Vocalabs Newsletter: Quality Times


In This Issue:

SectorPulse Mobile Phones

Mobile Phones Satisfaction

Mobile Phones Satisfaction

This is our seventh publication of customer care performance of the five largest U.S. mobile phone companies in which we track performance in seven categories: Caller Satisfaction, Single Call Completion, Call Automation Rates, Caller Frustration, Call Length, Loyalty Index (pre call) and Loyalty Shift (post call). We gather our data from our panel of over 90,000 consumers, tracking their experiences when they call their mobile phone company.

While there have been some shifts over time, Verizon and T-Mobile have historically provided the best customer service among the five companies, consistently performing above average compared to our benchmark database in caller satisfaction and single call task completion. Cingular has shown significant improvements. The company has improved its satisfaction scores over several previous quarters while increasing the number of calls handled by automation, and at the same time cutting its caller frustration rate.
Mobile Phones Completion

There is no correlation between higher automation rates and lower satisfaction, but making it hard to reach an agent clearly makes callers less happy.



SprintPCS, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all have similar automation rates between 50% and 53%, but 25% of Sprint callers reported that it was hard to reach an agent, as compared to only 14% of T-Mobile customers and 10% of Verizon customers.

This is consistent with our earlier research, which shows that making it hard for callers to reach a human doesn't generally increase the number of customer interactions handled through automated self-service. This common money-saving strategy not only doesn't actually save any money, but it also tends to make callers less satisfied with the overall experience as they often have to hang up and call back to get around roadblocks.

Benchmark grades for the five companies were as follows:

* Verizon was the only carrier to earn an "A" in Satisfaction, but dropped to a "C" in Completion since our last report.
* T-Mobile remained consistent with "B"s in both categories.
* Cingular improved from a "C" to a "B" in Satisfaction remaining at "C" in Completion.
* AT&T moved up to a "C" in both categories.
* Sprint stayed the same with a "C" in Satisfaction and a "D" in Completion.

As wireless service for many has shifted from a convenience or novelty into a necessity, customer service has become an easy target for caller dissatisfaction. Yet the best performers provide customer care as well or better than typical companies in other industries.

That is not a ringing endorsement since most customer service could be better. But if a company's attention is other than on the customer (for example, AT&T Wireless is being absorbed by Cingular and Sprint-Nextel have just announced a merger), it shows in many ways including poor customer loyalty and higher customer dissatisfaction.

For more detail on this SectorPulse report, including the Executive Summary and raw data, contact Rick Rappe' at 952-941-6580x205 or rrappe@vocalabs.com.

Guinea Pigs Needed

VocaLabs is developing a new call center quality measurement service which combines the benefits of several existing survey methods, while avoiding many of the shortcomings. We're looking for a few companies interested in helping us refine this new service and perform technical tests.

We need companies with some sort of inbound customer service operation, either live-agent based or automated.

In exchange for helping us fine-tune the design and perform technical tests, you'll have all the caller feedback and recordings we gather from your call center. As with all VocaLabs services, the data we collect will be strictly confidential.

If you're interested in participating, call me at 952-941-6580x201, or send e-mail to pleppik@vocalabs.com, and I'll provide more details.

Upcoming Events

If you're planning to be at either of these upcoming industry events, please stop by and see us:

* August 1-4, New York City: SpeechTEK
* September 19-21, Seattle: Automated Call Center Expo

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