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Posted May 10 , 2013

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Communication Market

J.D. Power & Associates Reports: Satisfaction Is Highest among Wireless Customers Who Use Their Carriers' Online Service and Sales Channels

SaskTel and Koodo Mobile Rank Highest in Wireless Customer Satisfaction For a Second Consecutive Year

Key Findings

• The average reported wireless monthly phone bill is $77, an increase of $9 from 2012.
• Among the 49 percent of customers with a data package, the average monthly spend is $86 vs. $65 among the 51 percent who do not have a data package.
• One-half of full-service customers with a smartphone use a mobile application to contact/monitor their carrier regarding service issues.
• Smartphone market penetration increases to 63 percentage points in 2013, up by 9 percentage points from 2012.

TORONTO - For the first time, satisfaction is notably higher among wireless customers who use online self-service channels for both service and sales issues than among those who use the traditional call centres and in-store channels, according to the J.D Power & Associates 2013 Canadian Wireless Total Ownership Experience StudySM released yesterday.

The study examines wireless customer perceptions of their service; mobile phone (for both traditional mobile phones and smartphone devices); and retail experiences. Satisfaction is measured in seven factors: network quality; cost of service; account management; offerings and promotions; customer service; handset; and sales process. Carriers are ranked in two segments, full-service and stand-alone, which are differentiated by the range of products and services offered, as well as the ability of customers to bundle wireless services with other offerings.

The study finds that satisfaction with the purchase experience is higher among wireless customers who use their carrier's online self-service options than among those who use the traditional call centre service and in-store customer care options. Overall customer satisfaction with the online sales experience is 737 (on a 1,000-point scale), a 46-point increase from 2012, while satisfaction with online customer care is 699, which is a 14-point improvement from 2012. Among customers who choose online self-service, 34 percent use their carrier's online chat feature, a 9-percentage-point increase from 2012.

"We see a sizable shift in behaviour, with customers opting to use online self-service tools to address issues with their services or device, and overall satisfaction is highest when customers use their carrier's online chat function," said Adrian Chung, account director at J.D. Power & Associates. "It's important for wireless carriers to continue focusing on improving their website's functionality in order for customers to benefit from the convenience and timeliness of this service option, which is not only a more cost-effective way for carriers to interact with their customers, but also creates a more positive experience when a problem is encountered."

Overall satisfaction improves by 6 index points to 691 in 2013 from 685 in 2012. This increase is primarily due to increases in sales process satisfaction. In the full-service carrier segment, overall satisfaction in 2013 averages 680, compared with 678 in 2012. In the stand-alone segment, satisfaction averages 730, compared with 718 in 2012. Among stand-alone carriers, the 2013 study includes WIND Mobile, Public Mobile and Mobilicity for the first time.

Smartphone Market Penetration

While the incidence of smartphone use in 2013 has increased by 9 percentage points year over year and by 24 percentage points since 2011, the gap in customer satisfaction scores among smartphone manufacturers is narrowing.

Among smartphone owners, the devices most frequently used are manufactured by Apple (31%), Samsung (22%) and BlackBerry1 (22%).

"Customers own Apple iPhones more than any other manufacturer's device; however, the gap in device satisfaction is narrowing," said Chung. "We expect this trend to continue as newly introduced devices from Samsung and BlackBerry grow in market share."

Wireless Carrier Rankings

For a second consecutive year, SaskTel ranks highest in customer satisfaction among full-service carriers, with a score of 712, which is a 13-point improvement from 2012. SaskTel performs particularly well in the offerings and promotions; customer service; and sales process factors. Telus Mobility (699) follows SaskTel in the full-service segment rankings.

Among stand-alone carriers, Koodo Mobile ranks highest in customer satisfaction for a second consecutive year, with a score of 765, improving by 13 points from 2012. Koodo Mobile performs particularly well in offerings and promotions; network quality; and account management. Virgin Mobile (744) follows Koodo Mobile in the stand-alone segment rankings.

The 2013 study also finds that, on average, wireless customers:

• 49 percent of customers report having data packages with an average monthly spend of $86.
• 51 percent of customers who do not have a data package report an average spend of $65 per month.
• Customers connect to the mobile Web an average of eight times per day and check mobile email an average of 11 times daily.
• Customers also send and receive 30 texts in a 48-hour span, on average, compared with 26 in 2012.

The 2013 Canadian Wireless Total Ownership Experience Study is based on responses from 13,300 mobile phone customers. The study was fielded in September 2012 and March 2013.

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