A new JD Power study says the smartphone operating system is the key differentiator in customer satisfaction. Among tier 1 wireless carriers, Apple ranked highest in overall satisfaction among customers of AT&T (855), followed by customers of T-Mobile (848) and Verizon Wireless (846). Among customers of Sprint, Apple and Samsung tie for highest rank (845 each).
The fact that Apple ranked highest is not surprising given the overwhelming success of its iPhone launches, although the study is based on iOS 7 with iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s. The order of carrier rankings is intriguing, as I would have expected Verizon to rank higher since they charge more for service and boast higher network speeds in the U.S. Perhaps the network has become ubiquitous?
“Providing an easy-to-use, yet powerful operating system with the ability to customize applications to suit individual needs is essential to providing a positive wireless experience,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of telecommunications services at J.D. Power. “To get ahead of the competition and satisfy customers, manufacturers must meet and exceed the expectations of customers, ensuring the OS allows the device features and services to work intuitively and seamlessly. Doing so will help drive satisfaction and loyalty to the brand.”
Other Key Findings
- Nearly one-fourth (24%) of smartphone owners cite either operating system or phone operation as the main reason for choosing their device, a slight increase from 22 percent over previous year’s study.
- While smartphone owners continue to cite features (32%) as the primary reason for selecting a device, the rate has declined significantly from 38 percent from last year
- The reason customers purchase a smartphone impacts satisfaction and repurchase intent. Overall satisfaction is significantly higher among customers who select a smartphone based on operating system (861), with 38 percent of these customers saying they “definitely will” repurchase, than among those whose selection is based on cost-specific reasons, such as price (808 and 19%, respectively).
- Nearly one-half (43%) of smartphone owners indicate they have at least one other device such as a PC or tablet running the same OS as their smartphone. Among customers using another device with the same OS, 71 percent indicate the device is a tablet.
The Wireless Smartphone Satisfaction Study measures customer satisfaction based on four factors including performance (29%); features (26%); physical design (23%); and ease of operation (22%). Customer satisfaction was measured with wireless OEMs across tier 1 wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless), from 1,484 traditional device customers who have owned their current phone less than 18 months. The study was fielded between September 2013 and August 2014. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.