3 Ways to Get Better Customer Service From Your Wireless Provider

By Angela Colley

Last week, J.D. Power and Associates issued their famous vehicle dependability study, and 3-year-old vehicles saw a 13 percent increase in dependability – the lowest problem rate on record. It’s been big news everywhere. But the next day, the research firm issued a largely ignored study that interested me a lot more…

The study measured customer satisfaction with “wireless purchase experiences.” Or in plain English: how customers rate their cell phone carriers when they have to buy stuff from them. Ironically, customers reported their biggest complaints when they had to conduct business over the phone – long wait times, difficulty talking to the customer service rep, and long transactions topped the list.

So while automakers are on their way up, wireless providers are on their way down. Can’t say I’m surprised. As someone who calls customer service a lot, I’ve had my share of difficult experiences. But I’ve found it goes a lot easier (and faster) if you use a few tricks…

1. Reduce wait times

In 2012, customers reported waiting on hold for an average of 4.6 minutes – a one-minute increase over 2011, according to the study. Personally, I’ve got my wait times down to two minutes or less now that I know when to call:

Call during “off-peak” times. Like any retail center, your wireless provider’s telesales department has busier times, known as peak times. These typically last from mid-morning to early evening. So I call during the evening, about an hour before the telesales center closes. Most of the time, I get right through.

Steer clear of new releases. When Verizon Wireless first released the iPhone, my friends were waiting for more than 30 minutes on hold before talking to a rep. You’re better off waiting for the popularity to fade – or buying a new release online.