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Customers Likely to Switch Wireless Companies Without First-Call Resolution

August 01, 2014

It's a fairly wide-known fact in customer service that customers generally like to make one call and have a problem fixed. But a new pair of studies from J.D. Power shows just how important that particular point is for wireless service providers, suggesting that there's a fair chance that customers may switch providers altogether should that first-call resolution not take place.

The studies in question—specifically, the J.D. Power 2014 Wireless Customer Care Full-Service Performance Study SMVolume 2 and the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Wireless Customer Care Non-Contract Performance Study SMVolume 2—were designed to serve as a kind of inside look on how well wireless carriers are offering customer service. The somewhat nebulous measure is made more concrete by focusing on three main channels: the telephone channel, the retail store channel, and the online channel. Telephone is split into three separate subsections, including the automated response system (ARS) alone, the customer service representative (CSR (News - Alert)) alone, and then a combined front of ARS followed by CSR support. The study then went on to measure customer satisfaction with each method, and focused on spotting issues associated with the process, like excessively long hold times or similar matters.

Easily the biggest point taken away from the studies was that, should first-call resolution not occur, the satisfaction for the customer—regardless of the channel—falls through the floor and the thought of switching carriers altogether reportedly more than doubles. The level of overall satisfaction experienced by the users, meanwhile, is 776 out of 1000 for wireless full-service customers, while 717 for non-contract customers, both of which are down from 2013's numbers of 786 for full-service and 732 for non-contract.

More specifically, the satisfaction for those who don't get first-call resolution is 755 out of 1000, compared to 772 who get resolution from a single channel. When it comes to those who have to turn to multiple channels, meanwhile, 40 percent of those customers either “definitely will” or “probably will” make the switch, while only 17 percent feel likewise when a single channel solution is had. Moreover, one contact in four according to the study is from customers continuing to try and resolve a problem on another channel that didn't get resolved on an earlier attempt.

As for overall success, T-Mobile actually came in first with an average of 792, while AT&T brought in second place at 788. The average, meanwhile, was 776, and both Verizon (News - Alert) and Sprint weighed down said average with scores of 772 and 748, respectively. This is particularly unusual considering that T-Mobile and Sprint have been talking merger for some time now; while the combination of the two might bring Sprint (News - Alert)'s numbers up, right now, the average for the two would be 760, or a third-place showing. Of course, T-Mobile might handle customer service itself, which would up the average considerably to 784, putting Verizon in third place.

But the big point here is that first-call resolution is extremely important. The better job a business can do of taking customers' calls and solving the problems contained therein on the first try, the better overall results that means. Fewer customers heading to competitors is generally a good development, and customer service ultimately becomes a facet of operations that can mean the business's long-term survivability.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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