The American Customer Satisfaction Index survey targets consumers to see how positively or negatively they feel about services and products they purchase or subscribe to. Cable TV provider Charter Communications leaped 8% this past year, finishing with a 64 score out of 100 and placing second to Cox Communications among cable TV providers. Charter’s was the biggest gain, and Time Warner Cable had the biggest decline, dropping 5% from the previous year.
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Overall, the subscription TV industry gained about 3%, ending a three-year run of stagnant customer satisfaction to finish the year with a rating of 68, according to ACSI. That rise was due mostly to improvements at telco video and satellite TV providers. Among TV service providers, those offering service via fiber-optics or satellite earned the highest points for customer satisfaction – on average fiber-optic/satellite TV service providers averaged a 72 score versus 63 for cable providers.
FiOS led the telco group with a 73 rating, down 1% for the year, which DirecTV logged a 72 rating and AT&T’s U-Verse service rated a 71. Dish Network gained 1% in the period to finish with a 70 rating.
“While nearly 90% of households have some form of TV subscription, the industry is facing small, but growing, competition from Internet video streaming,” ACSI director David VanAmburg said in a statement. “The industry’s pattern of yearly price increases, coupled with sporadic reliability, keeps customer satisfaction low relative to other household services and vulnerable to new technologies that enter the market.”
Subscription TV customers give picture quality strong ratings for both HD and basic resolution, but find call center service to be lacking compared with most other industries, according to the ACSI report.
ACSI began rating Internet Service Providers for the first time this year, and ISPs debuted with a customer satisfaction benchmark of 65—the lowest score among 43 ACSI industries.
“High monthly bills combined with problems across a broad spectrum of customer experience benchmarks—such as service reliability, data transfer speed and video-streaming quality—leaves customers less than satisfied with their ISP service,” said ACSI founder and chairman Claes Fornell in a statement. “But in a market even less competitive than subscription TV, there is little incentive for companies to improve.”
Charter’s gain, along with the small gains made by other cable companies, show that the sky is not necessarily falling in the world of cable TV providers. More on this story as it develops from the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.