T-Mobile CEO Spins JD Power Results, Shows Big Improvement In Customer Service

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While T-Mobile’s fourth-place streak of JD Power awards continued yesterday, CEO John Legere managed to spin some positive news out of the results. Even if T-Mobile showed up as “worst” of the four carriers, they showed the biggest improvement according to a chart provided by Legere. According to the image, T-Mobile’s score grew by 45 points, 9 more than AT&T which added 36 points from its Volume 1 score to take its first first-place finish in the overall customer care index.

For clarification, the JD Power wireless customer care satisfaction study offers a “detailed report card on how well wireless carriers provide customer service via three main contact channels: telephone, walk-in retail stores and online….the studies measure satisfaction with each contact method and analyzes processing issues, such as the efficiency of problem resolution and the duration of hold times.”

While T-Mobile may have some work to do before they can return to the glory that had them winning JD Power award quarter after quarter, it’s nice to see that they are improving by a wide margin. Regardless, I still think that AT&T winning the award means hell has frozen over.



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  • rfgenerator

    “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”

  • Jared Wolfe

    I hope to NEVER sign a contract with AT&T or Verizon. Ive been a customer of both. I signed on with T-Mobile in 2010. Never looked back. While I’ve feel I’ve given up on some coverage, I feel its the best value of the big 4 when my bill is HALF of what Id pay at AT&T or Verizon.

    • porkupan

      Well, I have been a customer of AT&T’s (then Comcast Metrophone, Cellular One, later Cingular), and when I signed with T-Mobile (around 2002-2003?) I was greatly impressed by their customer service. Night and day. Their CS reps answered the phones in a timely manner, and they were mostly very helpful. They had no problem unlocking the phones when I asked them to. Even on the line they even sounded happy to be working for a cool growing company… And then the Indian outsourcing started. A total disaster, which T-Mobile still not fully recovered from. It seems that the Indian call centers are now only picking up at off hours or on overflow, which is a major improvement. However, getting things solved and issues cleared is still a challenge.

      As an example, I have an @Home router (from when T-Mobile used to promote their $10/month unlimited VOIP), and every once in a while it loses the connection, and cannot reinitialize. Power cycling the router often helps recover. Several times I called the customer service, and encountered the tech support reps who had no idea what I was talking about. The dedicated tech support for @Home has long been eliminated, as the service is no longer offered.

      Perhaps AT&T and Verizon CS have been improving while T-Mobile’s has been going down the tubes, I don’t know. I remember waiting hours for a Cingular rep in India to pick up.

  • g2a5b0e

    Can’t be mad at him for looking at the positive. Besides, a bigger gain than everyone else more than likely means good things for the future.

  • Whiskers

    Dear John Legere, you want to make a Major Improvement in CS , hire American english speaking CS reps that don’t read off a cue card for answers.
    And you will feel good about helping people here in America that needs jobs.

    • You’ll have to change the minimum wage laws first.

      • Andrew

        The minimum wage isn’t a maximum wage. Companies are free to pay more if they value higher skilled workers.

        • They’re a business – not a charity. They also have fiduciary responsibility to investors and shareholders, so if they can find labor for less elsewhere? They’re hard pressed not to use it.

        • Andrew

          I don’t think T-Mobile should pay more as a charity, but as a way to attract better employees to increase their customer satisfaction scores and thus ultimately be a more profitable company. If I recall correctly, Henry Ford paid his employees $5 a day at a time when that was quite a bit above the typical wage. He didn’t do it for charity, but to reap the benefits of a better workforce. For example, companies that merely pay the minimum wage generally face more employee turnover. Employees have no reason to be loyal if they can quit and get a job paying the exact same wage at any local McDonald’s.

        • JJCommonSense

          Maybe thats the problem. Catering to shareholders instead of the people that operate the company, the customers who use its services, and its overall impact on society… I know thats alot to digest for someone who seems to have such angst towards minimum wage laws… but the wages of those at the bottom are not now, nor have they ever been, the problem.

        • Chris

          Ugh, of course they will cater to shareholders, they are the ones who invested money on the company… Every company caters to their shareholders and that’s just common sense.

        • JJCommonSense

          And there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes into play when you cater more to the share holders than you do to the people that run the business. That is a recipe for failure. Employees tend to be more loyal than shareholders and successful companies understand how to take care of both. But treating your employees like dirt for the sake of satisfying shareholders, is like taking out a loan to buy a cab – and you only use your income to pay the note and keep gas in the cab… at some point you have to maintain the cab (oil changes, etc) if you want it to keep humming along like you need it to…So I don’t disagree with your “common sense” retort at all….I just feel like that “sense” that you consider to be so common, is actually a part of the problem. It’s usually when people and businesses do more than whats “common” will you get stellar results.

