updated 05:10 pm EDT, Thu October 23, 2008
Verizon Tops JDP Survey
A J.D. Power study released on Thursday has revealed that the percentage of salespeople aid during a buyer's purchase of a wireless service or handset has been decreasing since 2006. At the same time, the survey measured overall customer satisfaction based on four factors, each with a different weight or importance associated with it. Sales staff was first with 51 percent of the weight, store display was at 17 percent with store facility and price/promotion close behind at 16 percent each. Based on these factors, Verizon was tops, scoring 715 out of 1,000 points, with Alltel not far behind, at 710. T-Mobile was third with 696 points, AT&T had 691 points and Sprint Nextel was last among the major carriers, at 669. The industry average was 698.
The survey, which is performed twice a year and polls customers who have purchased a new plan in the last six months, also found that the average retail sales transaction took about 60 minutes to complete, measured from when the customer enters the store to when they leave with the phone activated. The number represents a four-minute increase since the last report was published six months ago but isn't given a direct explanation.
Another revelation includes the lower satisfaction levels of new wireless customers compared to existing customers. The report concludes new customers are more likely to be overwhelmed by the wide selection of plans, services and handsets and may have been sold a plan that does not suit their needs. Sales pressure was found to be the cause of dissatisfaction, as overall satisfaction was 15 percent higher among those who reported they were not pressured.
Companies claim to have taken steps to reduce the amount of in-store time and improve satisfaction; AT&T in particular has worked with Apple to allow most of the iPhone sign-up process to take place at home, leaving only a few details to be handled at the store itself.