AT&T has outscored rival carriers to earn a top grade for customer support for the first time in a J.D. Power study.
Released Thursday, the study asked wireless users to rate their carriers for customer care. AT&T took home a score of 795 out of 1,000, ranking well in the area of both walk-in and online support. Verizon Wireless came in second with a score of 790.
Among non-contract carriers, MetroPCS was ranked No. 1 with a score of 770, followed by Cricket with 750.
Overall, the wireless industry is providing solid support in the eyes of those polled by J.D. Power. Satisfaction with customer care from contract carriers bounced to 786, a 31-point jump over last year and its highest level since 2009. The satisfaction level for non-contract carriers rose to 732, an increase of 34 points from just six months ago.
Online support, particularly the chat function, is proving more popular. Among wireless subscribers who hopped online to solve their problem, 42 percent said they used their carrier's chat feature. Online satisfaction was highest among those who used the chat feature as compared with other avenues of support.
"The higher levels of satisfaction with online chat are partially due to the efficiency and immediacy of the experience, particularly with service issues or questions that are easier to resolve in this environment, such as billing or service/device questions pertaining to upgrades," Kirk Parsons, senior director of the telecom services practice at J.D. Power, said in a statement.
J.D. Power's report measured customer care across different channels, including online, walk-in, phone support with a tech rep, and automated response systems. Conducted from January through June, the survey reached 7,373 contract customers and 3,235 non-contract customers.