Vocalabs Newsletter: Quality Times


In This Issue:

Introducing SectorPulse Airlines

By Peter Leppik

VocaLabs published its first SectorPulse report on the airline industry, comparing the quality of the customer service at eight airlines, based on data gathered between February 10th and March 31st of 2004.

The airlines in this report are American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, Northwest, Southwest, United, and USAir. VocaLabs will be publishing quarterly SectorPulse reports on the airline industry.

Our Findings

Airline Satisfaction Graph

VocaLabs panelists who needed to call customer service at one of the eight airlines were asked to complete a survey before calling customer service, have their calls recorded, and complete a second survey after the call.

Based on this data, we found that American had the best overall service, earning an "A" in Call Completion, and a "B" in Caller Satisfaction. JetBlue had the highest Caller Satisfaction level, also earning a "B." None of the airlines earned an "A" for Caller Satisfaction.

Airline Completion Graph

Single Call Completion in the airline industry ranged from outstanding at American, to very poor at Delta and Southwest. Single Call Completion measures the percentage of callers who manage to do what they needed to do in a single call, without having to call back.

American and United had the highest automation rates, while USAir had the highest caller frustration rate. JetBlue managed an average call time of under two minutes, with Southwest only a little longer.

We measured customer loyalty both before and after the call. USAir recorded a sharp drop-off in loyalty as a result of its customer service. The drop in loyalty at USAir is the equivalent of 16% of people calling its customer service changing from having no airline preference to having a preference for some other airline.

Finally, while we didn't specifically ask study participants about language problems, we did get a number of complaints about foreign accents when calling Delta. No other airline had even a single complaint about agent language skills. This could be one cause for the low call completion and satisfaction scores at Delta.

As with the Mobile Phone industry, we will be publishing reports on the Airline industry quarterly.

SectorPulse Mobile II

By Peter Leppik

VocaLabs has also published its second SectorPulse report on the mobile phone industry, covering AT&T Wireless, Cingular, SprintPCS, and Verizon Wireless. This report includes data gathered between February 10th and March 31st 2004 from customers of each of the four companies.

Wireless Satisfaction Graph

Once again, Verizon Wireless had significantly better customer service than the other three companies. Verizon Wireless earned an "A" for Caller Satisfaction, and a "B" for Call Completion. None of the other three companies earned better than a "C" in either benchmark.

Wireless Loyalty Graph

The only company to improve its Caller Satisfaction score from the last report was AT&T Wireless. Cingular, SprintPCS, and Verizon Wireless all saw their Satisfactions scores decline.

We measured customer loyalty both before and after the participant's call to customer service. Verizon Wireless was the only one of the four companies to increase customer loyalty as a result of its customer service operations, and Verizon customers had a high level of loyalty before the call began.

In the next quarterly report on the mobile phone industry, we intend to add data for T-Mobile and Nextel. AT&T Wireless is in the process of being acquired by Cingular, and we will continue to gather data on AT&T Wireless until the two operations have been integrated.

SectorPulse Methodology

By Peter Leppik

VocaLabs has a pool of over 60,000 individuals in the United States and Canada, many of whom are customers of the companies covered in SectorPulse reports.

We ask our panelists who are customers of one of the covered companies to participate in our SectorPulse research when they have a need to call customer service.

Each participant first completes a survey about his or her attitudes towards the company and the reason for calling customer service.

Then he or she calls the company through VocaLabs. We identify the person using a PIN number, and switch the call through to the company's published customer service number.

We record the call, and then ask the participant to complete a questionnaire about the experience afterwards.

Call statistics, combined with data on callers' opinions, allow us to measure the performance of the companies' customer service operations. Data in this newsletter is based on call statistics and callers' responses to survey questions. Complete SectorPulse raw data and executive summaries are available by subscription from VocaLabs.

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