Verizon, Sprint tops in wireless customer service, survey says

Verizon and Sprint topped AT&T and T-Mobile in phone-based customer service in the previous three months, according to a new study.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

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.

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