• October 8, 2008
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

The Power of Wireless Customer Satisfaction

The telephone jack is becoming optional; more than a quarter (27 percent) of wireless phone customers have done away with the landline and rely entirely upon wireless phones, according to today’s report from J.D. Power and Associates (JDPA). The semiannual 2008 U.S. Wireless Contract Regional Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study further states that 61 percent of that group has disconnected home landline service entirely.

Ripping out the copper wire is more prevalent among younger users, according to the report. Twenty-nine percent of wireless customers between the ages of 18 and 24 reported giving up the wall jack, versus just 9 percent of customers at least 65 years old. Even so, wireless users seem to need a little time to get used to the idea of cutting the cord completely: Customers who have had wireless phone service for at least 3 years were totally wireless 19 percent of the time, versus 9 percent of newer users.

JDPA’s findings are the result of a survey of more than 20,000 wireless phone users, with data collected between February and June 2008. The findings are also supported by the everyday experience of mobile-phone ubiquity — the wireless device is now a constant companion even in public places. “The user experience has steadily improved for wireless customers, and the number of features and applications available for cell phones has increased considerably during the past two years, so it is not unexpected to find that many wireless subscribers are choosing to replace their landline phone entirely with wireless service,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at JDPA, in a statement. “Wireless service has truly improved to the point where quality and performance are no longer barriers in the decision-making process around switching to exclusive wireless service usage.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a CSI report without ranking customer satisfaction. Respondents who had disconnected their landlines were typically more satisfied with service than those who retained the service (691 points to 681, on JDPA’s 750-point scale).

The study also ranks the performance of wireless service providers in addition to usage trends. The standings are based on six indicators of quality, weighted by importance:

  • call quality (32 percent);
  • brand image (17);
  • cost of service (14);
  • service-plan options (14);
  • billing (12); and
  • customer service (11).

The results are compiled for each of six regions in the United States. Verizon Wireless ranked highest in five of them (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, North Central, and West), and scored particularly well in call quality, and brand image in those regions, according to JDPA. T-Mobile was best in the Southwest, scoring high in cost of service, service-plan options, billing, and customer service. Sprint Nextel placed last in all six regions.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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