According to new research from J.D. Power Associates, the overall purchase satisfaction among customers who visited non-carrier-owned stores (such as Target or Best Buy, as well as independent authorized dealers) has improved by 52 points since 2011. The overall satisfaction rates among customers at non-carrier-owned stores was 792 (on a 1,000-point scale), while the satisfaction rates at carrier-owned stores was 805.
“Overall, the scores are still higher among carrier-owned stores, but the non-carrier stores are catching up,” Kirk Parsons, senior director of the telecommunications services practice at J.D. Power, tells Marketing Daily.
The biggest factor for improvement is better device selection among non-carrier-owned stores, where satisfaction scores saw a 77-point improvement over the three-year period since 2011. “Now they’re getting the latest and greatest offerings as well,” Parsons says.
In addition, more full-service consumers who are looking to upgrade their phone or device are heading to non-carrier-owned stores (24% vs. 19%, respectively), according to the report. “Definitely, consumers are a lot more savvy. They do their homework, and they know what they’re looking for,” Parsons says. “Consumers are already familiar with the service for the carriers. It’s now about getting a brand new device or adding lines.”
The advantage for the company-owned stores comes down to its employees, who tend to be more knowledgable and better-trained than their counterparts at non-company-owned stores, Parsons says. Scores in the sales representative channel were significantly higher (809 vs. 795) for carrier-owned stores.
“[Salespeople] are trained better and with more vigor in carrier-owned stores than in the non-carrier-owned stores,” Parsons says. “That’s the biggest challenge they
have [in closing the gap].”
"Buying Cellphone" photo from Shutterstock.