Customer Service Strategy Critical for Wireless Carriers as Unprecedented Number of Contract Expirations Loom
SaskTel Ranks Highest in Wireless Customer Satisfaction with Customer Care
TORONTO: 14 May 2015 — An unprecedented number of wireless contracts are set to expire in June 2015—the result of changes introduced by the 2013 Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) Wireless Code—making it a critical time for wireless carriers to have a comprehensive customer service strategy in place, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Canadian Wireless Customer Care StudySM released today.
The study examines wireless customer perceptions of carriers’ performances across customer service-related activities. Satisfaction is measured across four factors (listed in order of importance): phone customer service representative (CSR); in-store service; online service; and phone automated response system (ARS). Overall wireless customer care satisfaction is 715 on a 1,000-point scale.
As wireless carriers look for a competitive advantage beyond promoting devices, plans and network performance, customer service is a clear way carriers can differentiate themselves and retain customers. In June 2015, wireless carriers are expected to face heightened competition as they brace for a surge of two-year and three-year contract expirations. While carriers will likely be ready with attractive plans and product offerings, service differentiation is a critical mechanism toward building a relationship with a customer, which can lead to long-term loyalty. Developing a comprehensive customer service strategy focused on such key elements as problem prevention and first-contact resolution across the phone, in-store and online channels is essential.
“Customer service needs to excel at every touch point,” said Adrian Chung, account director at J.D. Power. “Carriers need to focus on timeliness and accessibility with every customer interaction, which can help differentiate carriers from their competition, satisfy customers and ultimately drive loyalty and advocacy. While the online channel is not a complete solution, it should be a key component of a carrier’s overall customer service strategy as it can facilitate quicker problem resolution than other channels.”
Self-service tools are convenient and easy to use—especially those available through the online customer care channel as they can empower customers to resolve their problems quickly via a mobile device. A higher percentage of Gen Y (born 1977-1994) customers use the online customer care channel for service than industry average (35% vs. 28%, respectively). Additionally, satisfaction is higher among Gen Y customers who use the online service channel, compared with industry average (709 vs. 696, respectively), and online contacts related to billing are also higher among those customers than average (37% vs. 30%, respectively).
- Overall satisfaction scores influence customer loyalty and advocacy. On average, 48 percent of delighted customers (overall satisfaction scores of 900 or higher) say they "definitely will not" switch to another carrier, while just 8 percent of displeased customers (scores of 549 or lower) say the same. Furthermore, 69 percent of delighted customers say they "definitely will" recommend their carrier, compared with just 7 percent of displeased customers.
- High-ranking carriers differentiate their brand by performing well with respect to clarity of information provided and timeliness of care contacts. These brands have below-average customer service contact rates (42%); below-average phone transfer rates (38%); above-average first-contact resolution rates in all three channels—phone (63%), in-store (58%) and online (56%)—and a below-average percentage of customers indicating they experience difficulty understanding phone representatives (32%).
- “Delighted” customers provide an average of 5.4 positive comments about their carrier, compared with an average of 1.2 positive comments among displeased customers.
Wireless Carrier Rankings
SaskTel ranks highest in customer care satisfaction with a score of 787. SaskTel performs particularly well in the phone customer service representative (CSR) factor. Virgin Mobile (773) ranks second, followed by Koodo Mobile (764).
The 2015 Canadian Wireless Customer Care Study is based on responses from more than 5,000 wireless customers. The study was fielded in October-November 2014 (Wave 1) and March 2015 (Wave 2).
Media Relations Contacts
Beth Daniher, Cohn & Wolfe, Toronto, Canada; 647-259-3279, [email protected]
Gal Wilder, Cohn & Wolfe, Toronto, Canada; 647-259-3261, [email protected]
John Tews, J.D. Power, Troy, Michigan; 248-680-6218, [email protected]
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 The Wireless Code establishes new standards that all wireless carriers must follow, including no cancellation fees after two years; limits on data and roaming charges; ability to more easily unlock phones; trial periods without penalty; and clear language in documents. For more information on the benefits of the CRTC’s Wireless Code, visit www.crtc.gc.ca/wirelesscode
 Source: J.D. Power 2015 Canadian Wireless Total Ownership Experience StudySM