J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Assigning a Single Point of Contact Can Have a Considerable Impact on Customer Satisfaction With Data Services

AT&T and Verizon Rank Highest in Satisfying Business Customers With

Telecommunications Data Services

Apr 04, 2007, 01:00 ET from J.D. Power and Associates

    WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Data service
 providers that assign a specific point of contact to business customers
 when issues or questions arise average customer satisfaction scores more
 than 80 index points higher (on a 1,000-point scale) than providers without
 a dedicated account team, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007
 Major Provider Business Telecommunications Study(SM) released today.
     (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050527/LAF028LOGO-a)
     The study measures customer satisfaction with providers of data
 services, such as cable modem, DSL, T1, T3/DS3, Ethernet and Frame Relay.
 Rankings are compiled in two segments: small/midsize businesses (companies
 with 2 to 499 employees) and large enterprise businesses (companies with
 500 or more employees). Seven key factors are used to measure satisfaction:
 performance and reliability; billing; cost of service; sales
 representatives/account executives; company image; offerings and
 promotions; and customer service.
     Overall satisfaction increases by 93 points among small/midsize
 businesses and by 81 points among large enterprises when there is a
 designated account representative, account team or special service such as
 a specified 800 number to contact for sales and service. Currently, 43
 percent of small/midsize business customers and 68 percent of large
 enterprises indicate they have a single point of contact with their data
 services provider, which is essentially flat among customers in both
 segments versus 2006.
     "Customer service and enhanced account management are increasingly
 important among large enterprises in particular, as better customer service
 is the top reason why businesses in this segment would consider switching
 data providers -- up from the fourth-most-frequently cited reason in 2006,"
 said Steve Kirkeby, executive director of telecommunications and technology
 at J.D. Power and Associates. "In light of cable companies making inroads
 into the business data market in recent years, providing more customized
 service options to businesses is one way many legacy telephone providers
 are rededicating themselves to providing the best product and service
 experience they can possibly deliver."
     AT&T ranks highest in customer satisfaction in the large enterprise
 business segment, performing particularly well in performance and
 reliability, image, sales representatives/account executive and customer
 service. Verizon follows AT&T in the segment.
     Verizon leads the small/midsize business segment, receiving high
 ratings from customers in six of the seven factors that drive overall
 satisfaction: performance and reliability, cost of service, sales
 representatives/account executives, company image, offerings and
 promotions, and customer service. Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable,
 respectively, follow Verizon in the segment.
     The study also finds that total customer-reported spending for data
 services among businesses in the small/midsize segment has increased
 considerably, from $2,934 in 2006 to $4,658 in 2007. Much of the increase
 can be attributed to a large boost in the number of small/midsize
 businesses using private lines in their data networks to connect wide-area
 networks (WANs) and local-area networks (LANs). At the same time, the
 desire to bundle services remains strong within both the small/midsize
 business and large enterprise segments. The percentage of small/midsize
 businesses that say they "definitely would" or "probably would" bundle is
 down by 1 percentage point in 2007 (48%) compared to 2006, while bundle
 intent among large enterprise customers is up 3 percentage points (50%)
 from 2006.
     "Business customers have a need for back-up and survivability
 alternatives, which impacts their likelihood to trust and bundle all of
 their services with one provider," said Kirkeby. "As network stability and
 survivability issues wane, customers are becoming more trusting of
 providers, and the willingness to bundle will remain strong in the short
     The 2007 Major Provider Business Telecommunications Services Study is
 based on responses from 2,855 business customers with telecom services at
 small/midsize and large enterprise businesses in the United States and
 includes evaluation of their data and voice service providers. The second
 part of this three-part study, an evaluation of wireline voice services,
 will be released in late April, and wireless services will be released in
     Customer Satisfaction Index Scores:
     Small/Midsize Business
     (Based on a 1,000-point scale)
     Verizon                                     707
     Cox Communications                          692
     Time Warner Cable                           683
     Small/Midsize Business Segment Average      678
     AT&T*                                       671
     Qwest                                       670
     Comcast                                     637
     Customer Satisfaction Index Scores:
     Large Enterprise Business
     (Based on a 1,000-point scale)
     AT&T*                                       737
     Verizon                                     735
     Large Enterprise Segment Average            733
     Comcast                                     718
     Qwest                                       714
     Time Warner Cable                           709
     *AT&T includes BellSouth customers. BellSouth was acquired by AT&T in 2006.
     About J.D. Power and Associates
     Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is
 an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating
 in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance
 improvement, training and customer satisfaction. The firm's quality and
 satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers
 annually. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill
     About The McGraw-Hill Companies:
     Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE:   MHP) is a leading
 global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the
 financial services, education and business information markets through
 leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education,
 BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than
 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2006 were $6.3 billion. Additional
 information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.
     J.D. Power and Associates Media Relations Contacts:
     Karla Tucker                      Monica Favorite
     Troy, Mich.                       Westlake Village, Calif.
     (248) 312-4344                    (805) 418-8883
     karla.tucker@jdpa.com             monica.favorite@jdpa.com
     No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information
 in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and
 Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates