J.D. PowerWireless customers in the U.S. market perceived greater value in wireless devices and were more satisfied with online purchasing experiences, according to two J.D. Power and Associates’ reports released August 15.

Overall U.S. satisfaction among full-service wireless customers who said they’d made a sales transaction with their carrier rose 31 index points since February 2013 to 795 on J.D. Power’s 1,000-point scale. Overall satisfaction among non-contract customers rose 34 point over the semi-annual report’s survey period to 789, according to the J.D. Power 2013 Wireless Purchase Experience Full-Service Study – Volume 2 and 2013 Wireless Purchase Experience Non-Contract Study – Volume 2.

Wireless customer satisfaction for the full-service segment rose across all six metrics. Cost of service led the way, coming in 47 points above the last reporting period’s results. The gain was due in part to the value customers perceived in upgrading from 3G mobile phones to 4G smartphones, which vendors have been offering at promotional, discount prices, according to J.D. Power.

Customer satisfaction regarding cost of service among non-contract wireless customers also increased, as did satisfaction with making online purchases. “Timeliness of completing the transaction and ease of placing orders or making changes to current service plans are the primary reasons for the increase,” J.D. Power analysts said.

“There’s a direct correlation between an efficient sales transaction process and improving satisfaction with the overall purchase experience,” J.D. Power senior director, Telecom services practice Kirk Parsons was quoted in a press release. “The increased levels of satisfaction with website are partially due to the efficiency and immediacy of the experience driven by increasingly innovative online chat functions. Additionally, carriers have invested heavily in promoting and marketing the latest 4G devices to keep current customers loyal and encourage spending on more advanced services.”

Grading wireless service providers on customer satisfaction, AT&T, with an index score of 798, ranked highest overall in customer purchase experience satisfaction among full-service Tier 1 carriers for the first time since J.D. Power began producing the reports, which are now in their tenth year. Verizon Wireless (794) and Sprint (793) ran a close second and third, respectively.

Boost Mobile took top honors in overall customer purchase experience satisfaction in the non-contract service carrier segment with an index score of 804, scoring especially high in the store sales representative, store facility, offering and promotions, and website categories. MetroPCS ranked second at 803, TracFone third at 800, and Virgin Mobile fourth at 789.

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