As average monthly wireless charges increase from 2009, wireless customers indicate they are particularly dissatisfied with the cost of their service, according to a J.D. Power and Associates survey.
The study examines perceptions of wireless customers with their service, mobile phone (for both traditional mobile phones and smartphone devices) and retail experience. Satisfaction is measured across seven factors: cost of service; network quality; account management; customer service; handset; offerings and promotions; and sales process.
The study finds that satisfaction with cost of service averages only 551 on a 1,000-point scale, compared with an average of 648 for overall satisfaction, and is the area of the wireless experience with which customers are least satisfied.
On average, customer-reported monthly bills for contract service have increased to $78 in 2011 from $71 in 2009, partially driven by the increase in penetration of smartphones and data plans. Thirty-nine percent of customers in 2011 report owning a smartphone, up from 25 percent in 2009, while the proportion of customers who report having a data package has increased to 60 percent in 2011 from 15 percent in 2009.
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"As customers move toward more sophisticated phones and data requirements, their monthly costs tend to increase," said Adrian Chung, senior manager at J.D. Power and Associates. "While the dissatisfaction with cost of service is clearly a challenge to wireless providers, it's important to ensure that customers are aware of all the features and benefits included in their wireless plans."
According to Chung, the low satisfaction levels with cost of service have led to increases in switching intent among wireless customers. Seventeen percent of customers who had a wireless sales experience within the past six months report switching carriers. In addition, 28 percent of customers "strongly agree" that they would consider switching to one of the new wireless service providers (including WIND Mobile, Public Mobile and Mobilicity) if its offerings met their needs, up from 21 percent in 2009.
"It's clear that the introduction of new options for wireless customers has impacted their likelihood to switch," said Chung.
Wireless Service Provider Rankings
In the West region, SaskTel ranks highest in customer satisfaction with a score of 678 and performs particularly well in customer service; offerings and promotions; sales process; and network quality. Virgin Mobile (669) and Fido (651) follow in the regional rankings.
Koodo Mobile ranks highest in Ontario with a score of 699, performing particularly well in cost of service. Virgin Mobile follows in the region with 696, and Fido ranks third with 661.
In the East region, Videotron ranks highest in customer satisfaction with a score of 765. Videotron performs particularly well in account management and offerings and promotions. Koodo Mobile (753) and Virgin Mobile (739) follow in the region.
The study also finds the following patterns among wireless customers:
- Text is the feature used most often, with an average of 18.2 messages sent or received in a 48-hour span.
- Web usage (mainly emails) also averages 18.2 messages sent or received in the same time frame.
- Calls account for 11.3 communications, on average, in a 48-hour span.
- Overall network quality averages 11.2 problems per 100 calls (PP100), with customers reporting more problems with mobile web and email (14.8 PP100, on average).
The 2011 Canadian Wireless Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from nearly 15,000 mobile phone users. The study was fielded in November 2010 and February 2011.
Source: Cellular News