        • Mirad77

          It’s not a one way road. I think the number of customer TMUS has lost doing so is a testimony to that.

        • kalel33

          So either you use foreign operators or pay under minimum wage. Either way, you have poor customer service because you can’t recruit anyone with poor wages except for the bottom of the barrel. Then you’re just right where you are now, rated the worst in the industry and from working as a rep, you wouldn’t believe how many people will leave a carrier out of principal because the customer service was so bad for them. Great, you have cut down on overhead at the expense of losing your customers……good business sense there.

          That affects the investors and shareholders, which is why T-mobile lost hundreds of thousands of customers each and every quarter for almost 3 years straight.

        • Stone Cold

          Happy Customers should equal higher profits as they would recommend T-Mo to others. We all know the network outside of major cities suck and needs improvement but hopefully it will improve over time.

        • ww88ww

          Who said anything about a charity? Red herring.

          There was a time when T-Mo had virtually no offshored customer care groups – you never had distinct accents (I have a Filipino aunt and can detect it a mile away) or obvious scripts when calling in. These were the days when the company won JDP award after JDP award. Then several years ago, some of it began to trickle overseas. It grew with time. T-Mo doesn’t win those awards anymore. Coincidence?

          One has to wonder if the money saved via offshoring whatever percentage of customer care is more or less than the money lost due to the recent mass exodus from the brand, and if the new customers will stick around when they have their first bad experience.

          Lowering (or eliminating) the already bare minimum wage is another Ayn Rand/Romney/Limbaugh type of idea that would continue to expand the American socio-economic chasm. Nations with higher minimum wages are kicking American butt in terms of economic mobility, social ills, and general quality of life. Visit first world Europe or Australia, and see the differences. It also becomes just a subsidy for corporate profits. Low wage earners are more prone to need public assistance – who pays for that? And who really wins? As typical for neocon economic policy, the working stiff ends up aiding corporations who then turn around and betray the working stiff. Low wage earners also have less chance of climbing out of their situation – education isn’t free. Low wages and unaffordable opportunities tend to lock people in.

          If you study worker productivity gains vs minimum wage over the past 30 years, the wage would virtually need to double to keep pace. Not to mention most other cost of living factors Cut it more, and you’ll end up getting the labor you pay for. T-Mo can’t afford to lose more ground.

        • philyew

          I agree with the general thrust of your argument. Among other things, offshoring should never have happened…but it did and now, doubtless, there are contracts in place that will maintain the status quo for some time.

          What should surprise – if all the naysayers are to be believed – is that, with such an extensive 2G-only footprint and significant overseas CS infrastructure, TM is only 4 points behind the top-rated CS organization over at AT&T.

          Arguments about corporate profit margins aside, TM operate within the defined strictures of the competitive marketplace – one in which they have deliberately chosen aggressive pricing strategy as their key differentiator. That choice consequently limits their investment choices. Right now, for solid business reasons, they have chosen to prioritize investment in high-speed broadband infrastructure. A decision which will allow them to continue marketing their services on a comparable level to the main competitors they are chasing, but will slow their rate of progress in other areas, such as improving their footprint in low density markets and, when contracts allow, re-patriating CS functions.

          As I said elsewhere, with their chosen model, something has to give.

        • ww88ww

          I have to believe the CS contracts are no more than 12-24 months, one would be insane to commit to anything longer when they have little control over the quality. Also, if the overseas group violates the contact in terms of calls handled or quality (the bar must be set REALLY low), it can then be terminated by the signer. I know it happens a lot with domestic outsourced call centers. I wonder if the telecom competition has moved offshore as much as T-Mo. I complain about it, as I’ve had a few sketchy CS interactions.

          For the strategy, I would like to believe T-Mo is trying to gain some profitability and might eventually hire more American CS workers again. If the networks really improve and the prices remain good, the brand will sell itself – if the CS is acceptable. I don’t know if I can believe it, however, or if I believe the small gap in this latest survey. Someone needs to back Legere into a corner and simply confront him with the issue – if he barks more profanity as a fun distraction, be profane in return, but don’t give up, and don’t let him deny it as I believe a previous exec has. I’d also like to see the company work on in-building coverage before covering areas with less population density. As the population continues to urbanize, the money will be made in metro areas, and my only real complaint with T-Mo service is the poor quality in buildings.

        • Mirad77

          Thanks for putting it out there like you did. Some come here and comment without any basic knowledge ot the matter at hand but think they are well informed.

