Cricket leaps to the top of the list when it comes to stellar, in-store customer service, according to a new 2018 wireless industry consumer study by global customer experience (CX) management company, Market Force Information.
Nearly half (44%) of the over 8,800 consumers who were polled have recently purchased a wireless product from a retail store. As wireless technology becomes more advanced, in-store service takes on a greater importance among consumers, who prefer to have their questions answered and phone features demonstrated in person.
The study cites Cricket as the clear leader across the board, ranking first in nearly every in-store service category, from clearly explaining products and providing information, to taking time with customers and proficiently setting up features.
T-Mobile led in friendliness and ranked among the top three in several other categories.
Other key findings include 34% have visited their carrier’s store in the past 90 days, mainly to purchase a new phone or fix a device. Of those who made a purchase, 65% bought a product recommended to them by an associate
The study also notes that non-contract wireless carriers are continuing to foster high levels of satisfaction and loyalty among consumers, much more so than their Big Four counterparts.
Consumer Cellular nabs top spot
When looking at all of the wireless providers combined, Consumer Cellular ranks as a clear leader on Market Force’s Composite Loyalty Index (CLI) with a score of 71%. Cricket and Straight Talk tied for second place with 56% apiece, and Boost Mobile and T-Mobile tied for third. Meanwhile, Verizon came in a distant seventh, while AT&T and Sprint landed on the bottom of the rankings, according to Market Force Information.
“With its targeting of niche markets such as the over-50 demographic, as well as an intense focus on service to support this customer base, Consumer Cellular has cultivated a highly satisfied and loyal following,” says Brad Christian, chief customer officer for Market Force. “In fact, we’re seeing an overall shift in the market with non-contract carriers earning strong scores from consumers, along with a meaningful number of users switching to pre-paid and pay-as-you-go providers.”
Out of the full-service carriers studied, T-Mobile ranked first again this year on Market Force’s CLI with a score of 46%, a three percentage point gain over 2017. Verizon held steady in second place with a 38% score, a slight improvement over 2017, while AT&T ranked third and Sprint ranked fourth.
Who’s more likely to switch
Market Force also found that 14% of users are considering switching from their current provider in the next year, mainly for a better value, but also for improved network coverage and more flexible plans. Sprint customers are most likely to switch, and Consumer Cellular and U.S. Cellular users are least likely.
Overall, consumers are using the Android operating system (OS) more than Apple’s iOS on their primary wireless phones – 53% compared to 41%. The breakdown is also similar among consumers who consider themselves early adopters, with 51% reporting they use the Android OS vs. 47% using iOS. That’s a different story from 2017 when more self-described early adopters said they primarily use iOS, states the study.