For all the new technology in the burgeoning mobile industry, the old-fashioned notion of customer service is still king, according to the latest J.D. Power customer satisfaction studies.
The good news is that the re-contact rate among full-service wireless customers who contact their carrier by phone has risen to 23 percentage points from 17 percentage points in 2011, a 6 percentage point increase in just two years.
So how do companies get their current customers to sign up again? It turns out the biggest factor for customers is having their service inquiries resolved on the first try, according to the “J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Full-Service Performance Study—Volume 1”, and the “J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Non-Contract Performance Study—Volume 1”, both released this week.
"It's imperative that wireless service carriers improve their ability to resolve customer issues in one contact and reduce the number of service channels customers need to visit to address their problem," said Kirk Parsons (News - Alert), senior director of telecommunications at J.D. Power. "Keeping the service call to five minutes or less may reduce overall call volume to the carrier, thereby improving customer satisfaction and loyalty."
And it also makes a big different in the wireless carriers’ customer service satisfaction scores, which J.D. Power monitors. The latest report found full-service wireless customers who resolve their issue during a single phone call have a satisfaction rating of 846 (on a 1,000-point scale). If the problem takes two more calls to resolve, the rate declines significantly to 662.
What’s more, those unhappy customers are likely to switch carriers. The number of wireless customers who say they are likely to switch carriers after they’ve experienced a service call that lasts less than 5 minutes is only 16 percent, compared with 30 percent when the call lasts 15 minutes or more.
Speed counts as well. When customer service hold times are less than 5 minutes, overall customer care satisfaction is 843, compared with 603 when hold times are 15 minutes or longer.
In spite of the improvements, the wireless carriers have a way to go to strengthen those service response numbers. Only 17 percent of full-service wireless customers said their most recent customer service inquiry was resolved in 5 minutes or less, while 20 percent indicate that resolution took 25 minutes or more.
The 2014 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Full-Service Performance Study—Volume 1 is based on responses from 7,195 full-service wireless customers. The 2014 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Non-Contract Performance Study—Volume 1 is based on responses from 2,912 non-contract wireless customers.
Both semiannual 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 2013 through December 2013.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson