AT&T Not Most Hated Carrier After All

You know all those stories about dropped calls on the iPhone, the lawsuits over picture messaging, and the general love-to-bash-the-network attitude of AT&T Inc. subscribers? Well, despite AT&T having status as an ongoing Twitter trending topic, it is not the nation’s most hated wireless carrier. Turns out, Sprint-Nextel Corp. is.

According to a survey of 12,000 wireless subscribers from JD Powers and Associates, Sprint garnered 704 out of 1,000 customer satisfaction points. That’s against an industry average of 735.

AT&T came in at a still-underperforming 730 points. Leaders were Alltel/Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA, which all tied at 747.

The results were based on the timely resolution of customer care issues when subscribers call, go to a store, or visit the Web. The good news for Sprint is that things are better than they used to be.

Overall for the industry, customers report shorter hold times and improved rates of problem resolution on the first contact, compared with six months ago. The study finds that overall customer care performance is up 12 points from February. Satisfaction improved across all methods of contact, as a result of increased first-contact problem resolution and shorter wait times. More than three-fourths (76%) of calls to customer service are resolved on the first contact, compared with just 66 percent six months ago. In addition, hold times now average 5.55 minutes, compared with 6.58 minutes in February 2009.

What can Sprint and AT&T learn?

“Alltel performs particularly well when contacts are resolved through customer visits to the retail store and automated response systems, while T-Mobile’s strength is in transferring customers from an ARS to a live service representative,” reads the report. “Verizon Wireless performs well with regard to identifying customer problems quickly and resolving them efficiently with service representatives.”

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