Verizon Tops in Retail Satisfaction, Says JD Power

jdpowrlogo.jpgThe percentage of salespeople who
ask questions or otherwise aid customers in making informed purchase
decisions regarding their wireless service has steadily decreased since
2006, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Wireless Retail
Sales Satisfaction Study-Volume 2 recently release.

Wireless ranks highest in customer satisfaction among major wireless
carrier-owned retail stores with a score of 715 on a 1,000-point scale,
performing well in all four factors that drive satisfaction. Alltel
(710) follows Verizon Wireless in the rankings.

The study also finds the following key retail wireless sales transaction patterns:

  • The
    average wireless retail sales transaction takes approximately 60
    minutes to complete from the time the customer enters the store to the
    time the paperwork is finished and the cell phone is received--an
    increase of four minutes from the last reporting period.
  • Satisfaction
    levels among new wireless customers--those who are switching from
    another carrier or never previously had wireless service--tend to be
    lower than those of existing customers. New customers are more likely
    to be overwhelmed by the breadth of products and services available and
    may be offered plan options and equipment that may not necessarily suit
    their needs. 
  • Retail satisfaction is 15 percent lower among
    customers who report they were pressured during the sales process. The
    average overall satisfaction score when customers report experiencing
    no sales pressure is 722, compared with an average of just 613 when
    customers say they were pressured.

Now in its fifth year, the semi-annual study analyzes evaluations from customers who recently had a wireless retail sales
experience. Overall customer satisfaction with major wireless
carrier-branded stores is based on four factors. In order of
importance, they are: sales staff (51%); store display (17%); store
facility (16%); and price/promotion (16%).

Among the 13
key activities measured in the study that could be performed by a
wireless salesperson to ensure a positive retail experience (such as
greeting the customer or explaining possible extra charges), 10
activities are being performed by salespeople much less frequently in
2008, compared with 2006. For example, the incidence of salespeople
showing or providing customers with a local service area map has
declined to 58 percent, down 16 percent from 2006. Additionally, the
incidence of salespeople explaining the wireless coverage area has
declined to 58 percent, a decrease of 12 percent from 2006.  

change in the wireless industry, including ever-improving products and
services, has made it easy for salespeople to overlook the fundamental
needs of their customers," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of
wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. "
questions about a customer's intended usage and outlining the available
coverage areas and service maps can go a long way toward providing a
satisfying retail experience and building consumer loyalty."

satisfaction with the retail process decreases dramatically when key
activities are not performed or when the appropriate information and
sales materials are not provided. Satisfaction is 130 points lower when
a salesperson doesn't offer to explain a phone's operation and 124
points lower when a salesperson neglects to provide literature about
the service plan.

"Customers who believe their salesperson
was not necessarily acting in a straightforward and honest manner tend
to be significantly less satisfied with their wireless retail sales
experience," said Parsons. "A poor
sales experience is more likely to impact a customer's overall
satisfaction with their wireless provider, making it of the utmost
importance that salespeople fulfill the customer's core needs--such as
leaving the store with an understanding of the services and options
covered in the plan purchased and how to use them.

Volume 2 of the 2008 Wireless Retail Sales Satisfaction Study is based on experiences reported by 6,131 wireless customers who completed a retail sales transaction within the past six months. The study was fielded between February and June 2008. Visit to view customer satisfaction ratings for wireless service and carrier performance, call quality, customer care, retail sales and mobile phone handsets.