Digital, unassisted customer care channels are rapidly becoming the first ports of call for many telecom customers when they experience technical difficulties. That’s a good thing for both providers and customers, according to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Telecom In-Home Service Technician Study,SM released today. The study finds that overall satisfaction is significantly higher among service customers who use provider websites, mobile apps and social media channels to troubleshoot a problem before scheduling a technician visit than among those who use the phone to call in a problem.
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J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Telecom In-Home Service Technician Study (Graphic: Business Wire)
“As consumers continue to grow more adept at working with technology, there is a built-in expectation—particularly among younger people—that many tech issues can be fixed easily with a visit to a website or even a tweet to a social media account,” said Ian Greenblatt, managing director at J.D. Power. “We often say satisfaction is profitable. Providers that understand this and give customers easy access to the tools they need to troubleshoot common issues enjoy higher customer satisfaction, and—importantly—are spending less on customer service phone calls that begin at upwards of $7-$12 per call.”
Following are key findings of the 2020 study:
- Majority of customers troubleshoot on their own: More than two-thirds (69%) of telecom customers attempt to resolve their own technical issues before resorting to scheduling a visit with an in-home service technician. However, those who attempt but fail to resolve their issues before having a technician visit are significantly less satisfied (a decline of 16 points on a 1,000-point satisfaction scale) than those who simply scheduled a technician visit without first trying to troubleshoot.
- Phone rapidly waning as primary source of tech help: The most common means of seeking service is still the phone (75%), but that share is trending down, having dropped from 81% in 2018 and 79% in 2019. By contrast, the current percentages of customers turning to their provider’s website (33%), mobile app (14%) and social media (10%) have trended upwards over the same period. These trends are even more pronounced among younger customers.
- Digital self-service tools drive higher satisfaction: While the phone is still the most commonly used channel for customers in need of technical help, it offers the least satisfying customer experience. Among communication channels, overall satisfaction with phone is 852, compared with provider website (unassisted) at 862; provider website (online chat) at 864; mobile app at 879; and social media at 881.
- Being put on hold is death knell for phone-based scheduling: All told, 68% of service customers who called their provider to schedule in-home service were put on hold during the scheduling process. Among this group, average overall satisfaction is 751 vs. 837 among those who were not put on hold, a gap of 86 points.
DISH Network ranks highest in telecommunications in-home service technician satisfaction for a third consecutive year with a score of 883. Verizon (873) ranks second, reflecting a significant 24-point improvement from 2019. AT&T/DIRECTV (868) ranks third. The industry average is 862.
The 2020 U.S. Telecom In-Home Service Technician Study evaluates customer perceptions of onsite service technician visits for installation and post-install service of residential wireline products, which include high-speed data, phone and TV services. The study is based on six single-attribute factors (in order of importance): quality of work; timeliness of completing work; knowledge of technician; courtesy of technician; professionalism of technician; and scheduling an appointment.
The study was fielded in December 2019-January 2020, for which 4,456 responses were received. To be eligible to participate, respondents needed to have had an in-home telecom service technician visit in the past six months.
For more information about the 2020 U.S. Telecom In-Home Service Technician Study, visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/resource/us-telecom-home-service-technician-study.
To view the online press release, please visit http://www.jdpower.com/pr-id/2020031.
J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. These capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power has offices serving North America, Asia Pacific and Europe.