J.D. PowerLarge companies increasingly are happy with their wireless service, but very small business customers have a lower level of satisfaction, according to The J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Business Wireless Satisfaction Study.

Overall, T-Mobile scored well. It ranked highest (868 out of 1,000) among large enterprises. The carrier, which won the category for the third consecutive year, was followed by AT&T (849) and Verizon Wireless (836). T-Mobile also ranked highest in the small/medium category at 844, followed by Sprint (830) and Verizon Wireless (819). T-Mobile made it a sweep with a win in the very small business category, with a score of 843, followed by Verizon Wireless (807) and AT&T (762).

The trend in which very small businesses were increasingly less satisfied than bigger companies was first noted in the firm's U.S. Business Wireline Study, which was released in July.

"The growing gap in customer service satisfaction between large enterprise customers and very small business customers is a missed opportunity for wireless carriers," Ian Greenblatt, the Technology, Media & Telecom Practice Lead at J.D. Power, said in a press release. "The small business customer segment presents unique challenges because these companies are more reliant on their wireless carriers to solve tech issues and are disproportionally affected when problems arise. In fact, negative customer service contacts take a far greater toll on the satisfaction of very small business customers than on large enterprise customers. Carriers that get the small business formula right will see significant improvements in retention and advocacy."

Other findings from the study provided deeper insight on the challenges of very small businesses:

  • Satisfaction gap between large and small business customer satisfaction: The overall customer satisfaction score for large enterprise wireless customers is 842 (on a 1,000-point scale), an increase of 29 points from 2017. Meanwhile, the overall satisfaction score for small/medium businesses is 817, down 14 points from 2018, and the score for very small businesses is 788, up 13 points from a year ago.
  • Customer service is problem area for very small businesses: Satisfaction with the wireless carrier customer service function has increased 47 points during the past three years among enterprise customers, reaching a high of 868 in this year's study. During that same period, very small business satisfaction with customer service is up just 9 points to 770, representing a gap of 98 points.
  • Analyzing very small business customer experience: Very small businesses are far less likely to receive dedicated customer service from their carrier and, as a result, they experience significantly higher rates of transfers (51% vs. 33% for large enterprise customers); higher rates of difficulty understanding customer service representatives (21% vs. 11% for large enterprise customers); and wait on hold for customer service an average of 1.86 minutes longer than large enterprise customers.