Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

Summary: Verizon and Sprint topped AT&T and T-Mobile in phone-based customer service in the previous three months, according to a new study.

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Another mobile phone customer service study shows how quickly the tides can turn.

Verizon and Sprint topped AT&T and T-Mobile in customer service in the previous three months, according to a study of phone-based customer service quality conducted by Vocal Laboratories.

Here's how the numbers looked after the company conducted telephone interviews with 6,377 customers immediately after service calls they placed in April, May and June of this year:

  1. 66% of Verizon customers were "very satisfied"
  2. 64% of Sprint customers were "very satisfied"
  3. 60% of T-Mobile customers were "very satisfied"
  4. 56% of AT&T customers were "very satisfied"

Vocal made an effort to point out that Sprint is sliding back on its gains in 2010, when it equaled Verizon's top ranking.

But it looks to me as if this data is simply too finely cut for utility -- that is, the equivalent of trying to rank Ivy League schools. (Who cares who's best? They're all fine choices.) When I look at this list, I see the reverse numbers:

  1. 34% of Verizon customers were less than completely satisfied.
  2. 36% of Sprint customers were the same.
  3. 40% of T-Mobile customers were the same.
  4. 44% of AT&T customers were the same.

Crudely averaged -- crude because I'm not taking into account the varied sizes of each company's customer base --  about 39 percent of wireless customers in the United States are less than completely satisfied with their mobile service.

Compared to a utility or cable company, that's just peachy. Compared to another industry, well...there's some room for improvement.

And that's not even considering the in-store experience, which I've found to be -- especially in crowded urban centers -- a soul-stifling adventure. ("Satisfied" doesn't begin to describe it. "Outrageously incompetent" does.)

But you tell me: how do these figures stack up with your own experience with your mobile carrier? Consumer or enterprise -- I'm interested in both.

Topics: Mobility, Enterprise Software, Networking, Software, Telcos, Verizon, Wi-Fi

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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25 comments
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  • AT&T Once Again SUCKS

    Can't wait until fall, Verizon here I come!!!
    BallmerFail
    • Verizon SUCKS

      After 5 years of being nickled & dimed, it's time for Sprint!
      blind obedience
  • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

    I have never had a carrier other than Verizon, unless you count GTE who became part of Verizon, so I can't compare VZ with others, but I have one of the "very satisfied" VZ customers.

    My wife, 2 children and I share a family plan with 2 Android phones and 2 regular feature phones.

    Every 3 months, VZ sends me a package showing what I am paying and offering suggestions on plans which might be more competitive.

    I have done business with 2 VZ stores in the SF Bay Area of CA and have gotten great service both times. The ultimate was when I wanted a netbook for my father and asked if they could let him pick it up at a Verizon store near him. Instead, they gave me a box with prepaid shipping tags at no cost to me so I could load it with software before sending it to him.

    As I said, I don't know whether other carriers are just as good, but Verizon has given me no reason to find out.
    sbf95070
  • Message has been deleted.

    bfriskey
    • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

      @bfriskey You're surrounded by idiots, and yet YOU capitalize everything...
      Joe Davola
  • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

    Don't agree about Verizon, but others okay. I like Sprint's customer service so far, very professional. When talking to Verizon, all I feel is greed, greed, greed from them. And I can easily see why AT&T didn't make the list, greed, greed, greed.
    ITOdeed
    • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

      @ITOdeed - I'm an AT&T employee. Can you explain what you mean by "greed, greed, greed"? Are you referring to the anticipated T-Mobile merger? Thanks.
      JohniPhoneLover
      • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

        @JohniPhoneLover That along with the fact that their rates are comparable to Verizon in terms of being outrageously OVER-priced.

        I've talked with friends who are with AT&T and they can't STAND their service or rates. Many of them have also talked about moving to other providers. I also talk with Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T Customer Care on a regular basis; none of them are worth a damn, IMHO.

