Perceived Advantages in Customer Care and Sales Force Drive Satisfaction Among Mobile Broadband SMB Customers

Small/medium business segment customers with mobile broadband connections in the U.S. are more satisfied with their wireless service overall than are customers without broadband connections, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Business Wireless Satisfaction Study.

The J.D. Powerstudy measures the overall satisfaction of home-based business customers (companies with between one and five employees, and based in a residence) and small/medium segment business customers (companies with between two and 499 employees) with their wireless voice and data services across six key factors.

According to the J.D Power study, small/medium segment business customers with access to high-speed mobile broadband connections are more satisfied with their wireless service, on average, compared with those who do not have broadband connections. Satisfaction among small/medium segment mobile broadband customers averages 682 on a 1,000-point scale, compared with 643 among non-broadband users.

The difference is driven by satisfaction with customer service, sales representatives/account executives, and offerings and promotion suggesting that wireless providers excel at offering incentives and are providing a variety of wireless plans to meet the business needs of their customers. In contrast, the home-based business customer segment also shows differences, but not to the degree of customers in the small/medium business customer segment.

Clearly, there is a service advantage to offering mobile broadband capabilities to business customers, especially considering their need to be productive while traveling,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates.

Being able to meet or exceed service expectations among these customers””knowing that they pay a premium price to access data at higher speeds””is critical, and having customer touch points such as care and sales representatives that cater specifically to these needs is key. This scenario is even more critical for larger businesses that have hundreds of field or sales representatives that depend on quick and dependable mobile connections to conduct day-to-day activities,” Parsons added.

Another factor that influences satisfaction performance is having a single point of contact for sales and service issues. Small/medium segment business customers are more likely to have a dedicated sales representative to deal with sales and customer service issues, which tends to lead to higher levels of overall customer satisfaction.

According to the study, the average reported monthly cost among home-based customers is $81 for wireless voice service and $31 for data service. Companies in the small/medium segment report a much higher average monthly bill amount: $536 for voice service and $297 for data service.

Overall, 51 percent of business decision-makers report that they currently subscribe to mobile broadband service. The incidence is higher among small/medium segment businesses, compared with home-based businesses (62 percent vs. 46 percent, respectively).

Slightly more than one-third (38 percent) of business wireless customers say they contacted a customer service representative with a question or problem within the past six months. Among these customers, 42 percent report contacting their provider due to inquiries regarding product/service plans, while 26 percent say they had issues with phone equipment malfunctions or needed replacements.

The 2011 U.S. Business Wireless Satisfaction Study is based on responses from wireless service decision-makers at more than 3,172 U.S. businesses. The study was fielded between November 2010 and February 2011.

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