Vocalabs Newsletter: Quality Times


In This Issue

Introducing the National Customer Service Survey for Banks

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The National Customer Service Survey (NCSS) is a tracking survey conducted by Vocalabs to measure companies' customer service performance using customer interviews conducted immediately after a service experience. This quarter we are introducing a new sector, consumer banks, for this research product. Our first report covers Bank of America, Chase, Citi, and Wells Fargo.

During the six months ending September 2011 we interviewed 844 people shortly after they completed a phone call to one of the four companies and found that, of these big banks, Bank of America and Wells Fargo had the best phone-based customer service. Even the best of these companies, however, did a less than stellar job resolving customers' issues, with over 30% of even routine calls going unresolved.

Not surprisingly, we found that providing good customer service can be a signfiicant driver of customer loyalty and overall satisfaction with the company. Customers who had their problem resolved were 27 percentage points more likely to be willing to open a new account. Those customers who felt that the customer service respresentative they dealt with was not professional were a whopping 53 percentage points less likely to be loyal.

As with our other National Customer Service Survey products, we will continue to track the banking industry and publish updates on a regular basis.

NCSS Results for Mobile Phones (3Q 2011)

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We also released our results for the National Customer Service Survey covering mobile phone customer service at AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. We publish data on this market quarterly, and our complete data set for this vertical goes back to July 2009.

The biggest change this quarter is a significant decline in customer service quality at Sprint. In 2010 the company had a well-publicized initiative to improve the quality of its customer service, which our survey and others consistently showed to be below the industry norm. That effort paid off, with Sprint ending 2010 at the top of the National Customer Service Survey rankings.

The effort didn't continue into 2011, though, with the dip in Sprint's customer service metrics we noted in the June quarter turning into a significant drop in the three months ending September. In addition to the decline in top-level metrics like call satisfaction and call resolution, we saw slippage in many other statistics like customers reporting more repetitive or irrelevant steps during their calls, and greater difficulty in reaching an agent.

AT&T was the winner this time around, not because of any dramatic long-term improvement at the company (though AT&T's statistics did rebound from the short-term drop we saw in the June quarter). Instead, AT&T managed to hold to its long-term service levels while Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon all dipped. T-Mobile, in particular, saw a substantial decline in customer satisfaction with the automated part of the call, and more customer complaints that the IVR made it hard to reach a person.

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