WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif: 17 February 2011 — Although overall satisfaction generally declines as the length of the wireless retail sales process increases, lengthy periods explaining the device’s operation do not negatively impact retail sales satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Wireless Retail Sales Satisfaction StudySM—Volume 1 released today.
Now in its eighth year, the semiannual study analyzes evaluations from customers who recently had an in-store wireless retail sales experience. Overall customer satisfaction with major wireless carrier-branded stores is based on four factors: staff (49%); price and promotion (27%); store facility (14%); and store display (10%).
The study finds that as the amount of time spent during the wireless retail sales transaction increases, customer satisfaction generally declines. Among customers who wait longer than two minutes to be greeted when entering the retail facility, overall satisfaction is 103 points lower than among those who are greeted within two minutes (762 vs. 659 on a 1,000-point scale).
This decline in satisfaction holds true for all stages of the sales process with one crucial exception: the time taken to explain the wireless device operation. In fact, satisfaction increases as the time spent explaining the device’s operation increases. Overall satisfaction among customers who receive an explanation in less than one minute is 740, compared with 758 among those who receive an explanation between five and 10 minutes in length. The average reported time to explain device operation is six minutes.
“Within the past year, there have been a number of new product and service plan innovations where, in most cases, customers needed to be re-educated in terms of device operation usage and how they can get the most from their phone,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. “Instructing customers on operating particular devices affords salespersons an opportunity to display their own knowledge, as well as to showcase the handset lineup and latest offerings. As smartphone adoption rates continue to climb, this practice becomes even more important, as the average monthly spending is $6 more among customers who received a device operation explanation, compared with those who did not.”
Overall satisfaction with the retail sales process decreases dramatically when customers are not given adequate time to shop due to pressure from the salesperson to rush the sales process. Satisfaction among customers who indicate having experienced this kind of pressure during the sales process averages 124 points lower (630) than among customers who indicate not having experienced pressure (754).
T-Mobile ranks highest in customer satisfaction among major wireless carrier-owned retail stores for a fourth consecutive time with a score of 739, performing particularly well in price and promotions, such as competitiveness of service plans and devices offered. Sprint Nextel (730) follows T-Mobile in the rankings and also performs well in price and promotions.
The study also finds the following key retail wireless sales transaction patterns:
- Nearly three-fourths of customers indicate that a salesperson offered to explain the number of plan minutes during their most recent visit—a decrease of four percentage points from six months ago. Four in 10 customers indicate having been shown a coverage map or an explanation of the latest technology—an increase of four percentage points during the same time period.
- The average total time customers spent in the retail store to complete the sales transaction was approximately 57 minutes—an increase of one minute, compared with six months ago.
- Satisfaction with the retail experience among smartphone owners is 24 points higher than among owners of traditional handsets (742 vs. 718, respectively). Overall retail sales satisfaction among new smartphone owners of devices that run on the Android OS platform is higher, due mainly to aggressive price/promotion activities.
- More than one-half (56%) of wireless customers visit their retailer to upgrade or replace a phone from their current carrier. Renewing or changing an existing wireless plan (38%) and purchasing a new device (31%) round out the top reasons customers cite for having visited a retail store within the past six months.
The 2011 U.S. Wireless Retail Sales Satisfaction Study—Volume 1 is based on experiences reported by 8,501 wireless customers who completed a retail sales transaction within the past six months. The study was fielded between July and December 2010.
For more information or to view wireless retail ratings, 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 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
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy. Leading brands include Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.
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