WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA. — BellSouth finished first in business customer satisfaction for both local and long distance phone service, according to a new study from J.D. Power and Associates.

Satisfaction is measured based on seven criteria: performance and reliability; billing; sales representatives/account executives; company image; cost of service; offerings and promotions; and customer service.

On a 1,000-point scale, BellSouth received a 701 score for local service and a 724 score for long distance.

Overall customer satisfaction among those surveyed dropped 26 index points, to 700, for long distance service and 45 points, to 678, for local service.

“Uncertainties in the telecommunications industry — such as acquisitions and mergers — have created several challenges for providers when it comes to raising customer confidence and satisfaction,” said Steve Kirkeby, executive director of telecommunications and technology at J.D. Power and Associates.

The study, which includes results from 8,911 customers, also found that 40 percent of long distance customers and 43 percent of local service customers are likely to choose to bundle services from one provider. Those were increases of 2 percentage points and 5 percentage points respectively.

Rankings among local service providers were: BellSouth 701; MCI (now part of Verizon) 685; Verizon 684; AT&T 679; Sprint 666; Qwest 638.
Rankings among long distance providers were: BellSouth 724; Verizon 717; AT&T 700; Sprint 693; MCI (now part of Verizon) 689; Qwest 662.

J.D. Power & Associates: www.jdpower.com