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Although Canadians don't seem to have a preference in how they make purchases and changes related to their wireless devices and plans, the customer experience from the carriers' websites significantly lags other channels finds the J.D. Power 2021 Canada Wireless Purchase Experience Study. This article is copyright 2021 The Best Customer Guide.

Even during the height of the pandemic, the in-store purchasing experience receives the highest satisfaction from customers (735 on a 1,000-point scale) compared with 687 for carriers' websites.

The study shows that carriers' websites have the lowest purchase transaction completion rate (46%) compared with phone (63%) and in-store visit (77%). In fact, those customers using the website first require two additional contacts, on average, and often defer to another channel to complete their transaction.

"With continued restrictions regarding in-store operations and an expectation of doing everything online, there's an opportunity for carriers to lessen the effort required to complete wireless retail transactions through the web channel," says Adrian Chung, director of the technology, media & telecom practice at J.D. Power Canada. "Despite the challenges of potential channel limitations and customers' desire to interact with a live person, adding more natural live-chat features, incentivizing customers and closely matching retail offerings available through other channels can enhance the web experience to make it more relevant and appealing."

Channel preference correlates to customer intention. Customers most frequently call their carrier when seeking to either upgrade (36%) or downgrade (39%) their plan or remove an existing line or device (47%). In-store visits are the preferred option when customers seek to sign up for a new service (34%) and purchase a new device (37%). All channels are used equally when adding a new line or device (29%).

Following are key findings of the 2021 study:

  • Online provides the most time-efficient experience
    Carriers' websites are the most time-efficient channel for customers to use, requiring just under 19 minutes, on average, to complete a purchase or make an account change, compared with phone (+25 minutes) or in-store visit (+42). Coupled with providing the lowest cost per contact, online offers an untapped opportunity for carriers to improve the customer purchase experience.
  • New customers are price sensitive
    Slightly more than half (52%) of wireless customers who switched their carrier during the past 12 months did so because of the cost of the wireless plan. Service plan options (28%), customer service and promotions (23% each) are cited as other key reasons for recently switching providers.
  • Wireless plans value diminished, but still meet needs
    Compared with 2020, customers are less likely to agree that their wireless plan has improved in value (-18%) or is affordable (-13%). However, most customers say features and prices are easy to understand (65%) and that their wireless plan is meeting their needs (69%).

Study Ranking
SaskTel ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction this year with a score of 758. Freedom Mobile (753) ranks second and Koodo Mobile (749) ranks third.

The 2021 Canada Wireless Purchase Experience Study examines customers' wireless purchase experiences across sales-related activities in stores, over the phone, via website, and through mobile app. The study is based on responses from 4,845 wireless customers who currently have service from an eligible carrier and who have had a purchase experience in the past six months. The study was fielded between February and March 2021. For more information about the 2021 Canada Wireless Customer Experience Study visit https://canada.jdpower.com