AT&T Takes Another JD Power Award, T-Mobile Still Has Work To Do

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 10.17.22 AM

T-Mobile still has plenty of work to do according to a new JD Power award that once again shows the carrier bringing up the rear in Volume 2 of the Wireless Purchase Experience. The semi-annual study evaluates “the wireless purchase experience of customers using any one of three contact channels: phone calls with sales representatives; visits to a retail wireless store; or online. Overall customer satisfaction with both full-service and non-contract branded carriers is based on six factors (in order of importance): store sales representative; website; phone sales representative; store facility; offerings and promotions; and cost of service.”

Suffice to say, AT&T has bragging rights as they take home their first first-place award among Tier 1 carriers. AT&T’s score of 798 was followed closely by Verizon at 794 and Sprint at 793. Unfortunately, T-Mobile came in at 784, which is still fairly close if you recognize this is all out of a 1,000 point scale. Given that, these scores are really just super slim margins separating best from worst but bragging rights is where the fun is at. Besides, T-Mobile has a trophy case full of JD Power awards that needs some new love and probably some dusting.

As for MetroPCS, the prepaid carrier was barely edged out by Boost Mobile with a single point separating them in the non-contract aspect of the study. Still, Boost, MetroPCS and Tracfone all took home scores higher than the nations four largest carriers.

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 2.49.39 PM

If we jump back to August 1st and the release of Volume 2 of the JD Power award for customer care, T-Mobile again was edged out by the other nationwide carrier. T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere wasn’t having any of that however and showed how much his company improved based on the total point increase T-Mobile showed between Volume 1 earlier this year and the Volume 2 study. Needless to say, all the spin in the world doesn’t take away from the idea that while these awards aren’t likely to impact the minds of many shoppers, it’s still something T-Mobile should take to heart.

JD Powers


Tags: , , ,

  • kawkaw

    I have to say I called them to set up a new account and it was terrible. Had people with accents that didn’t know anything try to help then forfeit and transfer me to native U.S. english speakers who couldn’t help me and proceeded to transfer me around too.

    They didn’t have a record of my initial order and had me waiting on the phone over an hour having to repeat my info.

    Then the order was not attached to me again the next day I called to get the sim activated. It was terrible.

    Before the merger attempt tmobile had awesome customer service.

    • jmfos

      The only time to call tmo support is during US business hours. The support is pretty good. After hours, you get the foreign based call centers that just end of pissing you off because you know more than they do and frankly they just can’t help with even the simplest requests.

  • ogopogo

    Unfortunately, it’s true. Whether you go into the store, or try to purchase online, there is always an issue.

  • kalel33

    “Given that, these scores are really just super slim margins separating best from worst but bragging rights is where the fun is at. Besides, T-Mobile has a trophy case full of JD Power awards that needs some new love and probably some dusting.”

    When T-mobile was winning first all those years, you’re reports never alluded to the slim margin of victory, just that T-mobile was showing the industry how to be a customer service leader. They were and now they aren’t. They deserved both the 1rst place awards and have for the last few years, deserved the last place awards.

  • macman37

    Seeing AT&T take another JD Power & Associates award, and knowing that Darth Sidious will be reappearing in Star Wars: Episode 7, I can definitely hear this in the background, “Fire the Death Star!” Hell has definitely began to freeze over!

  • RHanks

    My recent experiences with T-Mobile definitely reflect this fourth place rating. I have heard everything from ‘our computers are slow’ to ‘our agents follow a script’. I blame the executives in Bellevue and the Albuquerque Customer Relations management-or lack of management. Even emailing ol’ potty-mouth John Legere at produced a litany of excuses and cyclical conversations and no resolution. Hopefully customer service improvements will be the next phase (Phase 3 of Uncarrier), but I doubt it.

    • unsatisfied customer

      also the reps have high goals and force crap on customers that we don’t want. read my above comments lol. 4th place for a reason. bad coverage, weak 4g, No real value, computers from 2003, over aggressive salespeople and never enough workers in stores. Unlimited crap is still crap, I’d rather 2 or 3 gbs of web i can really use consistently vs unlimited stuff i can barely use. If i wanted that I’d pay 40 bucks a month for cricket. Tmobile really is charging verizon prices for cricket service lol

      • Jose Hernandez

        Are you a T-Mobile Customer? On a post above you said Sprint has a better deal than T-Mobile, so I guess you went with Sprint?

