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Verizon: 2015 Customer Service Report Card

Cellphone Support Showdown 2015: Who Wins, Who Loses?
By

If you don't want to visit one of the more than 1,700 brick-and-mortar Verizon Wireless stores, don't worry — the carrier offers a plethora of ways to contact customer support. Besides making a phone call, you can also turn to social media via Facebook and Twitter, load the My Verizon Web page (which offers live chat) or fire up the My Verizon app.

However, Verizon says it wants to create more intuitive resources geared toward self-service. To date, the company has added virtual simulators, video and forums to its repertoire, allowing consumers to get their answers faster. When evaluating Verizon's customer service offerings, we looked at these options in addition to testing the more traditional ways of contacting the company.—Sherri L. Smith

Online Support

Verizon Wireless' website offers plenty of helpful material. Once I logged in with my account, the site presented FAQs, forums, videos and troubleshooting based on my device, a Samsung Galaxy S5. My favorite resource was the Simulator, which allows you to try out functions like sharing media, using S Health or employing selective focus on a virtual device.

Verizon Wireless' online Simulator feature.Verizon Wireless' online Simulator feature.The video service is pretty straightforward, Verizon has an expansive catalog of device- and carrier-specific topics, so consumers can watch and learn. If you'd rather not sign in, you can access the majority of the services, with the exception of Live Chat, which is available 24 hours a day staffed by sales reps and from 6:30 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. ET with customer service reps.

MORE: How Verizon Fared in Our 4G Network Testing

During my initial testing, Live Chat suffered from outages that made it difficult to use the service; however, in subsequent tests, the chat functionality worked fine. After I selected what I wanted to discuss — Using My Device — from the five available options and clicking a bolded tab, a new window opened, and I was speaking with Tamara. I explained that I wanted to transfer photos from the phone to my computer. I appreciated her positivity — she assured me that she "absolutely could" help me. It didn't take long for her to walk me through the process, despite my feigned ignorance.

Social Media Support

Verizon's social media team has your tech support questions covered. I started by tweeting the Verizon Support account, and a rep responded to me in less than 2 minutes, making it one of the fastest carriers to answer our questions via this method. After ascertaining that I needed help with my wireless account, I was directed to Verizon Wireless Support.

Once I was speaking to the correct party, I asked the rep how to change my phone plan online, to which he promptly responded with a friendly greeting and a link to the appropriate page on Verizon's website. Overall, the questions I asked via Twitter were answered quickly and very courteously.

When it's not posting Verizon ads, the Verizon Wireless Facebook page can be pretty helpful. I liked the box that listed the three closest stores to my current location. Verizon's Facebook page also features a Customer Support section that has links for devices, bills, account information, plans and apps.

MORE: Face-off: Samsung Galaxy S6 vs. Apple iPhone 6

If you need to speak to a Verizon rep, you can post a message on the company's Facebook page. Keep in mind, however, that you'll be required to verify your phone number on Facebook and answer a few security questions before chatting with a rep. While I appreciate the dedication to security, I felt like it was a little much just to ask about transferring photos or how to change my plan online.  

Getting answers via Facebook wasn't as speedy as using Twitter. After I provided the necessary information at 11:46 a.m. ET on a Friday, I wasn't contacted again until 2:38 p.m. that day — the longest we had to wait for a Facebook reply from any carrier. Once everything was verified the following Monday, I asked where I could upgrade my current plan at 11:45 a.m. I didn't receive my answer until 12:48 p.m., which was a link pointing me to the Plans section of the Verizon Wireless website.

Phone Support

The My Verizon Mobile app provides some measure of customer support, letting you pay bills and manage data usage, as well as schedule appointments for an in-store visit or sign up for various workshops. However, the app doesn't offer any discernable tech support; for that, you can turn to a living, breathing human through Verizon's support phone line.

Verizon bases its customer service hours on your phone number instead of address or ZIP code. That meant that I could speak to a rep between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. local time (in my case, ET) from Monday through Friday, or 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. I tried calling the service at 11:05 p.m. and instantly received a message informing me of the business hours. The company also has a 24/7 global support number, but that's reserved for international callers, which is good to know if you're traveling. 