    • tmorepguest

      ‘I can definitely understand why its important for me to speak english to help you now may i ask your name”….”nice to meet you Mr.Whiskers I can definitely understand why its important to, well, okay whats your mobile number sir?”….ever had that happen? where they lose their spot on the screen and re-read everything hahahaha

      • B-Mobile

        lol don’t get me started

    • moises1204

      about just answer the phone in a timely manner?

    • A David

      Honestly Tmo needs to make a Major Improvement in CS, it doesnt matter if they are American or not the fact is that even if they read from the cue cards they must atleast know about phones,plans, and be ready for any questions or complains we (the costumer) have. The other day I went to a tmo store and asked the rep to explain to me the new ripoff 0 down lie (have to pay for the phone taxes around $50) and he did after he did I told him can you check my account to see if I qualify for it he checked my account he said I did he brought the phone I wanted (Galaxy S4) I played with it and everything when it was time to pay he said wait a second it is not letting me (check you out) charge you. So he called another rep and that rep said no he doesnt qualify :-/ and I was like wait you told me I did and I told you make sure becuase I hate when people lie to me. So he came up with the sillieast excuse ever “sorry you did qualify when I checked but apperantly everything changed during the weekend and it became effective know” :-/ lie after lie so I told him thanks I will call costumer service and when I did, After I explained everything and also told her (CS) that my family has been with Tmo for little over 8 years, her response was I understand the same happened to me but unfortunately there is nothing we can do for you. So she was American English speaking, so am I and still she couldnt do anything and also she sayed that the same happened to her, honestly I dont care what heppened to her I was calling to complain not listen to what happened to her. So I just told her thank you for nothing have a great day. Still pissed, still mad……..

      • FuturePS4Gamer

        lol. I like the “I don’t care what happened to her ” part :)

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    Being someone who wasn’t born in the states and I am a case worker in my work line. It’s not the language that makes it a bad customer service, it’s the reading off a script to any and all questions and the ability to offer solutions to resolve the issue. What they are authorized to do to resolve issues? I recently switched from Sprint/Virgin to T Mobile. I must say there was an issue with a double charge on my credit card and it took a month to resolve the issue but I was the doing all the work for them since it was my credit card that was charged twice. T Mobile could use some help in the C/S area but I am sure John will come up with a un-carrier move for that as well if he can please the investors with his ideas

    • t-mobile rep

      Easier way would have been just to dispute the transaction with your cc company and they would credit that amount back to your card

      • Andre Nunez

        Not necessarily. I did that and they charged the dispute to my phone bill. Took an additional 2 months to get it off. -_-

    • 21stNow

      I agree with this. I used Red Pocket for a while. The CS reps are offshore and start off with the script, but quickly understand when the customer’s answers aren’t scripted. They then use other written materials to help the customer, and sound way more human than robotic when compared to other companies’ reps. I used Virgin Mobile for a while, too, and their reps are absolutely robotic. There is no departure from the script no matter what the customer asks or says.

      I know that because there are many different devices, many different services and many different customer situations, written materials will need to be used as a reference. I don’t expect reps to know everything about every phone that is out there. However, the ability to think through a problem is rare and valuable these days.

  • James Harding, Jr.

    I haven’t had any issues with CS. I have only got an Indian on the phone once and they weren’t that bad

  • Juan Pablo Darquea

    You cant fix the problem a bunch of sharks (shareholders) want to get more money every Day no matter the cost paying less good for Business thats a World Wide policies thats why they go to china o México ask all the other 3 same shit

  • JB

    Honestly, I’ve never had any problem with customer service. There’s been a couple times my call had been outsourced, but it’s far and few between. They have definitely gotten better in the past 6 months or so customer service wise, especially in the store. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a marked improvement over the next couple couple quarters.

  • Jay J. Blanco

    Customer Service is awesome to me!

  • philyew

    Are you trying to suggest that Legere is responsible for offshoring TM customer service?

    You do realize that he hasn’t been working for the company for a year yet and the offshoring took place long before that?

    I have reservations about his style, but his regime has done more to restore TM’s failed commitment to its customers than anything in the previous administration.

  • philyew

    It’s right that the company should take customer service reports seriously, but really what are these results actually showing?

    JD Power do their scoring on a scale of 1000 so that people reading their report might give a damn about the difference between first and last place.

    Anyone else might give the markings as a normal percentage, in which case first placed AT&T score 80%, while last placed TM score 76%.

    Doesn’t sound such a dramatic difference now, does it? Of course, it wasn’t so dramatic when the positions were reversed either and TM should continue to make genuine efforts to improve customer experience, but let’s not fool ourselves that these numbers reflect a huge difference in customer experience.

