By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Westlake Village, Ill. — Consumer satisfaction with their cellular purchase experience through carrier-direct channels rose among all four national contract carriers in the first half compared with the second half of 2012, a J.D. Power survey found.
AT&T’s customer satisfaction rose the most, putting the carrier in the top spot for the first time in the survey’s 10-year history.
The survey also found overall purchase-experience improvement among non-contract service providers compared with the second half of 2012, with Boost Mobile remaining in the top.
Among the four national contract carriers, AT&T rose from the No. 3 spot in the second half of 2012 to first place with a score of 798 out of 1,000 (see charts). AT&T knocked out Sprint for first place, with Sprint falling to third place with a score of 793 points compared with a previous 778.
Verizon Wireless stayed in second place with 795 points compared with a previous 764. And T-Mobile remained in last place with 784 points vs. a previous 753.
Overall customer satisfaction with a purchase from one of the four carriers rose to 795 points from a previous 764.
Among the seven non-contract carriers in the survey, MetroPCS remained in second place (see charts). TracFone rocketed to third place from fifth, Virgin Mobile fell to fourth place from third, Cricket rose to fifth place from sixth, Straight Talk fell to sixth place from fourth, and Net 10 remained in last place.
Overall satisfaction with the purchasing experience from non-contract providers rose to 789 points from 755 points.
The semiannual studies evaluate the wireless purchase experience based on a consumer’s use of any one of three contact channels: phone calls with sales representatives, visits to a retail wireless store, or online. Overall customer satisfaction is based on the following six factors in order of importance: store sales representative, website, phone sales representative, store facility, offerings and promotions, and cost of service.
Satisfaction increased in all six measures, including in cost of service from contract and no-contract providers. J.D. Power said the improvement was due in part to the value customers perceive when purchasing a cellphone. The company said the growing availability of 4G devices coupled with “the very aggressive price structures and promotions offered to encourage customers to upgrade” boosted satisfaction in this measure.
Online sales transactions also contributed to the overall increase in purchase experience satisfaction. “Timeliness of completing the transaction and ease of placing orders or making changes to current service plans are the primary reasons for the increase,” the company said.
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