Tuesday, April 29, 2008

USA - loyalty from bigger bundles

Despite Higher Costs for Additional Services, Wireless Customers Report Particularly High Levels of Satisfaction with Wireless Plan Upgrades

Wireless customers who subscribe to plans that offer additional services such as in-network calling and unlimited text and picture messaging are typically more satisfied and exhibit greater loyalty than subscribers without unlimited plans, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 U.S. Wireless Contract Regional Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) StudySM–Volume 1 released today.

The study finds that more than 25 percent of current wireless customers purchase plan upgrades, which typically offer unlimited use of text messaging, downloads, and picture and video services for a flat rate. Overall customer satisfaction with wireless carriers is notably higher among these customers, compared with those whose plans have usage limits. On average, unlimited messaging plan customers are 33 percent less likely to switch service providers in the next year compared with limited plan customers.

“Considering that these plans seem to boost overall satisfaction as well as lower switching intent, it’s not unexpected that more carriers have expanded their unlimited service plan options to include flat-rate pricing,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. “Wireless customers who are high-volume users typically benefit the most, as they are more likely to exceed their monthly plan minutes, and unlimited plans solve that issue.”

Wireless carriers also benefit, as typical customers of unlimited messaging upgrades tend to spend almost twice as much on their monthly service than traditional calling plan customers, on average—$92 versus $57, respectively.

The semiannual study measures customer satisfaction based on six key factors that impact overall wireless carrier performance. In order of importance, they are: call quality (32%); brand image (17%); cost of service (14%); service plan options (14%); billing (12%); and customer service (11%). Carriers are ranked across six regions in the United States: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, North Central, Southwest and West.

Verizon Wireless ranks highest in four regions—Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, North Central and West—and performs particularly well in call quality and brand image in each of these regions. T-Mobile ranks highest in the Southwest region, while Alltel ranks highest in the Southeast region.

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