The bottom third of the list was made up of Fido, a company owned by major mobile provider Rogers Communications; Bell Mobility; and Rogers Wireless.
Global marketing firm J.D. Power annually examines wireless carriers’ performance across sales-related activities in stores, over the phone and online. Its study measures six key factors: store representative, online purchase, phone purchase, facility, offerings and promotions; and cost of service. The 2016 Canadian Wireless Purchase Experience Study is based on responses from 6,269 wireless customers. The study was fielded in August-September 2015 (Wave 1) and March 2016 (Wave 2).
“Overall wireless purchase experience satisfaction is 761 (on a 1,000-point scale), up 9 points from 2015,” according to J.D. Power.
SaskTel ranks highest in purchase experience satisfaction with a score of 798 and improves in most factors year over year. Videotron (796) ranks second, followed by Koodo Mobile (788). Fido scored 759; Bell Mobility, 753; and Rogers Wireless, 753.
Satisfaction in the store representative factor is relatively high at specialty electronic retailers (796) and carrier-branded stores (784), but much lower at big box stores (737).
Many Canadian prefer unlocked phones
The study also found that while customer satisfaction is higher at carrier-branded stores and specialty electronic retailers, one-fourth of mobile phone shoppers prefers to buy their devices at big box store.
“Among these shoppers, more are likely to purchase an unlocked phone, which is a risk for carriers as these customers are more likely to switch carriers when a better price or data plan offer arises,” according to the report.
Purchase volume is highest at carrier-branded stores (57 per cent), compared with just 25 per cent at big box stores and 17 per cent at specialty electronics retailers, consumers that shop big box stores often buy an unlocked phone off the shelf with no additional fees.
Fifty per cent of customers that buy their phones from big box retailers purchases unlocked devices, compared to 44 per cent from specialty electronic stores and 28 per cent at carrier-branded stores.
This could be bad news for carriers because customers owning unlocked phones are more likely to switch providers than those that have phones locked to a particular provider. As many as 24 per cent of customers told J.D. Power they “definitely will” switch carriers in the next 12 months, compared to just eight per cent of customers with a locked phone.
“Owners of unlocked phones represent a higher risk to carriers as device revenues are lost to other retailers, and these customers are more likely to switch when presented with a more competitive price or promotion,” according to J.D. Power. “Unlocked devices are an attractive alternative for phone owners because switching costs are lower than they are with locked devices, which cannot be transferred between carriers.”
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