Canadians prefer the human touch when purchasing a smartphone

With the adoption of smartphones and tablets, Canadians have rushed online to find and purchase new products and services. A recent report from BrandSpark indicated that showrooming, the act of looking in-store and then buying online, is increasing in the country. However, the latest stats published by J.D. Power reveal that, at least when it comes to buying their next smartphone, Canadians prefer an in-store experience.

J.D. Power’s “2015 Canadian Wireless Purchase Experience Study” surveyed over 5,000 wireless customers between October 2014 and March 2015, and found that people actually want to speak with someone before purchasing a mobile device.

The study examined carrier sales performance—in-store, over the phone and online—and looked at how satisfied customers were with the service they received. Survey respondents were asked to rate the following six factors: the store representative they interacted with, their online purchase experience, the actual phone they purchased, the facility they visited to purchase their device, the offers and promotions they were presented with and the actual cost of the service they bought.

The results aren’t shocking. Customers are looking for simplicity when purchasing a wireless device or service. This is something that Canadians have been pressing the carriers, Industry Canada and the CRTC on for years.

When all the carriers are factored in, the average purchase experience was rated 752 out of 1,000.

Customer service has been a hot topic and top of mind for the carriers, especially with both two year and three year contracts set to expire this year. The report indicates that satisfaction is higher when store representatives actually take the time to explain or demo how to properly get the most out of a device.

As for overall wireless rankings, Virgin Mobile topped the list with a score of 789, followed by SaskTel (776), Koodo Mobile (774), and TELUS at 771. Similar to the results from the Canadian Wireless Customer Care Study, Bell and Rogers had the lowest satisfaction scores with 738 and 731 points, respectively.

Adrian Chung, account director at J.D. Power, said, “Wireless carriers need to consider that the sales rep is the face of the organization. The interaction between a customer and their sales rep during a transaction or store visit can have a significant impact on purchase experience satisfaction and shape their overall perception of the brand. Looking ahead, this can also influence a customer’s decision-making process whether to stay with their current carrier or seek out alternatives when they are in the market for a new device or need to renew their contract.”