Despite Claiming It's Now On Par With Apple, Comcast's Already Bad Satisfaction Ratings Are Actually Getting Worse
from the frying-pan,-fire dept
Like clockwork, every few months you’ll see a Comcast executive pop up like a meerkat to proclaim the company has seen the error of its ways, and will henceforth focus on dramatically improving its historically abysmal customer service. In 2014, that involved the well-hyped hiring of a new “customer experience” VP who was supposed to “reimagine the customer experience and ensure that we are delighting our customers at each touch point.” But these heavily-marketed promises are never matched by measurable improvements in satisfaction studies, where Comcast remains among the worst companies in any industry when it comes to customer satisfaction and support.
In fact, despite these promises by Comcast, things are somehow getting worse.
The well-respected American Consumer Satisfaction Index ranks customer satisfaction across 43 different industries. Their latest rankings of pay TV providers has found that Comcast has slipped four points in the ACSI rankings, from 62 to 58. That fall places it as the second worst-ranked cable TV provider in the United States — six points worse than the already-bad national average for cable TV providers, and thirteen points lower than industry leader Verizon FiOS:
That’s a different story than the one Comcast keeps telling the press, featuring a supposed relentless dedication to shoring up customer service and support. For example, a company executive recently told the Chicago Tribune that Comcast’s evolution is moving along so nicely, execs don’t even think of Comcast as a cable company any longer — but as a premiere technology brand more in line with Google and Apple:
“We don’t see ourselves as a cable company,” (Comcast exec Matt) Strauss said. “We see ourselves as a technology and communication-entertainment company, much more in the consideration set of Apple and Google than more of the traditional cable and satellite providers.”
Except consumers don’t agree. If you check out Apple’s ratings in those same ACSI rankings for cell phone manufacturers, perhaps you can spot a slight difference:
In fact, Comcast is not only nowhere in the same universe as Apple when it comes to customer satisfaction, but the ACSI indicates that most government agencies are more liked than Comcast, including the IRS (at least for individual filers). That’s not a particularly impressive feat for a company that has pledged, every six months or so for the better part of the last decade, that it’s working tirelessly to fix the cable industry’s justifiably abysmal reputation for service.
Of course there’s an obvious reason Comcast doesn’t really improve: it doesn’t have to. Cable’s customer satisfaction problems originate with the focus on prioritizing growth at all cost. And, once large, these companies ensure that when they “compete” it’s traditionally of the wink-wink, nudge-nudge variety. And as telcos refuse to spend the money needed to upgrade lagging DSL networks, Comcast is slowly but surely building a growing monopoly over fixed-line broadband service, allowing it to impose extremely unpopular usage caps and overage fees (glorified, unnecessary rate hikes) and turn a blind eye to consumer complaints.
And with the current FCC looking to gut everything from media consolidation restrictions to privacy and net neutrality consumer protections, you can expect a hell of a lot more of this particular brand of dysfunction in the years to come.