Vocalabs Newsletter: Quality Times

Issue
20

In This Issue:


SectorPulse Financial Services

By Peter Leppik
pleppik@vocalabs.com

We've launched our new Financial Services SectorPulse report with coverage of four large banks: Bank of America, Citibank, Washington Mutual, and Wells Fargo. Of these four companies, Wells Fargo had the best customer service, though it only earned "C" grades for Caller Satisfaction and Call Completion.

SectorPulse Financial Services reports will be published quarterly with additional companies covered in future reports.

 

 

We will be continuing SectorPulse coverage of the financial service industry, and we expect to be publishing new reports quarterly. We plan to add additional companies, as well as coverage of some nontraditional financial services companies like online payment services. Grades for all four companies were:

* Bank of America earned a "C" for Caller Satisfaction and a "D" for Call Completion.
* Citibank earned "D" grades for both Caller Satisfaction and Call Completion.
* Washington Mutual earned a "C" for Caller Satisfaction and a "D" for Call Completion.
* Wells Fargo earned "D" grades for both Caller Satisfaction and Call Completion

 

Financial Services Satisfaction

VocaLabs' Raw Satisfaction Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of "Dissatisfied" callers from the percentage of "Very Satisfied" callers.

 

 

In addition to the letter grade benchmarks, we also compiled statistics for Automation Rate, Caller Frustration, Average Call Time, and Customer Loyalty. These statistics revealed significant differences in the performance of the four companies.

We measure Automation Rate as the percentage of callers who both reported that they were able to complete their transaction, and who did not feel they needed to speak with an agent. Multiple calls by a single person are counted as a single transaction. This method of calculating automation rate provides an accurate measurement in cases where callers have to try again, or when callers give up because they can't reach an agent.

Citibank, Washington Mutual, and Wells Fargo all had automation rates between 45% and 48%, which is a statistical tie. Bank of America was somewhat lower at 39% automation.

Caller Frustration is a measure of how difficult it is for a caller to reach a live agent when necessary. It is calculated as the percentage of callers who felt it was difficult or impossible to reach an agent, excluding callers who felt they did not need to talk to a person. Washington Mutual posted the lowest Caller Frustration rate at 16%, while Wells Fargo was at 22%, Bank of America posted 25%, and Citibank was the highest at 31%. We have found that low Caller Frustration often correlates to high Caller Satisfaction.

Average Call Time ranged from 3.5 minutes at Citibank to 4.5 minutes at Bank of America, with Wells Fargo at 3.8 minutes and Washington Mutual at 4.4 minutes. When callers make multiple calls for the same task we add the call times together for this statistic to reflect the total resources spent handling each caller.

Finally, Customer Loyalty is based on callers' intention to move one or more accounts to a different institution in the next 12 months. Citibank fared the worst on this measure, with the average customer indicating an intention to move an account in the next year away from Citibank. Washington Mutual had the most loyal customers, with Wells Fargo in second place, and Bank of America in third place.

The Executive Summary for the SectorPulse Financial Services report is available free of charge from Rick Rappe, rrappe@vocalabs.com. Future reports will be available by subscription or single-copy purchase.


SectorPulse Mobile Phones

By Peter Leppik
pleppik@vocalabs.com
Mobile Phone Satisfaction History

Mobile Phone Satisfaction History

We have issued our seventh quarterly report on customer service quality at the largest mobile phone companies in the U.S. For several quarters running, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile have been neck-and-neck for the best overall customer service, and in the quarter ended March 31st, Verizon Wireless pulled ahead.

Verizon Wireless earned an "A" for Caller Satisfaction, and a "B" for Call Completion. T-Mobile earned "B" grades for both Caller Satisfaction and Call Completion. Other grades in this report were:

* AT&T Wireless earned "D" grades for both Caller Satisfaction and Call Completion. We continue to evaluate AT&T Wireless separately from Cingular as the two entities still have significantly different service levels.
* Cingular scored "C" grades in both Caller Satisfaction and Call Completion.
* SprintPCS earned a "C" in Caller Satisfaction and a "D" in Call Completion.

T-Mobile and Verizon also had the highest rates of call automation, at 49% for both companies, and significantly lower frustration rates than the other three companies, at 13% to 15% as compared to 30% to 33% for the other three companies.

If you are interested in purchasing the Executive Summary or complete data for this report, contact Rick Rappe at rrappe@vocalabs.com.


SectorPulse Airlines

By Peter Leppik
pleppik@vocalabs.com
Airline Satisfaction

Airline Satisfaction

Our third semiannual SectorPulse Airlines report has been issues and shows Southwest Airlines still in the lead for best customer service. In the six months ending March 31st, Southwest earned "A" grades for both Caller Satisfaction and Call Completion. Continental was not far behind, also earning "A's" for both benchmarks. The six other airlines included in this report were:

* American Airlines, which earned "B" grades for both Caller Satisfaction and Call Completion.
* Delta Air Lines scored "C's" for Caller Satisfaction and Call Completion.
* JetBlue scored an "A" for Caller Satisfaction and a "B" for Call Completion.
* Northwest Airlines earned "B" grades for both Caller Satisfaction and Call Completion.
* United Airlines earned a "B" in Caller Satisfaction and an "A" in Call Completion.
* US Airways scored "D's" in both Caller Satisfaction and Call Completion.

In addition to having the best overall customer service, Southwest continues its practice of not automating customer calls. In the other seven airlines, automation rates ranged from 19% at JetBlue up to 43% at US Air. Frustration rates varied from 1% at Southwest up to 37% at US Air.

The Executive Summary and complete data for this report are available by subscription or for one-time purchase. For more information, please contact Rick Rappe at rrappe@vocalabs.com.


Satisfaction Disconnect

By Rick Rappe
rrappe@vocalabs.com

I recently reported on a study which found that nearly 2/3 of call center workers believe their customers are "highly satisfied" while only 22% of their customers rated themselves that way.

What a disconnect!

That same Call Center Magazine study reports only 17% of users of e-mail and Web contacts say they are "highly satisfied" while a whopping 40% came away "not very satisfied".

The very latest data suggests that callers are returning to the phone (92% of contacts today versus 85% two years ago).

Why the trend back to the phone? There may be several reasons. But the data is telling us that if you're spending more dollars on Web based contacts versus the telephone, perhaps you should revisit your priorities.

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