 11 percent of those who experience no outages indicate they will switch. Among business customers who purchase data services and that experience lengthy outages, the percentage indicating they are likely to switch providers in the next 12 months is more than triple that among those who do not experience lengthy outages (31% vs. 10%, respectively)
- Nearly one in six (16%) business customers indicate the likelihood to switch their current telecom provider in the next 12 months. Small/Medium size businesses have the highest future switching intent at 20 percent, while very small businesses have the lowest switching intent at 15 percent.
- Reasons for switching providers include obtaining better pricing (73%); new features or service plans offered (30%); favorable pricing options (29%); and better/more reliable service performance (28%).
- The top reason for businesses choosing their current telecom provider was price (17%), while the second most frequently cited reason was network reliability/quality/broadband speeds (13%).
- The main reason businesses contact customer care is network-related problems, either due to reporting an outage, service disruption/disconnected or poor/bad reception (28%). The next highest contact inquiry is to inquire about a product or service (11%).
The 2014 U.S. Business Wireline Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 4,220 business customers of data and voice services at very small, small/medium, and large enterprise businesses in the United States and includes evaluations of their data and voice service providers. The study was fielded in May 2014.
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