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Wireless Customer Service: Not Over the Hump Yet Product Image

Wireless Customer Service: Not Over the Hump Yet

  • Published: November 2005
  • 44 pages
  • In-Stat/MDR

FEATURED COMPANIES

  • Cingular/AT&T Wireless
  • Nextel
  • Sprint PCS
  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon Wireless
  • MORE

As the US wireless market continues to grow and the industry consolidates, customer service is becoming increasingly important for customer satisfaction and retention. This report was compiled both through a survey of over 1,100 US wireless customers and extensive interviews with key wireless industry insiders.

The report answers the questions: "Is the quality of customer service important in reducing churn?" and, "Are the latest customer service initiatives undertaken by US wireless carriers working?"

Wireless carriers covered in-depth include Sprint PCS, Nextel, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Cingular/AT&T Wireless. This report is intended for customer service executives in all wireless companies, worldwide, and for those companies hoping to enter the market as MVNOs.

This report found the following:

- In most cases, satisfaction with customer service nearly mirrors subscribers' overall attitude toward the carrier

- Efficient handling of billing problems is now considered one of the best parts of the customer service experience. Lengthy hold times and one-call resolution are the worst.

- Customers are indifferent about web-based or READ MORE >

Executive Summary

- Survey Results

Introduction

Background

- Complaint History
- Churn

Customer Service Programs

- Cingular Wireless

Corporate Focus or Initiative

Differentiators

Documentation

Guarantee

Service Features

Coverage Maps

Response to Customer Complaints

Support for Ongoing AT&T Wireless Subscribers

Ongoing Challenges

"Best Network" Claim

Call Handling

Reaching Existing Customers

Other Customer Care Needs

Outsourced and Offshore Customer Care

- Verizon Wireless

Corporate Focus or Initiative

Differentiators

Service Features

Ongoing Challenges

Outsourced and Offshore Customer Care

Trends

Measuring Progress

- Sprint Nextel

Corporate Focus or Initiatives

Differentiators

Service Features

Ongoing Challenges

Outsourced and Offshore Customer Care

Measuring Progress

- T-Mobile

The "CEO Philosophy"

Differentiating via Quality of Customer Service

Putting CSRs First

Interactive Voice Response

Specialized Handset Support

Service Highlights

Leading Call Topics

Customer Feedback

Trends

Outsourced and Offshore Customer Care

The Subscriber Perspective

- Our Survey Results

Age

Choice of Service Provider

Overall Customer Satisfaction

Customer Satisfaction with Customer Service

Customer Service Strengths and Weaknesses

Churn Potential

Conclusions

Appendix 1: Methodology

Appendix 2: Consumer Mobility Survey Questions

List of Tables

Table 1. Historical and Recent Churn Rates

Table 2. Summary Satisfaction and Churn Survey Results ("Somewhat Satisfied" Omitted)

Table 3. Wireless Operator Subscribers and Market Share (Units in Millions)

Table 4 Complaints to FCC, 1Q04 through 1Q05

Table 5. Complaints to FCC per 10,000 Subscribers, 2003-2004, by Operator

Table 6. Historical and Recent Churn Rates

Table 7. 2004 Summary Financial and Operational Figures for Companies Studied

Table 8. Verizon Wireless Customer Service Transaction Volumes

Table 9. Which of the Following Describes Your Age Range?

Table 10. Which Wireless Telephone Company Provides the Service for the Wireless Phone You Use?

Table 11. Please Rate Your Overall Satisfaction with Your Current Wireless Provider Considering Reliability of Service, Value for the Money, Quality of Customer Service, and Any Other Factors Important to You

Table 12. Overall Customer Satisfaction, by Length of Subscribership

Table 13. Using a "1-5" Scale, Where a "1" Means Poor and a "5" means Excellent, What is Your Opinion of Your Wireless Telephone Company in the Area of Customer Service?

Table 14. Ratings of Customer Service, by Length of Subscribership

Table 15. Top Two Customer Service Strengths

Table 16. Two Greatest Needs for Customer Service Improvement

Table 17. Four Weakest Customer Service Areas Identified by Dissatisfied or Marginally Satisfied Customers

Table 18. How Likely are You to Switch to a New Wireless Telephone Company in the Next 12 Months?

Table 19. Intent to Switch Service Providers, by Length of Subscription

List of Figures

Figure 1. Average Churn Trend and Trend per Company, 2002-1Q05

Figure 2. Complaint Trend, 1Q04 through 1Q05

Figure 3. Historical Churn Trend, 2002 to 1Q05

Figure 4. Cingular Coverage Map, One-Mile Resolution

Figure 5. Verizon Wireless Coverage Map, Closest Resolution

Figure 6. The Sprint Transformation

Figure 7. T-Mobile Coverage Map, Closest Resolution

Figure 8. Ratings of Customer Service by Length of Subscribership

Figure 9. Customer Service Strength and Weakness Responses, by Service Element

Figure 10. Intent to Switch Service Providers, Illustrated by Length of Subscription

Figure 11. Churn Potential by Carrier

Wireless service providers are having some success in reducing customer service churn and complaint rates, but they still have significant challenges ahead. About one in eight wireless customers considered their wireless carrier's customer service "excellent," although the results for individual US carriers ranged from a low of 7% to a high near 21%. The high-tech research firm found several customer service topics that received praise and complaint for each wireless carrier regarding hold times, service policies, first-call problem resolution, and customer service representative attitude. These findings are the result of a survey of US wireless subscribers and of extensive interviews with key wireless industry insiders.

- Cingular/AT&T Wireless
- Nextel
- Sprint PCS
- T-Mobile
- Verizon Wireless

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