        I'm a T-Mobile customer and I have had nothing but incredible experiences with customer service and the stores. Frankly, I am praying the AT&T merger does NOT happen.
        russdwright@...
      • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

        @JohniPhoneLover
        I tend to agree that AT&T plans are overpriced - they (like Verizono) want to nickel and dime you to death.

        I moved my family plan from AT&T to Sprint. I am paying $250 ( taxes included) a month for five (5) EVO 4G lines, everything is unlimited (text, data, mobile-to-mobile).
        Note: no, I am not a Rockfeller, my kids pay me back their share.

        Can I get the same pricing on either Verizon or AT&T?
        Solid Water
  • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

    You think AT&T is bad now, if the the take-over of T-Mobile is allowed to go through (with enough under the table political donations) tech support will end up with "Peggy" in his little shack!
    rverhelst
    • Peggy

      @rverhelst I thought 'Peggy' was pretty 'hot', the boss too...lol
      jaybyrd
  • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

    Sprint? Worst system out there. Slow outside the major urban areas it services, doesn't work inside buildings, shll I continue. Of course that means they have to try and be nice to their customers.
    Romas27
    • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

      @Romas27
      dont know where you live. Sprint works fine in buildings in Atlanta. AT&T wont even work here if you are standing next to a window.
      tiderulz
    • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

      @Romas27 Strange... I have been using mine Sprint phones inside buildings everyday for 11 years... They always work. In fact, Sprint and Verizon are both great... but we have plenty of AT&T users here who have trouble constantly with dropped calls.. <br><br>Don't know why it was flagged as Spam? I just typed this in... WEIRD. ok.. it isn't anymore... ZDNET.. Fix spam filters!
      condelirios
  • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

    Sprint has the worst customer service in the history of customer service... and ATT is worse ? OUCH !

    Glad I went to Verizon :)
    gtatransam@...
    • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

      @gtatransam@... Agreed. I stick with Sprint for the sole reason that it feels to me like the lesser of two (three?) evils. I made the moronic mistake to upgrade the four phones on my business plan last year and sign another two year contract. Of course, NOTHING about the order was fulfilled properly which cost me a total of 16 hours phone time trying to resolve it, getting bounced from one person in "customer service" to another. And not one of them giving me the same story as to the cause of the problem and the solution.


      If they are rated better than AT&T and on par with Verizon, that just shows you how bad the customer service end of a service industry is and how Americans are fools (including me) for accepting it.

      God, I feel dirty now.
      frizzllefry
  • Verizon was a NIGHTMARE

    Sprint = Cheapest Data Plan. Service has always been nice even when I am in total disagreement with a policy and they do things to keep me as a customer.

    Verizon was the worst customer service I have ever had and they cost TOO MUCH MONEY! I went from Nextel to Verizon on a shared planned and they made an error. It was that we had zero minutes so every minute was at full rate. My first $400 bill was a little shocking and funny. After an hour I was told we are all fine. Then after 4 months of it I was done. I was called a liar by a Verizon rep who told me he would not help me since they are not in error but me. Then when we had a death in the family and went 150 minutes over they got us for $100 and nothing to help us.
    mtelesha
    • Since they're so big...

      ...they take their customers for granted. And get away with it, too.

      I hope you went with another carrier.
      blind obedience
  • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

    I have to say that I was very very happy to say goodbye to AT&T a few months ago! Overpriced, nickle & dime you to death fee's, terrible customer service with more dropped calls in the last few years then I have ever experienced in the 6 plus years prior I was with them. Switched to Sprint and so far have been very happy with call quality, data speeds on 3g & 4g have been great! Only dealt with customer service once and they were great!
    gftitan
  • RE: Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

    hahaha this is TRUE of SPRINT. They are best phone provider now and great plans UNLIMITTED yup i said it not like crappy tmobile which you be lucky get a signal and ATT cutting off unlimitted and will be charging now hahahaha also verizon will be doing that too
    ipadsucks