J.D. PowerAn operating system (OS) lies at the heart of any mobile data device, and their importance is only growing with uptake of more more powerful mobile devices and more advanced mobile application software. For mobile device users, smartphone OSs are an increasingly important factor in their choice of smartphones, as well as in terms of user experience and brand satisfaction, according to Volume 2 of the “J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study.”

Assessing customer satisfaction across four factors – performance, features, physical design and ease of operation, J.D. Power’s latest study reveals that overall customer satisfaction “has improved significantly since 2012,” improving to 8.4 from 7.6 on a 10-point scale over the period.

Smartphone Purchase Criteria
Now that mobile device parity has been largely achieved in terms of advanced technology and features, manufacturers are increasingly focusing in on mobile OSs as a means of differentiating their wares, enhancing the user experience, and fostering customer loyalty, the market research provider points out.

“Providing an easy-to-use, yet powerful operating system with the ability to customize applications to suit individual needs is essential to providing a positive wireless experience,” Kirk Parsons, senior director of telecommunications services at J.D. Power, was quoted in a company press release.

“To get ahead of the competition and satisfy customers, manufacturers must meet and exceed the expectations of customers, ensuring the OS allows the device features and services to work intuitively and seamlessly. Doing so will help drive satisfaction and loyalty to the brand.”

Other key takeaways from Volume 2 of the “J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study” include:

  • Among tier 1 wireless carriers, Apple ranks highest in overall satisfaction among customers of AT&T (855), followed by customers of T-Mobile (848) and Verizon Wireless (846). Among customers of Sprint, Apple and Samsung tie for highest rank (845 each);
  • Nearly one-fourth (24%) of smartphone owners cite either operating system or phone operation as the main reason for choosing their device, a slight increase from 22 percent in the 2013 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study—Volume 2;
  • While smartphone owners continue to cite features (32%) as the primary reason for selecting a device, the rate has declined significantly from 38 percent in the 2013 Vol. 2 study. The reason customers purchase a smartphone impacts satisfaction and repurchase intent;
  • Overall satisfaction is significantly higher among customers who select a smartphone based on operating system (861), with 38 percent of these customers saying they “definitely will” repurchase, than among those whose selection is based on cost-specific reasons, such as price (808 and 19%, respectively);
  • Nearly one-half (43%) of smartphone owners indicate they have at least one other device such as a PC or tablet running the same OS as their smartphone. Among customers using another device with the same OS, 71 percent indicate the device is a tablet.

Wireless Satisfaction
Released on the same day, the “J.D. Power 2014 Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Study” reveals that:

  • Among tier 1 wireless carriers, Motorola (740) ranks highest among traditional mobile phone manufacturers. LG and Samsung follow with a score of 735 each. Ease of operation is a key factor impacting traditional mobile device satisfaction, as pressing keys, navigation and ease of texting/messaging are critical operational activities among customers who frequently use their phone;
  • Among customers who are highly satisfied with their device’s ease of operation (providing a rating of 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale), 83 percent say they “definitely will” or “probably will” purchase another phone from the same OEM in the future. In comparison, only 47 percent of customers who are much less satisfied with their ease of operation experience (ratings of 1 to 5) say they “definitely will” or “probably will” purchase again from the same OEM;
  • An increase in the amount of texting and challenges with ease of operating a traditional mobile phone drives the likelihood of switching to a new device. Among customers who send a text at least 10 times within a two-day period, 55 percent say they “definitely will” or “probably will” purchase a new mobile device in the next 12 months. In comparison, only 38 percent of customers who send a text less than five times in a two-day period say the same.

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