Despite some concerns that customers might resent being on shared data plans, consumers who are on the plans are more satisfied with their customer service than those who are not on the plans.
According to research from J.D. Power and Associates, which measured wireless companies’ customer service through three contact channels (telephone, walk-in/retail stores and online), overall satisfaction among customers who subscribe to a data share plan was 778 (on a 1,000-point scale), compared with 750 among those who subscribe to a more traditional data plan.
“All in all, it’s turned out well,” Kirk Parsons, director of wireless services at J.D. Power, tells Marketing Daily. “They’re reinventing the wheel about how [customers] think about data. Before, it had been about individual usage. Now they’re thinking about it as a group dynamic.”
Among full-service carriers, Verizon had the highest customer care rankings with an overall score of 766. AT&T followed with a score of 759, while Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile rounded out the list with scores of 746 and 715, respectively. Among non-contract carriers, MetroPCS topped the list with a score of 733, followed by Virgin Mobile (729) and TracFone (729).
These satisfaction rates may be as much about the customer as they are about the telecommunications company, Parsons says. Many of the customers who switched to the shared data plans are early adopters who may have already had some higher affinity to their wireless providers than those who came to the plans later.
“They feel they’re getting a great deal,” Parsons says. “Those who’ve made the plunge and gone over -- they’ve become more satisfied.”
The wireless carriers, however, still have to follow through on customer service for these customers, Parsons points out, and they seem to be doing a good job. Among full-service customers, those with mobile data plans contact their carrier more often than those who don’t have sharing plans (51% vs. 42%), according to the study. And even though these customers also spend more time on hold than those without shared data plans, they still come away more satisfied.