People are happier with the value of wireless devices than they have been in years, and they are pleased with the service of the biggest wireless carriers in the country. J.D. Power and Associates released the second volume of its study on the wireless business, and AT&T (NYSE:T) liked the results most of all. After claiming best customer care title earlier in the month, the second-largest U.S. carrier added another notch to its belt.
AT&T took the prize for wireless purchase experience satisfaction, edging out Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint (NYSE:S). According to J.D.Power’s press release, it’s the first time since AT&T won top billing since the advent of the study. The survey included nearly 9,000 participants and took into account their opinions based on their experience shopping for products online, which wasn’t always the company’s actual sites.
The study showed big-box retailers such as Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) had higher performance than the carriers themselves, and general store sites also trumped the likes of AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon in customer satisfaction with online transactions. Nonetheless, AT&T and its competitors were the beneficiaries of their partners’ performance, and the industry as a whole showed it was getting better.
The study noted the online transaction experience was improving in the minds of wireless customers. Full-service clients’ opinions of the wireless experience went up considerably. Customers liked the value they were getting, the J.D. Power study found. For AT&T, it was the second J.D. Power win this month and another reason for the powerhouse carrier to celebrate.
Early in August, AT&T was named best in wireless customer care performance, a study that showed consumers were utilizing the chat functions on their computers and phones when seeking out representatives. This coveted prize can give the company ammunition when it hits the air with its next ad campaign. Being the best in customer service, plus the recent designation of best in the online transaction experience, sounds good in promotional literature.
AT&T distinguished itself among the big contract players, and Boost Mobile took the prize among the non-contract consumers for the customer purchase experience. The latest study also noted that customers using 4G devices were reporting higher satisfaction than their 3G counterparts, and the in-store experience is having a big impact on the overall happiness of the consumer.
People still want things explained to them. Scores for satisfaction were markedly higher (854) when they received guidance on using a phone and accessing features than when they simply were handed the device (734), the J.D. Power study found. Customers are also willing to pay for better service. The J.D. Power survey noted 4G customers pay around $11 more per month than those using 3G or 2G devices.
Overall, the industry is meeting each of its perceived goals. Improvements in customer care have been called for on all counts, and the performance of the devices themselves on the most advanced networks is meeting its goals. People are proving they will pay a premium — and are still happy to sign long-term deals — when the service is fulfilling expectations.
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