J.D. PowerSales reps play a key role in enhancing customer satisfaction with tablet purchases, according to J.D. Power Associates’ latest semi-annual studies of the wireless purchase experience. Satisfaction with the wireless purchase experience was higher for tablet as compared to smartphone owners.

On a 1,000-point scale, satisfaction among tablet owners came in at 811 as compared to 797 among smartphone owners, according to J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Full-Service Performance Study – Volume 1 and the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Non-Contract Performance Study. Both market research reports were released February 19.

“Part of the reason for the higher level of satisfaction with the retail sales process among tablet 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,” J.D. Power states in a press release.

Tablet Purchase Satisfaction
Related key findings include:

  • 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.

“Wireless carriers need to understand the importance and value of the role sales reps play in providing product information to tablet and smartphone shoppers,” commented 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.”

In the first semi-annual installment of its 2015 reports, J.D. Power rates and ranks customer satisfaction with the contract and non-contract purchase experience among the nation’s wireless carriers. Providers are rated and ranked according to three contact channels – phone calls with sales reps, visits to retail outlets, and online. Performance is measured across six factors: store sales representative, website, store facility, offerings and promotions, cost of service, and phone sales representative.

AT&T ranked highest among full-service wireless carriers with an overall J.D. Power index score of 802. AT&T scored particularly well across five of the six criteria, including in-store and phone sales.

Tying for leadership among non-contract wireless carriers, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile came out on top in J.D. Power’s latest rankings. Both scored high in the telephone and online criteria.