        But you said here that you get crap for what you are paying for? You kind of lost me there…

        • kolij

          Here goes the apologist! The poster is making good sense. Is this how csr’s at tmobile are trained: to quibble with customers instead of dealing wirh the problem?

        • Jose Hernandez

          Did you read my post? I wanted to make sure I understood his comment. I’m not making excuses for anyone. And yes, he has every right to call T-Mobile on crap customer service. If you don’t get a comment, ask. Don’t assume and star judging

    • Otto von Schlunzenstück

      ” I have heard everything from ‘our computers are slow’ to ‘our agents follow a script’.”

      That’s because call centers are running horrible, horrible software on the representatives’ machines. They’ll always be slow, but sometimes slower yet. Yes, agents have to follow a script or they get dinged. And often, “our computers are slow” = “hang on a mo’ while I search our internal knowledge base for an answer”.

      • kalel33

        Quickview is horribly slow.

  • Jason

    These jobs are ones that Americans wouldn’t work. Trust me, I’ve worked in call centers. Americans take jobs like that for granted, yet expect customer service to be there whenever they need it and to be top tier all the time.

    • mike

      That’s a bunch of crap. I worked there till they shut down 7 centers and then grew their outsourced Departments.

      • that guy

        You missed Jason’s point. He’s not denying that T-Mobile willingly outsourced large portions of customer service. He is saying that one of the reasons was the high turnover at these call centers in the US. Americans don’t make enough at these jobs for them to really care and if they get fired or don’t like it they will move on to the next one. There was a great article in the NY Times a while back equating call centers to the 21st century sweat shops in the US. For a company that is hemorrhaging money it starts to really affect the bottom line with how much it costs to train these people just to have them quit after a few months and not getting any return on investment. The outsource reps may not provide a high level of service, but they are much easier on the margins and less prone to higher turnover. For every one US employee that makes a career out of the average call center, there a few hundred that don’t make it to their one year anniversary. Sucks that the center you worked at was collateral damage, but T-Mobile had to do what it took to keep the lights on…

        • kalel33

          They didn’t have high turnover until all the changes were done to customer care in late 2010. The site I was at had tons and tons of people who were there for 7-10 years. T-mobile used to be rated as one of the best places to work. People loved to work there before DT decided to make a change.

          Also, it wasn’t about keeping the lights on and they’ve never hemorrhaged money . The AT&T merger was still happening at the time and they were cutting as much of the customer care as possible, because AT&T didn’t want their customer service. I seen so many people who were there for years and were pushed out. T-mobile has never had a quarter of loss in profits.

        • that guy

          Call centers by nature have a much higher turnover than most other industries. The job is not for everyone and the pay is not worth it for many. Not saying that your call center didn’t have many tenured reps. But there were also tons of people that came and went quickly while you were there. Stats show that for every 25 people the average fortune 500 company trains for front line support, only an average of 3-5 are there for more than 3 years. This stat is an average, if you filter out just wireless companies its a tad bit less.

          And yes T-Mobile was hemorrhaging money for quite a long time. It didn’t show up on the books because DT was assuming much of the debt and covering operating costs that went to the their US branch. Plus at the end of Dobson tenure and into Humm they were cutting overhead costs like crazy because the revenue just wasn’t coming in.

          I know because I work for a market research company that specializes in the wireless industry. Its why DT is so adamant about getting out of their American wing, they are affecting the bottom line at the home office big time.

        • kalel33

          The reason they wanted to sell T-mobile was not because it was affecting the bottom line, it was because they wanted to use that money to quickly bolster their own network in Europe. It’s extremely expensive to upgrade both networks in Europe and the US, but the sale would have taken out one of the hurdles and paid for the other.

          The pay and benefits at T-mobile were great for a call center. Before late 2010, they didn’t have to have many training classes, even though there were 600 reps in the facility. After the change, they were having training classes back to back, because they were trying to get rid of the tenured(high pay) agents and replace them with noobs. Noobs also meant that when the T-mobile sale went through that there would be no severance package. You can generalize all you want about call centers but T-mobile’s turnover rate was low before late 2010.

    • FuturePS4Gamer

      The American reps suck

  • NinoBr0wn

    I don’t understand what’s been going on with this. Before the whole at&t takeover crap started making the rounds, T-Mobile was consistently on top of the charts. Since then, it’s like a different company.

