Feature Article

February 07, 2013

Carriers with Data Sharing Plans Fare Better in J.D. Power and Associates Rankings

J.D. Power and Associates has released its semi-annual study of mobile carriers, and has found that carriers with data-sharing plans ranked higher in customer satisfaction over standard carriers.

"The higher levels of satisfaction with shared data plans are partially due to the profile of its customers, particularly the early adopters who changed service offerings once the mobile data share plans were offered," said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. "For example, not only are customers with shared data plans more loyal than those without a shared data plan, but they also have a more positive perception of their carrier, in addition to spending approximately $30 more per household overall."

The highest-ranking carrier was Verizon, with an overall score of 766 out of 1000. MetroPCS was the highest-ranking non-contract carrier, with a score of 733.

Data sharing plans cover multiple devices. They typically feature unlimited talk and text and a pool of data that covered devices can use to access the Internet.

Data sharing carriers scored around 778 on J.D. Power’s 1,000 point scale. The overall satisfaction of customers of standard plans was 750.

The biggest gap between share and non-share plans was in the customer service-only channels, with 826 and 771, respectively.

Customers of shared data plans also rated the knowledge of customer service representatives higher, with a score of 8.3 vs. 7.8 for standard customers on a 10-point scale. Shared data customers also rated the timeliness of their issue resolutions at 8.1, compared to 7.3 for non-shared data plan customers.

Of mobile customers, 51 percent had called customer service representatives in the last six months, compared to 42 percent of non-shared data plans. On the other hand, they spent more time on hold than other customers, with an average of 5.8 minutes as opposed to five minutes for other customers.

"It's not unexpected that customers who change or upgrade to these new mobile data share plans would initially be more likely to contact their carrier with questions or problems, particularly concerning how these service plans may potentially alter usage habits," Parsons said. "It is important to understand that with any major service change, the need for simplicity is paramount. Additional investment is needed in support services to not only handle the increase in the number of customer interactions, but also provide service representatives with the necessary training and information across all contact channels to offer a timely and superior service experience."

Edited by Braden Becker

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