Customer care performance scores are higher among wireless customers with additional plan features, according to a new report by J.D. Power and Associates.
Customer care performance score were higher among customers with additional plan features, such as extended handset warranties (770 on a 1,000 point scale, on average) and unlimited calling to a predefined group of people (767), than among customers with base calling plans (699).
Customer care performance score average 749 among customers with unlimited text and photo messaging options included in their plans. Among customers with unlimited data usage, customer care performance scores average 764.
"Additional plan options not only increase overall satisfaction by offering customers access to newer features, but they may also reduce the number and severity of problems customers experience that require contacting the carrier," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates.
"For example, unlimited usage plans may reduce the number of contacts pertaining to overages and incorrect billing, which helps to sustain and improve levels of first-contact problem resolution and wait times. Reducing some of these types of problems allows service representatives to focus on resolving more complicated issues and optimizing their customers' wireless experiences."
The study found that overall customer care performance scores average 739 in 2010, an increase of 13 points during the past year. The improvement is due to increased first-contact resolution and shorter wait times.
Verizon Wireless ranks highest in customer care performance with a score of 753, followed closely by T-Mobile with a score of 752. AT&T ranked below the industry average with a score of 733 followed by Sprint Nextel at 721.
The study also finds several key wireless customer care patterns:
- The rate of customers that report having contacted their carrier's care units has decreased by 3 percent during the past six months, with AT&T and Verizon customers stating particularly low contact rates.
- During the past six months, the number of customer contacts pertaining to credit issues such as overdue balances and credit extensions has increased by 50 percent.
- Sixteen percent of customer phone contacts result from proactive calls or text messages originated by the wireless carrier. This has proven to be an effective way of limiting some potential issues from escalating, as customers who contact their carrier after receiving these communications are more satisfied (751, on average) than customers who do not receive proactive contact from their carrier (738).