updated 11:45 am EST, Thu February 4, 2010
JD Power says AT&T still has below avg service
Verizon and T-Mobile are still in a dead heat for the lead in customer help in the US, JD Power said today in its latest study of US carriers. The group gave Verizon a one point lead over its rival with a score of 753 in its ability to serve customers over the phone, in person and online. The two are the only ones to have received a full five star rating thanks to their speed and ability to solve problems the first time.
The research notes that the industry average has moved up 13 points to 739 but that the two other major carriers still trail behind as a result: AT&T scored 733, while Sprint continues to lag slightly at 721. About 77 percent of calls were taken care of the first time versus 66 percent in last year's overall study.
JD Power's findings also point out differences between different customers. Although those users with unlimited data or other extra services were more likely to give a higher score (764 to 770), smartphone owners were much more likely to have called about a problem, with 49 percent having reached out over the past 6 months versus 40 percent for regular phones. Those advanced customers also typically took 3 minutes longer to help at a physical store than their regular counterparts and were slightly less likely (74 percent versus 77) to get a solution on the first try.
Verizon and T-Mobile together have had reputations for better-than-usual customer help but have also been backed by relatively reliable networks, although T-Mobile late last year was rocked by a weeks-long Sidekick data outage. AT&T's 3G network congestion issues and Sprint's still-in-progress reworking of its support system have likely held the two carriers back.