Virgin Ranks Highest with Mobile Telephone Customers in the UK

Virgin ranks highest in customer satisfaction for its mobile telephone service in both the pre-pay and contract service sectors, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 UK Mobile Telephone Customer Satisfaction StudySM released today.

The study, now in its 10th year, measures the customer satisfaction of pre-pay and contract customers with the UK’s leading mobile network providers. Overall satisfaction for pre-pay providers is measured based on performance in six factors: image; offerings and promotions; call quality/coverage; cost; handset; and customer service. Satisfaction in the contract segment includes the additional factor of billing.

Among pre-pay providers, Virgin moves from third place in 2006 to first place in 2007 with an overall index score of 724 points on a 1,000-point scale. Virgin performs well in all six factors. O2 (699 index points) follows Virgin in the rankings. Tesco Mobile, which is included in the study for the first time, ranks a close third with 696 index points.

Virgin also ranks highest in the contract sector, with an overall index score of 730 points. Virgin receives particularly high ratings in six of the seven factors in this segment: image; cost; offerings and promotions; customer service; billing; and handset. O2 (683) and T-Mobile (679) follow Virgin in the segment rankings.

The study also finds that nearly one-half of all mobile users (46%) received some form of incentive or reward from their network provider to encourage loyalty, with contract customers (51%) more likely to receive rewards than pre-pay customers (44%). The most frequent incentive/reward cited by pre-pay customers is “extra credit for spending a certain amount” (22%), while contract customers are most frequently offered handset upgrades (22%).

“With increasing numbers of consumers reporting their intention to switch providers, it’s becoming even more important for providers to reward existing customers for their loyalty,” said Caspar Tearle, director of service industries research at J.D. Power and Associates. “One-tenth of pre-pay customers and more than one-fifth (21%) of contract customers intend to change in the next 12 months. Our research also shows that rewarding mobile customers has a positive impact on levels of customer satisfaction and could entice potential customers to switch networks.”

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