    • kalel33

      At least customer service is and it started before AT&T offered to buy them.

    • unsatisfied customer

      Extremely high goals for salesmen is the #1 reason. T-mobile fancy’s themselves as the value leader, meaning people seeking value go to them. But when people go into the stores every salesman pushes the world onto them trying to hit their metrics. I wasn’t allowed to buy the galaxy s4 without adding data and jump. I found out later that the goals are ridiculously high and if salesmen don’t hit them they will be fired within 3-6 months. And with ridiculous goals comes over aggressive salespeople. Put it in perspective, if i wanted 5 lines with 2.5 gb and 5 galaxy s4 with jump, I’d be paying 335 a month…. (110 for 5 lines, 50 for 2.5gb, 50 for jump, and 125 for 5 galaxy’s) …. If i could afford that I would go to verizon where they have 10times the coverage. The entire point of T-mobile is to save money and quite frankly I don’t see that. Even on a single line Sprint has an unlimited plan 10 bucks for 90 with insurance where as tmobile would be at 105…… Where there is smoke there is fire and at T-mobile is 4h place for a reason…. too much b.s that goes on over there. If they advertise nothing is required then they shouldn’t force their reps to force us into plans we don’t want

  • TechHog

    I still don’t understand how a difference of 14/1000 is relevant.

    • Sid Hoffman

      That’s not how it works, and anyone who has interacted with T-Mobile support after being an AT&T or Verizon customer can attest to the fact that T-Mo is way, way behind. Look at the Power Circle Customer ratings. AT&T at 5, Verizon and Sprint at 3, and T-Mo at 2. That gives you an idea of how you are treated as a customer. You’re a 2 out of 5.

      • TechHog

        Those circles are relative. Even if they were all terrible or all fantastic, the best would get a 5 and the worst would get a 2. Nice try though.

        • kalel33

          How about this relevant stat, they’ve been last since the beginning of 2011. If the statistics aren’t significant then they should have been bouncing around between 1rst and 4th but they’ve just remained on the bottom.

        • TechHog

          That, or these ratings just don’t make much sense and they all suck

  • Ordeith

    T-Mobile actually released the GDR2 update for the Lumia 810, ahead of AT&Ts release for the 920 even.
    It was unexpected, but it might be enough to delay my family’s defection to AT&T for a while longer.

    • guest

      Well, I gave AT&T and Verizon a visit recently and had them price a family of three. Two smart phones and a non data phone. The cheapest price was $180 Verizon and AT@T $210 with the lowest shared data possible. We are currently paying $104 at T-Mobile and thats with 2 GB data on each smart phone. We get a discount because we have Triple A. That discount makes our towing service close to free. Sure, we will need to buy phones full price with Tmo but we can live with that. My service in SoCal hasn’t been perfect but customer care has been really good so far. Always fast and no hassles.

      • FormerTMORep

        funny because i worked for tmobile and now for att, the cheapest one runs you 170 if you choose the 300mb shared data, 185 for 2gb shared data 190 for 4gb shared data, 195 for 6gb shared data, and 210 for 10gb for shared data. You were most likely quoted a data plan with mpp (mobile insurance bundle) im sure verizon conveniently didnt offer that one to you in order to make it look better. Prices usually reflect the same between Att and verizon if not by a slim margin slightly cheaper on att’s side from what ive seen. why am i on a tmobile site you say? i like the underdog and worked for them many years and still care about them. I also got to see their rise and fall to greatness in customer service and was there first hand. What the former employees tell you is very true . I left on my own terms though so i have no beef with it, some reps will put insurance on your account because they are constantly tormented to bundle it into your pricing before you buy it. (pricing above is with 3 lines as you stated. ) The break down of customers usually that come are usually like this. Verizon – i dont really like them, theyre way too expensivee and charge you for everything. Sprint – I’m always on roaming (in a big city) , my internet is too slow, cant get service. T-Mobile – I cant get a signal , I dont get a signal inside my house, their billing sucks its always wrong. I am totally not kidding about any of that, i see it almost every day for all of the carriers, some people are willing to pay more for better coverage, some people will pay their cell bills before their house bill ( i see this at T-mobile as well) I will always care about tmobile and will bleed me some magenta in some way, fact is their customer service isnt what it was because after sue nokes left (even with dotson there) they became very anti employee, theres a reason why they are very anti union there, the PHP was huge when I was there and we were made to go to meetings on our days off far away if we didnt hit the goal for any given month (never even got paid mileage ) One time i didnt hit it by 1% and still had to go, that sucked. Never quite knew how it all went in care (im sure it was worse) But even retail started to suck after awhile. High goals to weed out employees, Right fit guides (worst idea on gods green earth) I sell way more now than I ever did with those god awful right fit guides they used that made the experience seem awkward. IT all comes down to how the employees are treated and compensated, if you treat them well customer service will be there., if you dont well then you have the above results, simple as that really. Also I took a huge backlash on their communities website (employee social networking) for calling out the fact that customers here were upset about the constant struggle in communication with reps over the phone. The customer care reps you talk to actually think they are doing an amazing job (the out sourced ones) when clearly they werent. It was horrible, long tenured employees I knew would actually hang up any time they’d get an out sourced rep, thats how bad things got. Dunno now but thats how it was when I was there.

