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Consumers Shopping Online For Cell Phone Plans

  |  August 23, 2005   |  Comments

Though consumers ranked plan aggregator sites highly for customer experience, most have never heard of the aggregator sites.

Consumers prefer to shop online for cell phone plans and phone rather than in retail stores according to studies from Keynote Systems.

Among Keynote's survey base, 79 percent of respondents indicate they'd rather shop online for cell phones and plans than in retail establishments. Shopping for plans, then a phone, is the preferred order of cellular acquisition by 74 percent.

"The most surprising aspect of the study was that the aggregator sites performed so well in the customer experience rankings," Dr. Bonny Brown, director of research at Keynote Systems, told ClickZ Stats. "Although 80 percent of the respondents had never heard of Wirefly or LetsTalk.com prior to Keynote's competitive intelligence, they finished first and second respectively."

The three best-performing sites, as reported in the Keynote Customer Experience Rankings for Wireless, were Wirefly, Let's Talk and T-Mobile, based on Keynote's evaluation of over 250 metrics. "Consumers especially enjoyed Let's Talk's narrowing features tool and being able to compare a large selection of plans," Brown commented. "Wirefly led competitors with its side-by-side phone comparison chart, which included graphic images and detailed information."

T-Mobile was no slouch either, ranking first in visual appeal thanks to its online coverage map and performance in phone and plan shopping.

In terms of site reliability and responsiveness, Keynote ranks Virgin Mobile tops in both categories. Keynote's Service Level Rankings for Wireless Web Sites analyzed over 6,500 separate measurements on each site over a three-week period to come up with the service level rankings.

Web Site Service Reliability, Summer 2005
Rank Wireless Web Sites
1 Virgin Mobile
2 Sprint
3 Qwest
Source: Keynote Systems, 2005
Wireless Web Site Service Responsiveness, Summer 2005
Rank Wireless Web Sites
1 Virgin Mobile
2 Qwest
3 Cingular
Source: Keynote Systems, 2005

Keynote doesn't have quantitative data to explain what drives consumers to these particular sites.

"Keynote Systems' analyzes what consumers experience once they are already on the individual Web sites," Brown explained. "However, Keynote's competitive intelligence did demonstrate the top reasons for 'using' a wireless site are price, detailed product information and the company's reputation."

Keynotes' customer experience study included 2,000 online consumers and their interaction with 10 wireless provides or aggregator Web sites

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