Overall, I found Verizon Wireless' phone reps to be personable, patient and knowledgeable. It was nice having a soothing voice on the other end of the line to walk me through my various device crises. My first call was with Danielle at 2:38 p.m. ET to find out how to recover pictures on my phone and transfer them to my computer. After listening to my problem, Danielle walked me through the steps of checking my SD card for data and setting up Verizon Cloud, the company's storage service, which offers 5GB of free storage. (Verizon subscribers with a More Everything plan get 25GB of free storage.)

As we waited for the phone to upload all of my photos, she informed me that she was located in Nashville, Tennessee, and the company had two additional offices — one in Phoenix and one Las Vegas. Once the backup process was complete, my rep quickly helped me transfer photos to my notebook via a micro-USB cable. All in all, the call took 16 minutes and 32 seconds.

MORE: Smartphones with the Longest Battery Life

At 11:32 a.m., I spoke with a second representative, Stacy. She was just as courteous and answered my questions even faster. After I explained my photo dilemma, she quickly instructed me to plug the Galaxy S5 into the computer and walked me through the process of dragging and dropping my pictures. Next, she walked me through the Verizon Cloud setup process. My images were transferred and backed up in less than 10 minutes.

My last call, at 9:30 p.m. ET, lasted a little more than 20 minutes. I asked about a few plans involving a shared account. The rep, Darren, answered my question about figuring out where to upgrade my phone plan online. After reviewing my current plan, we chatted about my potential options and how they related to the breakdown of my current data and minute usage versus those of the other people on my plan. He offered to switch my plan over the phone, but after explaining that I wanted to take the night to think it over, Darren informed me I could switch the plan myself online or call back.

Verizon had the second-longest call times in our carrier tests, though that number reflects the time Verizon spent walking me through the process of uploading photos as well as the thorough response about family plans.

Bottom Line

Whether it's on Twitter or over the phone, Verizon Wireless' customer service is swift and attentive. The company's representatives are knowledgeable and patient, especially over the phone. Although calling a rep takes more time than using Twitter, it's nice to know that you'll get accurate answers from a friendly voice. I just wish the phone support were available around the clock.

Verizon's website has an impressive number of forums, videos and demos offering information about specific devices and the carrier itself. Despite some initial outages with the live-chat feature, I found that you can expect the same level of politeness and speed as with Verizon's other customer support options.

Table of Contents

• Introduction
• AT&T
• Sprint
• Verizon
• T-Mobile
• Cricket
• Boost Mobile
• Virgin Mobile
• Straight Talk
• Metro PCS

Sherri L. Smith is a Senior Writer at Tom's Guide. When she's not reviewing the latest headphones and speakers, you'll find her gaming on her Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or PC. Follow Sherri at @misssmith11. Follow us @TomsGuide and on Facebook.

Display all 5 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    SamAxe , June 11, 2015 8:06 AM
    It seems odd that this review includes both the support knowledge base and the online chat representative experience together in Online Support. Online chat is another method for contacting customer support, like via Phone or Social Media. The support knowledge base is for self-help. I feel like these should be scored separately.
  • 0 Hide
    Gerry Allen , June 11, 2015 10:11 AM
    Hmm...it's odd that the best-rated cellular phone company in the US was left out -- Consumer Cellular. Consumer Reports rates their customer service far above those in this report.
  • 0 Hide
    PhilipMichaels , June 16, 2015 2:03 PM
    Quote:
    It seems odd that this review includes both the support knowledge base and the online chat representative experience together in Online Support. Online chat is another method for contacting customer support, like via Phone or Social Media. The support knowledge base is for self-help. I feel like these should be scored separately.


    It's an interesting point, and one we'll likely consider on future customer service rankings.
  • 0 Hide
    PhilipMichaels , June 16, 2015 2:10 PM
    Quote:
    Hmm...it's odd that the best-rated cellular phone company in the US was left out -- Consumer Cellular. Consumer Reports rates their customer service far above those in this report.


    It didn't make the cut this time out, as it's somewhat of a niche player at this point. We'll likely consider adding new carriers to these rankings as the market evolves.
  • 0 Hide
    jprah , July 7, 2015 11:30 AM
    A unique prepaid service that offers excellent customer service is GIV Mobile. GIV Mobile is an affordable option starting at just $20/month for unlimited talk and text for users who are looking for a no-contract wireless service. Plus, 8% of each customer’s monthly plan amount is donated to up to three charities of their choice. Charities like the Kids in Need Foundation, The Academy of Natural Sciences, the Alzheimer’s Association and more are continuing to receive support by GIV Mobile and their customers.
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