    • kalel33

      Don’t fool yourself that they aren’t a decent indicator. T-mobile has been dead last coming up on 3 years now and they deserved it. They also deserved the 12 out of 14 #1 rankings before that. JD Powers has shown exactly the negative changes that happened at T-mobile’s customer service since the fall of 2010.

      • philyew

        I didn’t say the numbers don’t reflect the relative positions and I was at pains to say that TM should work to improve customer service. However, a four point difference is not huge and does not reflect a significant difference in experience overall.

        I don’t like offshoring either, and until it is reversed, TM will continue to have disappointed customers, but it is clear that they must also succeed in other ways, just as the other carriers disappoint in their own way, otherwise the margin would be significantly greater.

        What continues to amaze me is that so many people expect TM to offer a comparable network footprint and capability, along with superior customer service, while maintaining the most aggressive pricing of all nationwide carriers AND with a revenue base that is less than 50% the size of AT&T and Verizon. Something has to give and any palpable evidence of improvement should be appreciated for what it is.

        • kalel33

          I’m realistic in the sense that T-mobile will never have anywhere close to the footprint of Verizon or AT&T. That’d cost them billions, upon billions to do. They’ll play in the small sandbox and customers who aren’t traveling that much are the one’s they go after. They were the company with the smallest footprint, cheapest carrier, and had the best customer service in the industry.

    • 21stNow

      Good to see you, philyew. I was starting to get worried about you. Hopefully, you are enjoying your summer so much that you don’t have as much time for the forums and blogs!

  • David Lebron

    As a rep for Tmo I agree the 0 down is misleading at times and could be frustrating. But the bottom line is there’s no other major wireless company that’ll give better rates on monthly plans and upfront costs for devices (other companies charge higher deposits). Most reasonable people understand that and pay the deposit and upfront costs anyway because they know their credit is and understand they’re getting the best deal. If their feelings are too hurt and they want to go pay higher rates elsewhere, we can’t do anything about that.

  • Fraydog

    Quit lying, you know good and well the offshoring occurred under Phil Humm, who was doing such offshoring was in preparation for the assimilation of Magenta by the Death Star. Quit AstroTurfing and quit spreading FUD.

    • Fraydog

      Go back and look at the JD Power rankings and when they took a tumble. They’re rising under Legere, they were really good under Dotson and completely fell into the toilet under Humm. I’m not going to defend everything that Legere has done, he’s clearly not perfect, but to say that the bulk of off-shoring has occurred on his watch is clearly a lie.

      Also, Legere was part of AT&T Corporation, the post 1984 divesture Ma Bell, a company that was assimilated by your former employer SBC Communications, which changed their name to AT&T Inc. after they bought out BellSouth to take control of Bell South and the Cingular joint venture.

      I’ll leave the personal insults to you but it’s pretty clear what you’re doing here is Astroturf. Now retire from TMoNews posting please.

      • kalel33

        Has Legere brought back any of the jobs that were offshored? No? Has he reversed the customer service practices and anti-consumer policies that were instituted under Humm? No? He may not have done it but he’s not willing to make it any better either.

        • philyew

          By moving to the non-contract model, the organization has put an end to the deceptive ways that the company previously extended contract terms during Humm’s regime.

          In my view, that is a HUGE reversal of anti-consumer policy. It may not have been Legere’s own idea, but his regime made it possible.

          If you’re not willing to give credit for that, then I have to question your objectivity.

        • kalel33

          I’d be more willing to give him credit if all the Value customers had their contracts wiped off the books. I never got a subsidized phone but I was forced into two separate contracts, one while Humm was there and one while changing my minutes when Legere was there.

        • philyew

          I understand you resenting that, and you are right that it would be a good move to fix it. Notwithstanding your personal experience, it is an irrefutable fact that the new approach removes the potential for contract abuse and that is a GOOD thing.

        • KingCobra

          I agree with that. I remember where just simply changing your rate plan would extend your contract by 2 more years. Most customers were not even aware of that and were shocked to find out that they’re contracts were extended without even upgrading to a new phone.

      • Fraydog

        This isn’t about Legere alone. You can’t even mention the name “Philip Humm” because you know he was outsourcing jobs out so AT&T could bring some of them back and look like Real American Heroes in a futile attempt to get the competition killing merger though, when they were doing that outsourcing at the behest of AT&T senior management. Legere has slowly started bringing the AT&T-led outsourcing back. That can’t be reversed overnight, like a lot of the other damage created by Humm. Humm was the one who lied about taking 3G everywhere and not expanding T-Mobile’s 3G footprint at all, while Legere was honest and forthright about having to get LTE in the cities first before expanding 4G over the footprint. T-Mobile has brought back jobs, they have reinvested billions in their networks for LTE, and they have changed the contract model to a more open model. While it’s not perfect, it’s certainly an improvement over the NEXT scheme the Verge proclaimed a massive ripoff.

