All the time, money and effort wireless companies have been investing in online customer service programs — at least for their highest-value customers — is paying off.
According to J.D. Power’s latest Wireless Purchase Performance studies, satisfaction with the online purchase experience has improved 22 points (on a 1,000-point scale) from earlier this year for customers on long-term contracts.
The increase is significant, particularly considering satisfaction in other channels only showed modest gains (phone user satisfaction, for instance, only improved 9 points, while in-store satisfaction only improved one point), says Kirk Parsons, senior director and technology, media and telecom practice leader at J.D. Power.
“The technology is improving, and a lot of tier one carriers are spending a lot of money these days on web-based customer service,” Parsons tells Marketing Daily. “It takes a while — and costs more — to have customers go through a retail center.”
The story is a little different when it comes to non-contract customers, however. Among that group, overall satisfaction with the online experience declined 7 points from the last study. One reason may be that the larger wireless companies are not dedicating the same resources to the online channel for their non-contract brands, Parsons says.
But in the non-contract world, the online channel simply isn’t used as often. According to the report, only 42% of full-service customers made their purchase in a retail store, compared with 61% of non-contract customers. As more non-contract customers begin using the online channel (and the companies dedicate more resources to it for the non-contract channel), the satisfaction rates will likely increase.
“It’s a different segment, and they’re different customer sets” for non-contract brands, Parsons says. “They’re going to get there. I think it’s possible we’ll see a big jump by even next year.”