Assigning business telephone customers a single point of contact for account services may result in a lift in overall satisfaction with landline voice telephone service providers, according to a new study from J.D. Power and Associates.
Single Point of Contact Raises Customer Satisfaction
“2010 U.S. Major Provider Business Telecommunications Study – Voice Services” indicates satisfaction among business customers who have a dedicated single point of contact is higher than among customers without a single point of contact. This is true across three major business size segments: home-based (based in a residential location with one to five employees), small/midsize (two to 499 employees) and large enterprise (500 or more employees).
The disparity on a 1,000-point scale is particularly notable among small/midsize business customers and large enterprise business customers, who are more likely to be assigned a single point of contact for their accounts, compared with customers in home-based businesses.
In the small/midsize segment, customers with a single point of contact report an average satisfaction score of 693, 95 points higher than the average 598 score for customers in this segment without a single point of contact.
Similarly, in the large enterprise segment, customers with a single point of contact report an average satisfaction score of 693, 83 points higher than the average 610 score for those without a single point of contact.
Home-based customers report lower average satisfaction scores with (671) and without (627) a single point of contact, but the disparity is only 44 points.
Problem Resolution Increases with Single Point of Contact
The study finds that business customers with a single point of contact have higher rates of problem resolution than customers who are not provided with a dedicated contact. In all three segments, problem resolution rates average approximately 90 percent among customers with a single point of contact.
For customers without a dedicated contact, problem resolution rates average between 74 and 83%. In addition, assigning a dedicated contact to a business account may also reduce the likelihood of customers to switch providers.
Optimum Business, Verizon, AT&T Satisfy Customers
Optimum Business ranks highest in the small/midsize business segment with a score of 678 on a 1,000-point scale and performs particularly well in four factors: billing; cost of service; sales representatives and account executives; and customer service. AT&T follows Optimum Business in the segment rankings with a score of 654, while Qwest ranks third with 647.
In the home-based business segment, Verizon ranks highest with a score of 645 and performs particularly well in cost of service; offerings and promotions; and performance and reliability. Time Warner Cable (644) and AT&T (635) follow in the segment rankings.
AT&T ranks highest in the large enterprise business segment with a score of 687 and performs particularly well in four factors: performance and reliability; sales representatives/account executives; billing; and cost of service.
Higher-ranked Companies Have More Committed Following
The study finds that highly ranked providers have a more committed following across all segments of their business voice customers. More than 43% of the customers of these higher-ranked providers consider themselves to be strongly or somewhat committed, compared with 31% of customers of providers with average satisfaction scores and nearly 22% of customers of providers that perform below the industry average.
The financial impact of commitment is that only 2% of committed customers say they are definitely or probably likely to switch providers in the next 12 months, compared with 21% of customers who say they are neutral or non-committed.
Excellent Customer Service Boosts Spending
In another indication that providing superior customer service pays off financially, Americans will spend 9% more with companies that provide excellent customer service, according to recent data from American Express.
A majority of Americans report that quality customer service is more important to them in today’s economic environment (61%) and will spend an average of 9% more when they believe a company provides excellent service.
Not surprisingly, nine in ten Americans (91%) consider the level of customer service important when deciding to do business with a company. But only one-quarter (24%) believe companies value their business and will go the extra mile to keep it.