Data from Hundredx’s database of customer surveys was crunched by the analysts. Beginning in the middle of 2020, Hundreds began conducting surveys on customer happiness, net promoter scores (NPS), and net loyalty intent in American postpaid wireless. Through 2022, the business used 5,000 data points per month on average for wireless.
Price was the main complaint voiced by Verizon customers. Thus, since the end of 2020, Verizon’s NPS and customer happiness have decreased. In both of those categories, Verizon is currently behind T-Mobile.
However, Verizon continues to enjoy strong consumer loyalty.
The disparity between the net loyalty intent and the percentage of customers who say they plan to keep the service over the next 12 months and the percentage who say they plan to switch.
Verizon’s absolute net loyalty intent and position relative to the industry have both remained largely unchanged, while AT&T’s improved slightly, but remained below the industry average.
“The most likely explanation for this divergence is that Verizon consumer wireless customers are, on the whole, risk-averse,” wrote the Evercore analysts. “Verizon has traditionally been positioned as the best network, but at a premium price. As a result, their customer-base skews toward less price-sensitive, but more quality-focused, consumers.”
Therefore, it seems sensible that Verizon consumers would be reluctant to deal with the trouble of moving carriers and maybe experiencing a drop in service quality. Therefore, even if Verizon customers may not be satisfied with the price they are paying, which results in a decline in customer satisfaction, it doesn’t seem that the unhappiness has been enough to cause a sharp rise in the number of departures.
However, as Evercore said, “it’s not obvious that this is sustainable over the longer run.” The development of eSIM (and deals like T-Network Mobile’s Pass, which gives customers a three-month free trial without requiring them to switch services) will eventually make switching easier and boost consumer perception of the network quality of less expensive options, particularly those from T-Mobile.
Meanwhile, at T-Mobile, the company led in both NPS and customer satisfaction, with both up materially over the last 18 months. But the company’s net loyalty intent is below Verizon’s, and slightly below the overall industry average. “We attribute this divergence to the T-Mobile consumer customer base, which we believe to be more value-focused, and hence more likely to at least consider switching providers,” wrote Evercore.
In 2022, AT&T made a strong attempt to keep its current customers, which of course comes at a cost.
In both absolute and relative measures, AT&T’s NPS and customer satisfaction increased from late 2021 to late summer 2022, but both have since started to decline.
Customers of AT&T rank pricing as the second most critical factor, and AT&T performs worse than the industry average in this area.
Speed and coverage area are “where we observe deterioration in relative performance,” according to Evercore. “Coverage area remains a net plus for AT&T, but its relative score versus the industry has tightened since midyear, while speed, which had been a significant net positive, is now neutral versus the industry,” the study said.