Customer satisfaction with residential telephone service has increased for a second consecutive time, largely due to gains in satisfaction with the customer service experience, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Residential Telephone Customer Satisfaction Study.
Overall Satisfaction Makes Record 2-Year Gain
Overall satisfaction averages 657 on a 1,000-point scale, an increase of four index points from 2009. Combined with the gains experienced in 2008, overall satisfaction has increased by 22 points from 2008, the largest two-year improvement in the 15-year history of the study.
Customer Service, IVR Drive Improvement
The study measures customer satisfaction with both local and long distance telephone service in four regions throughout the United States. Five factors are examined in determining overall satisfaction. In order of importance, they are: performance and reliability; cost of service; billing; offerings and promotions; and customer service.
Among the five factors driving satisfaction, customer service achieves the largest increase in satisfaction compared with 2009, improving by eight points. This increase is primarily attributable to improvements in customer support systems and processes.
In addition, the study finds that interactive voice response (IVR) first-call resolution scores have improved considerably from 6.46 in 2009 to 6.57 in 2010, with corresponding IVR improvements in the ability to provide clear information and the length of time needed to resolve issues/problems using the system.
Call Center Quality Key to Satisfaction
The study also finds that among those customers who have contacted customer service during the past 12 months, 31% of their overall satisfaction can be attributed to the quality of that customer care interaction. Furthermore, highly satisfied customers, those who rate their experience eight points or higher (on a 10-point scale), have significantly higher overall satisfaction (783 points, on average), compared to both respondents rating their experience seven points or lower (547), and those who had not contacted customer service during the past year (674).
J.D. Power analysis indicates the stated likelihood of customers to switch providers within the next year declines from 13% overall to 7% among those who are highly satisfied with their customer service experience.
Provider Results by Region
East Region: Optimum Voice by Cablevision ranks highest with a score of 689, performing particularly well in customer service, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions. Cox Communications follows in the region with 677, and Windstream ranks third with 671.
South Region: Bright House Networks ranks highest in the region with a score of 724 and performs well in customer service, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions. Following Bright House Networks in the rankings are Cox Communications (701) and Verizon (673).
North Central Region: WideOpenWest (WOW!) ranks highest with 742, performing well in customer service, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions. Cincinnati Bell follows in the region with 696, and TDS Telecom ranks third with 694.
West Region: Cox Communications ranks highest in the region with a score of 693, performing well across all five factors. Time Warner Cable (661) and Qwest (653) follow in the regional rankings.
Single Point of Contact Aids Business Customers
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 another recent study from J.D. Power and Associates.
“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).
About the Data: The 2010 U.S. Residential Telephone Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 24,146 customers nationwide who receive their local and long distance telephone service from one provider. The study was fielded in four waves: November 2009 and January 2010, April 2010 and July 2010. J.D. Power and Associates is publisher of the enclosed charts, which are taken from the study.