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J.D. Power: Verizon has the best customer service

Marketing researchers at J.D. Power and Associates dub Verizon the wireless provider with the best customer satisfaction.

It looks like the beginning of 2012 is going to be a piece of a cake for the Verizon Wireless PR team. Unless, you know, something crazy stupid happens.

Last month, RootMetrics dubbed Verizon the top carrier in matters of data coverage. Now today, international marketing research firm and perpetual award giver J.D. Power and Associates named Verizon as the best carrier for customer service.

If this doesn't sound so surprising, that's because Verizon already took home the same title back in July of last year, during the study's first round of surveys. The carrier also won "most reliable" in August, and "top call quality" in March--all awarded by J.D. Power and Associates.

J.D. Power and Associates

For the second portion of this semiannual study, titled "2012 US Wireless Customer Care Performance Full-Service Study--Volume 1," responses were gathered from 9,098 wireless customers who contacted their carriers' customer care departments within the past six months from July through December 2011. Methods of contact included telephoning a representative or an automated response system, visiting a retail store, or going on the carrier's Web site.

According to Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates, researchers considered several factors to measure customer satisfaction, including problem-resolution efficiency and hold-time duration.

For example, transferring a call to another representative, Parsons told CNET, decreases customer satisfaction.

"If you think about it, regardless of what contact channel you go through, you expect that the first person you go through or get a hold of would be able to handle your inquiry," he said.

"The more barriers the customer has to go through to get their problem resolved, the more impact it has on customer satisfaction."

In Verizon's case, the carrier did well to satisfy customers who contacted them via telephone, and it scored 762 points on a 1,000 point scale. Sprint Nextel came in second with 745 points. AT&T and T-Mobile came through with 743 and 739 points, respectively.

As for the carrier who had the best customer service among non-contract service providers, that title would belong to Virgin Mobile, based on the 2,840 customers surveyed for that study. Behind Virgin came Boost Mobile with 701 points and MetroPCS with an even 700.

The study also provided some interesting analysis among 4G customers, who were found to contact customer service more frequently compared to those who own less technologically advanced devices.

Sixty percent of those surveyed owned 4G devices, and those users had a greater tendency to contact their carrier because of network-related issues than non-4G smartphone or traditional/feature phone users. Furthermore, 4G costumers spent an extra 5 minutes per contact, in order to get their 4G-related problem solved.

So what do you think? For those who are on 4G, do you find yourself contacting customer service more often? And if anyone has a good/bad customer service story to rave/rant about for any carrier, we're all ears.