J.D. Power: T-Mobile ranks highest in customer satisfaction; smartphone users more demanding

J.D. Power: T-Mobile ranks highest in customer satisfaction; smartphone users more demanding

Summary: T-Mobile ranks the highest in customer satisfaction for the wireless retail sales experience, according to a new study released by J.D. Power and Associates.

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T-Mobile ranks the highest in customer satisfaction for the wireless retail sales experience, according to a new study released by J.D. Power and Associates on Wednesday.

Furthermore, many retailers are readjusting their sales experience as more wireless customers switch to smartphone and demand more from them, according to the study, entitled "2010 U.S. Wireless Retail Sales Satisfaction Study, Volume I."

According to the study, new smartphone users spend more time in retail stores than their counterparts with traditional cell phones.

Some takeaways from the survey, after the jump:

  • Almost 40 percent of customers who visited a wireless retail store in the past six months -- whether to replace or upgrade a phone, switch carriers or sign up for wireless service -- now own smartphones for the first time.
  • Satisfaction with the retail experience among smartphone owners averages 11 index points higher (on a 1,000-point scale) than that of traditional handset owners.
  • Smartphone owners are more satisfied than traditional handset owners in all factors, particularly with regard to the sales staff.
  • Smartphone owners are 27 percent more likely than traditional handset owners to visit a retail store to ask about a problem.
  • Smartphone users are 18 percent more likely to inquire about having their phone repaired.
  • Smartphone users spend an average of more than one hour in the store -- four minutes longer than owners of traditional phones.

In other words: complex smartphones lead to longer retail interactions, which fosters customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Interestingly, customers said their satisfaction was based on four factors: sales staff (49%); price and promotion (27%); store facility (14%); and display (10%).

Clearly, the retail experience is aching for a better service component. (Anecdotally, I can attest to this -- I recently stopped into my local New York City Verizon Wireless store and was promptly ignored for the better part of 30 minutes. It was astonishing.)

That difference is key: according to the survey, 92 percent of customers said they plan to revisit the retail store if they were satisfied with the knowledge of its sales associates. Only 70 percent said they would return if they weren't satisfied with a store's salespeople.

Similarly, 91 percent of satisfied customers said they would recommend the store, versus just 62 percent of the dissatisfied.

Finally, the four major U.S. carriers were ranked for customer satisfaction. T-Mobile ranked first, "performing particularly well with regard to quality of sales staff and price and promotions."

Verizon Wireless came in a close second.

Topics: Mobility, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Networking, Smartphones, 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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    ?ve been with T-Mobile for a number of years now. The coverage is great here in Chicago. When I?ve used their customer service it?s been a good experience. But really, I rarely have to use them. I love that they use GSM technology. The only knock on them, which would only matter to this site, is their lack of high-end Android phones. They?re changing that now that they?ve brought out the Vibrant, have some HTC coming in late August, and their Project Emerald coming end of the year. (I don?t count the Nexus One as a T-Mobile phone.) Keeping customers happy should always be a company?s #1 goal. I?m surprised coolmangina hasn?t posted his daily t-mobile rant. It?s been awhile, I think I?m starting to miss them.
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