Shorter appointment windows and technicians that are on time resonate best with customers and helped drive satisfaction levels, according to a telecommunications services study by JD Power.
“The more flexible telecom companies can be with offering service windows that work with their customers’ schedules and the more precise they are at hitting those target times, the higher levels of customer satisfaction they can realize,” said Peter Cunningham, Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Practice Lead at J.D. Power in a statement. “Though this may seem like common sense, there are huge performance gaps among the different providers. Those that are getting it right have developed strong skill sets in both managing customer expectations and delivering on them.”
Among telecom providers, Dish Network scored the highest in the study with a score of 885. Charter Communications finished second with 860, followed by AT&T/DIRECTV (859) and Verizon (856). The industry average score was 853.
The 2018 U.S. Telecom In-Home Service Technician Study was fielded in December 2017-January 2018, collecting 3,744 responses. To be eligible to participate, respondents needed to have an in-home telecom service technician visit in the past six months.
According to the study, satisfaction ratings were 49 points higher for customer with service appointment windows of one hour or less than those with a two-hour window. The gap jumped to 104 points when customers were given a four-hour window, JD Power said.
Punctuality was important as well. Overall satisfaction for customers whose tech showed up on time was 871. That score dropped to 819 when techs arrived early and to 683 when they showed up late. The survey found that although service providers have placed a huge emphasis on timeliness, 12% of techs arrived outside of their service window (7% were late and 5% were early). And among the techs that were late, 20% were at least two days late.
Customers also complained of issues not being fixed the first time around – 26% said their service problems were not corrected on the first visit. Overall satisfaction scores are 112 points higher when the issues are fixed the first time. And providers should take note: JD Power found that customers who have to endure multiple service visits to fix an issue are more than twice as likely to say they “definitely will” or “probably will” switch providers than those whose issues are fixed during the first technician visit.
Customers also like to be in the loop during service calls – those who were contacted prior to the arrival of the tech were 138 points higher than those that weren’t contacted. Convenience also goes a long way. Satisfaction was much higher among customers who used a digital channel—such as website unassisted (834)—to schedule an appointment than among those who used a phone (761).