  • AlaJoe

    I don’t get the difference between the dot rating and number rating. The difference between 798 and 784 is 1.4% or a statistical dead heat. The diference between 5 dots and 2 is 60% or the difference between 1000 and 400 on there number scale. The atricle make no sense.

  • Tmobster

    I don’t understand why there’s AT&T ads all over this page…

  • Past Employee

    I worked for T-Mo for 11 years. They uped their sales standards and made us try to upsell every customer and try to say those 3rd party charges were correctly charged even thought they were illegal. I refused to cheat customers and push unnecessary sales. They fired me for that and the fact I was making a lot of money since I had been there 11 years.

    Once they started pushing….well demanding sales, customer service went out the window. Reps started cheating customers to make those sales quotas.

  • tomarone

    Can I ask an unrelated (but TMO service/sales/price related) Question here for the lurker experts?
    If I ‘shop phones’ on the website, not logged in, the ONE shows as $552 total price. Yet, if I log on, and use ‘upgrade phone’, the price shows as $600.
    Where does the difference come from?
    Thanks in advance, you all experts!

  • tomarone

    The Filipinos take the abuse that American customers enjoy heaping on the reps better than the Americans do!

  • tomarone

    Some (like Apple customers) need their hands held. Others would rather pay less $.

    • I’m an Apple customer, I don’t need my hand held?!

      • tomarone

        Ok, Some Apple customers need their hand held, they pay more, good Customer Service costs more and some companies pay for it. I like the cheaper model, personally.

  • xemployee

    It goes back to consumer confidence…I wad an employee for a long time and was proud of it. We were winning jd powers for a long time, but aftet Sue and Robert left, well things started to change gradually. Customers were being cheated with 2 yr contracts which they weren’t being told about, features were being added without their knowledge either…list goes on. TMobile has lost its ground and it will definately take a while to get back up….if ever.

  • KoseKid

    seriously though… we are talking about 1% difference in the first survey. I’m not sure why the J.D. power award is such a big deal in the first place. Do we really believe this is a 100% honest survey? No one thinks corruption lies in this award, like every thing else? If you factor in real world ethics, and bottom line dollars, i feel T-Mobile is doing a damn good job against the “competitors”. T-Mobile is not the best, but it is the best for the best price.

  • tj johnson

    t-mobile need to slam at&t just leak out that if the survey that customer take are not favorible of att the customer service rep loses their job. by end of year if the rep do not have a 50% willing to recomend approve of 10s it not a&tt the get the problem it’s the poor people who take the phone calls from customer and rep have been dismissed since the beginning of the year someone needs to leak this out

    • wtf?

      can we please get an English translation for this post please?

  • Ian

    TMO prices are fine. But when the sales people do crap like track on premium handset protection without telling you, well they have issues.

  • Stressed

    I am a current T-Mobile employee and I can definitely see where the customer service is lacking. We are constantly threatened if we do not hit our sales quotas and if we do not bundle features into plan prices. I work in a store that is located in a 2g area where the coverage is hit or miss sometimes; our customers do not need unlimited 4g data but we are all but being forced into putting it on their accounts. I plan on making a change soon….

  • Terron

    The biggest problem is that customer care is not on the same page with the retail stores all the time. They may tell a customer, “sure, you can go into a store and pay 145.99 down for an iphone 5”. Then the customer goes to the store and we tell them they have to pay the big past due amount first in order to start the installment plan…and that you have to pay the tax on the full price as well