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AT&T Ranks Highest in Wireless Purchase Experience Performance among Full-Service Carriers;
Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile Tie for Highest Rank among Non-Contract Carriers

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: February 19, 2015 — Satisfaction with the wireless purchase experience is higher among tablet customers than among smartphone customers primarily due to sales reps spending more time during the purchase process with tablet customers to gain a better understanding of their needs, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Full-Service Performance StudySM—Volume 1 and the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Non-Contract Performance StudySM—Volume 1, both released today.

Now in their 12th year, the semiannual studies evaluate the wireless purchase experience of customers who use any one of three contact channels: phone calls with sales representatives; visits to a retail wireless store; and online. Overall purchase experience satisfaction with both full-service and non-contract carriers is measured across six factors (in order of importance): store sales representative; website; store facility; offerings and promotions; cost of service; and phone sales representative. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.

“Wireless carriers need to understand the importance and value of the role sales reps play in providing product information to tablet and smartphone shoppers,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of the telecom services practice at J.D. Power. “In particular, due to the high cost of tablets, shoppers take great care and time when assessing their options. When a sales rep helps a tablet shopper become familiar with the device’s features and addresses any of their concerns, it can improve the decision process and translate into a more satisfying purchase experience.”

Satisfaction with the purchase experience is higher among wireless customers who own a tablet than among those who own a smartphone (811 vs. 797, respectively).

Part of the reason for the higher level of satisfaction with the retail sales process among tablet customers, compared with among smartphone customers, is that sales reps take more time to understand a tablet shopper’s needs and address their questions and concerns, as well as demonstrate the features and functionality of devices. For example, the average amount of time spent going through the entire sales process is higher among full-service tablet customers than among smartphone customers (62 minutes vs. 59 minutes, respectively).

KEY FINDINGS

  • Tablet purchase experience satisfaction among wireless customers is substantially higher (+149 points) when a retail store representative offers an explanation/demonstration of a device's operation than when they do not (849 vs. 700, respectively).
  • Nearly three-fourths (73%) of tablet customers indicate that the sales representative offered to explain how to operate the device, compared with 67 percent of smartphone customers who indicate the same. A larger gap exists between the two customer groups when a sales representative explains the extra service plan options available, such as a data plan (74% vs. 65%, respectively).
  • Having a sales rep offer to demonstrate the operation of a tablet creates an opportunity for carriers to build loyalty among customers, as 36 percent of customers who are offered a demonstration say they “definitely will not” switch their carrier, compared with 24 percent of those who were not offered a demonstration.
  • Overall, 66% of customers who purchase a tablet do so at a retail store, compared with 73 percent of those who purchase a smartphone.
  • Overall purchase experience satisfaction is 28 points higher when customers purchase their tablet in a carrier-owned store vs. a non-carrier store (820 vs. 792, respectively).
  • Among full-service customers, overall purchase experience satisfaction is 790. Among non-contract customers, satisfaction is 778.

Study Rankings

AT&T ranks highest among wireless full-service carriers, with an overall score of 802. AT&T performs particularly well in five of the six purchase experience factors, and also performs particularly well in the
in-store and phone sales factors.

Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile rank highest (in a tie) among wireless non-contract carriers, scoring 795 each. Both carriers perform well in the telephone and online factors.

The 2015 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Full-Service Performance Study—Volume 1 is based on responses from 10,246 full-service wireless customers. The 2015 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Non-Contract Performance Study—Volume 1 is based on responses from 5,498 non-contract wireless customers. Both semiannual studies are based on the experiences of current wireless service customers who indicate having had a sales transaction with their current carrier within the past six months. The study was fielded from July 2014 through December 2014.

Media Relations Contacts

John Tews; Troy, Mich.; 248-680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com

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Media Contacts:

John Tews

Troy, Michigan

(248) 680-6218

media.relations@jdpa.com