YOU ARE AT:Archived ArticlesBELLS RECEIVE BETTER REPORT CARD IN SATISFYING CELLULAR CUSTOMERS

BELLS RECEIVE BETTER REPORT CARD IN SATISFYING CELLULAR CUSTOMERS

In an initial study of customer satisfaction among cellular telephone service consumers, J.D. Power and Associates found that local Bell telephone companies achieved higher satisfaction rankings than their nonwireline rivals in most of the eight markets covered in the study.

The “1995 J.D. Power and Associates Cellular Satisfaction Study” is based on interviews with more than 3,400 cellular subscribers in eight of the top 15 markets, the company said. In each market, consumers evaluated their carrier on 26 specific attributes related to customer satisfaction. These 26 attributes were grouped into seven major factors and weighted as to relative importance to overall satisfaction.

Ameritech Cellular Services ranked highest in Chicago and Detroit, BellSouth Cellular Corp. in Miami and Atlanta, and U S West Cellular in Minneapolis and Seattle. AirTouch Communications Inc. got the nod in San Diego while its joint venture with AT&T Wireless Services was ranked highest in the San Francisco market.

“In an industry where the duopoly structure soon will be replaced by increasing competition from national carriers, including personal communications service providers, it will be critical for cellular carriers to listen to the `voice of the customer’ to distinguish themselves and achieve their strategic and marketing goals,” said Zaiba Nanji, group director of telecommunications services.

The market research firm believes the higher satisfaction rankings achieved by the Bell companies are due not only to strong performances across all areas evaluated, but also because they benefit from a positive corporate image from their affiliation as a local telephone company.

J.D. Power noted that customers were not equally satisfied across all markets studied. For example, customers in Minneapolis were most satisfied with their cellular carrier while carriers in San Francisco were least able to meet customer expectations, the company said.

The study also found that more than one in four households with incomes greater than $30,000 had a cellular phone. Usage among these households was highest in Chicago and lowest in San Francisco.

And while cellular telephone service initially was used almost exclusively for business purposes, the study revealed that almost two-thirds of the market now is acquiring cellular phones for personal reasons including safety concerns or to keep in touch with family and friends.

Incredibly, J.D. Power researchers found that nearly nine in 10 cellular users have switched carriers at least once within the past five years. Almost half of those who have switched are either less satisfied or no more satisfied with their current carrier. High volume users-those who spend $75 or more per month on cellular service-are three times as likely to switch carriers within the next 12 months than light users, the company said.

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