        AT&T’s investment in America has actually been massive government subsidies giving them and Verizon together a telecommunications duopoly. You really need to do more reading about AT&T and Verizon’s role in the industry and how they’re close brothers more than high level competitors.

    • philyew

      Please be specific about what he did with Global Crossing and AT&T Asia which supports your criticism of his career performance.

      Since we’ve already established that Humm was responsible for offshoring, all you have to substantiate your assertions at the moment is that he has got rid of free soda and generous phone benefits for employees…

    • Stone Cold

      What are these hood rats you are referring too?

  • Fraydog

    You act like the degradation of credit happened under Legere. In reality, it happened under Humm. What’s your real name and what is your financial connection to AT&T Mobility? Time to come clean, Gina.

  • CrzyP

    This CEO is starting to get really annoying. Until he can
    improve TMO’s nationwide data network to at least 3G that can penetrate
    buildings, he should just shut his mouth. Been with TMo since May and I’m
    starting to regret it.

    • Mike Nelsen

      I’ve been with TMo since May too and I’m starting to regret leaving verizon. Okay, maybe it’s cheaper by a few bucks and I have options to upgrade phones but… the Galaxy S4 keeps dropping wifi calling, the 2G overtakes the supposed areas where 4G should be according to their very generous coverage map and the LTE is spotty still… and I’m in the suburbs of NYC along the Jersey shore.

      I might just sell this thing and beg big red to take me back. At least my spotify won’t keep cutting out on me when my network goes bipolar on me.

      CEO might have some balls, but his network lacks testosterone.

  • themooch

    So what department would everyone like T-Mobile to invest in? In one thread, I read how unhappy everyone is because of their subpar network and in another I read that they should hire American CS Reps and pay them a modest rate. Tmo does not have the customer base size that VZ and ATT have so until they build up a larger base, they simply don’t have the financial means to invest in both. TMo needs a better network to entice new customers but nees new customers to help build the network. So what do you do?

    • Flatbush0460

      Yes, but they won’t attain a larger base until they do so. I’m also a long term customer, going on 10 years now. I feel considerably undervalued the as compared to say 3 years ago. My feeling is they could care less if I stay or go, and that’s not good for business in the long run

      • themooch

        It’s not, you’re right. However, I’m not so sure that they don’t care. They aren’t in a position right now to lose customers. But in which department do you invest? CS or network? Personally, I think that investing in the network would be more beneficial because it would attract more customers. You’re getting an ever-expanding LTE network at a lower cost than that of a competitor. As your customer base expands, then invest in your CS.

  • FuturePS4Gamer

    I like the reps from overseas. Every time I talk to them my problems always get resolved.

  • ebonyT-Mobile

    I’m a loyal customer of 12 years. I have been with them when it was Voice Stream!!..T-Mobile have been getting worse in their customer service in the last few years

  • spacespeed

    Err… T-Mobile now does have LTE. Have you been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks? Also, what’s your definition of “nationwide”? Verizon, AT&T, etc., still have EDGE spots and dead spots, so does that disqualify them as well?

    Also, I don’t really mind the overseas reps. Called in once to have a SIM changed, got that done in a few moments with few questions.

  • FuturePS4Gamer

    I hate to say it but MOST of T-Mobile Customer Service reps SUCK!! I spoke with a very rude women today. I think the foreighn customer service reps are better than most the americans…

  • mezalkb

    I have been with T-Mobile for 10 years now and have been frustrated with their customer service on many occasions. I have made it a habit to ask for a supervisor when ever I call in for service. Also, each time I would go into a retail location I was typically ignored and had to wait at least 30 minutes before someone acknowledged me. A year ago I walked out of 2 locations because I couldn’t even get a “we’ll be with you as soon we can” from them.

    That all changed two weeks ago. I became so frustrated with my phone (battery life was a joke and I had to pull the battery several times a day because of freezing) that I decided I was desperate enough to go into a local retail store and wait as long as I needed to because I wanted to be able to physically try some of the phones before changing. When I walked into the store I noticed it was busy and prepared myself for a wait. To my surprise within a minute a young man walked over, introduced himself and offered to help. He listened to my problem, asked some questions, showed me a few phones and in the end I walked out with a new iPhone and a iPad and am saving $30 a month on my service (including all taxes and fees!). While I was i watched how others were being taken care of and how quickly they would greet someone when they arrived and was impressed. T-Mobile has really stepped up their game.