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J.D. Power and Associates Reports: A Dedicated Point of Contact is Critical in Delivering a Positive Service Experience


17 May 2006

Verizon Wireless Ranks Highest in Satisfying Business Customers with their Wireless Service.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: — Business wireless users who have an assigned dedicated channel to contact for service issues record significantly higher satisfaction ratings than customers at companies that do not, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Business Wireless Satisfaction StudySM released today.

The study, now in its second year, measures the satisfaction of businesses with their wireless voice and data services across eight key factors (in order of importance): call quality (18%); sales representatives/account executives (14%); customer service (14%); billing (12%); offerings and promotions (11%); performance and reliability (11%); company image (11%); and cost of service (9%).

The study finds that providing a specific point of contact for customer service issues heavily impacts overall satisfaction among businesses of all sizes. Wireless providers that assign business customers a single point of contact record satisfaction levels that are 9 percent higher (63 index points on a 1,000-point scale) than those without a dedicated contact. The advantage of having a dedicated resource is seen across all factors of customer satisfaction, particularly in the factor areas of sales representatives and account executives.

Customers with a single point of contact also experience higher rates of resolution to their problems in the first contact attempt (58% vs. 47%) and are less likely to switch providers. Only 11 percent of business customers assigned a single point of contact say they intend to switch providers in the next year, compared to 18 percent among those without a dedicated contact.

“It is clear from both a revenue and customer loyalty perspective that providing a dedicate resource can immediately provide a positive financial impact to the wireless carrier bottom line,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. “Since future switching levels are significantly higher among customers who do not have a dedicated contact channel, the challenge for wireless providers is to provide access to contact channels that can offer a speedy and efficient response time for their customers.”

Verizon Wireless ranks highest among the five largest wireless providers that serve business companies, with particularly high ratings from business customers for performance and reliability, call quality, company image and customer service. T-Mobile follows Verizon Wireless in the rankings and performs particularly well in the areas of billing, offerings and promotions and cost of service. Other providers included in the study are ALLTEL, Cingular and Sprint Nextel.

The study also finds the following key business wireless usage patterns:

* Nearly 90 percent of businesses surveyed subscribe to a voice-calling plan. This compares to 52 percent of businesses that subscribe to a data plan, which includes the ability to e-mail, text message and Web browse. Other service-related plans include international roaming access (21%), push-to-talk (19%), wireless modem access via phone (19%) and packet services using a PC card (9%).
* On average, businesses have been subscribing to their wireless service carrier for three and one-half years.
* Overall, 46 percent of customers have a dedicated single point of contact with their wireless carrier—a slight drop from 2005 (48%). Among carriers who provide a single point of contact, 74 percent also provide account representatives. Other types of dedicated customer service contacts offered include a special telephone number (19%) and account teams (16%).
* Three in four (75%) of business wireless customers contacted a customer service representative with a question or problem within the past year. Among these contacts, 51 percent report having their problem or inquiry resolved on the first contact—a decrease from 64 percent in 2005.

The 2006 Business Wireless Satisfaction Study is based on responses from wireless service decision makers at more than 2,725 U.S. businesses of all sizes. Interviews were conducted in January and February 2006.

About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction. The firm’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 290 offices in 38 countries. Sales in 2005 were $6.0 billion.


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