Normally, Verizon wins tests and comparisons based on its network coverage and only its network coverage. But to mix things up a little, Tom’s Guide decided to compare basic customer service experiences across all the major postpaid and prepaid carriers, and Verizon ran away with first place.
The Tom’s Guide testing involved comparing the ease of access and quality of support across all the different platforms. So, they tried phone support, online chat, and even social media help to generate one total score for each carrier.
Verizon came in first place, followed by T-Mobile and AT&T. Cricket managed to squeeze Sprint out of the top four, and prepaid carriers rounded out the rest of the rankings. It’s no surprise that the postpaid carriers dominated here, as one of the reasons prepaid carriers can offer cheap contracts is by cutting corners on customer service.
The Tom’s Guide testing is likely accurate for ranking how easy it is to find information and talk to a representative, but other surveys paint a different picture when it comes to overall satisfaction with customer service. The most recent Nielsen Mobile Insights survey, which polls customers and asks them about their experiences, ranked T-Mobile’s customer care as the best in the industry.
But even that doesn’t guarantee you happy experiences: T-Mobile relies heavily on bill credits to give customers promised discounts, free lines, or discounts on smartphones, and T-Mobile forums are overrun with people complaining about the bill credit system. In addition, T-Mobile receives far more complaints than other carriers to the Federal Trade Commission about fraudulent bill cramming, and former T-Mobile employees have alleged that certain stores operate illegal sales tactics to inflate numbers and commissions.
Ultimately, it’s difficult to assign one number to evaluate customer service across a giant company. The Tom’s Guide testing is good for knowing which company has the longest hold times, or the worst phone system. But with all the different kinds of problems that customer service teams have to deal with, ranging from billing issues to smartphone software updates or problems with call quality, don’t just assume that the company that scores best on one test will be #1 when dealing with your particular issue.