Carriers earn higher marks on purchase experience

Woman on phone at call center
U.S. wireless carriers have all improved upon the purchase experience, particularly with phone representatives, according to J.D. Power. (Getty/Wavebreakmedia)

The nation’s wireless carriers got a Valentine’s Day gift from J.D. Power on Thursday. A new study found that customer satisfaction with the wireless purchase experience has increased across all sales channels. The largest improvement occurred with phone sales representatives, according to the firm.

The average score on wireless purchase experiences among the Big Four wireless carriers was 841 on a 1,000-point scale, according to J.D. Power. The 2019 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Full-Service Performance Study ranked T-Mobile at the top of the pack with a score of 854.

AT&T nabbed second place with a score of 846, followed by Verizon at 837 and Sprint with a score of 815.

Prepaid wireless carriers earned an average score of 849 on the 1,000-point scale and were ranked in similar order based on their respective owners. Metro by T-Mobile ranked highest with a score of 857. AT&T-owned Cricket Wireless came in second with a score of 851. The pair of prepaid providers owned by Sprint, Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile, earned scores of 848 and 832, respectively.

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The rankings underline at least one area that could cause problems for T-Mobile if it’s proposed merger with Sprint is approved. Combining the best and worst, according to J.D. Power, will likely impact T-Mobile’s ability to stay on top in an area of great importance to the carrier.

T-Mobile reveled in the results and said it’s made “significant investments over the past year in retail and care” to rank highest for the fourth time in J.D. Power’s annual study. The firm evaluates the wireless purchase experience of customers who engage with carriers on the phone, in a retail store or online. Six factors—store sales representatives, website, phone sales representatives, promotions, store facility and cost of service—were measured during the second half of 2018.

“Wireless customers calling carriers’ sales representatives have purchase intent,” Ian Greenblatt, managing director at J.D. Power, said in a prepared statement. “Having knowledgeable reps and decreased hold times has a real measurable effect on both satisfaction and sales made. If these companies can maintain a focus on customer care, satisfaction can only continue to improve.”