Wednesday, December 07, 2005

As more go wireless, Cingular complaints remain high

Another article on the poor customer service of U.S. network operators. This time Knight Ridder writes about Cingular's woes based on data from the Federal Communications Commission and a new survey of 50,000 wireless customers by Consumer Reports.

While Verizon continued to lead in customer satisfaction in all 18 markets except for Chicago, Cingular was treated as kindly. According to the article, "Cingular placed no better than third in any market in the Consumer Reports survey. And Cingular generated more than 13,000 complaints to the FCC in the year after it swallowed up AT&T Wireless - five times as many as generated by Verizon."

Roger Entner at Ovum said, "They are still trying to sweat out the AT&T virus that they got when they acquired the company." Cingular, which has been working on improving its customer experience, recently "rolled out a new point-of-sale disclosure document designed to address complaints common across the industry about hidden and confusing terms."

Entner lauded the initiative, stating "They are leading the industry in that regard."

Entner and other analysts pointed out that Cingular might have shot itself in the foot with its "Raising the Bar" ad campaign, which might have set expectation levels too high and implied Cingular would integrate its network with AT&T sooner than later. Independent analyst Jeff Kagan said, "I think it's going to be as good as advertised. It's just that nobody was told when."