BellSouth (NYSE: BLS) says it has received the highest ranking for local service in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2002 Major Provider Business Telecommunications Services Study.

The Atlanta-based company ranked highest in all seven of the factors or categories that drive overall customer satisfaction.

The factors studied in J.D. Power’s study include performance and reliability, image, sales representatives and account executives, cost of service, billing, offerings and promotions and customer service.

The study indicated that performance and reliability is the most important driver of customer satisfaction, a category in which BellSouth ranked highest in all attributes including clarity of calls, the ability to keep service outages to a minimum and promptness of restoration of service.

J.D. Power: