MOBILE phone retailer O2 has beaten six of its high street competitors to top a consumer satisfaction poll.
Phones 4u came second overall in the J. D. Power and Associates annual survey. Orange, Vodafone and The Carphone Warehouse came joint bottom of the poll of more than 2,250 UK consumers.
Store staff and promotions were the two most important factors driving customer satisfaction, the survey showed. This was followed by the store environment.
The rankings were based on the combined results of two surveys.
More than half (57%) of respondents said they were likely to visit the same store again.
Nearly a third (31%) said this was because staff were friendly and helpful. One in five put their willingness to return down to good prices or deals at the store.
Top-ranked retailers O2 and Phones 4u bucked an industry-wide dip in the number of sales staff by employing more people this year.
The two retailers had the highest number of in-store assistants for the network and independent sectors.
A J. D. Power and Associates spokesman said: "The findings showed that high levels of satisfaction play an important role in how likely customers are to recommend the store to others."
The top-ranked retailers O2 and Phones 4u had the highest proportion of customers who would "definitely" recommend the store, at 58% and 55% respectively.
A similar survey in 2004 placed T-Mobile in the overall number one spot followed by O2 in second place, Phones 4u at number three, and The Link in fourth place.
Vodafone came fifth last year, followed by Orange in sixth place and The Carphone Warehouse in last place.
J. D. Power and Associates said the 2004 and 2005 surveys should not be compared because different methodology was used.
The mobile phone retailers were given the following marks out of 1,000, based on personal interviews of 2,258 browsers and buyers at UK mobile phone stores during 2005.
Network stores: 1. O2 - 802; 2. T-Mobile - 779; 3. Orange - 774; 4. Vodafone - 774.
Independent Stores: 1. Phones 4u - 791; 2. The Link - 784; 3. The Carphone Warehouse - 774.