Shockingly, Streaming Providers Are Dominating Cable At Customer Satisfaction

from the innovation-nation dept

It’s really no secret that traditional cable and broadband providers have some of the worst customer satisfaction of any companies in America. Comcast and Charter (Spectrum) in particular can usually be found stumbling around in last place in most satisfaction and support rankings. That’s been particularly true of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which routinely shows cable and broadband providers rank consistently worse than nearly any other company in any industry in America. In fact, these companies even tend to be ranked worse than Americans’ experiences with government agencies like the IRS.

And despite seemingly bi-annual promises by these companies that customer service is their top priority (remember when Comcast promised a new “Customer Experience VP” would fix everything?), it’s actually getting worse.

According to the latest ACSI report, high prices, bloated cable bundles, and terrible customer service continue to leave customers angry and frustrated:

“Customer satisfaction with subscription television service falls 3.1 percent to an ACSI score of 62, an 11-year low as the industry faces a seismic shift of subscribers defecting to lower-cost online video streaming services. In response, many cable and telecom companies are offering new Internet TV streaming in addition to legacy pay TV, but cord cutting continues.”

While some cable companies have finally realized the error of their ways and begun offering less expensive, more flexible streaming alternatives (Dish’s SlingTV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now), by and large the mindset of the cable industry remains focused on doubling down on a lot of the dumb ideas (predominately aggressive price hikes) that brought them to this point in the first place.

For example Charter Communications, which has been pummeling consumers with price hikes in the wake of its $89 billion merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, took a particularly steep tumble during these latest satisfaction ratings for traditional cable providers:

The same story is playing out with broadband ISP satisfaction ratings, where limited competition often results in high prices as well:

It’s worth noting that this year was the first year the index ranked streaming video alternatives, and (shockingly) the companies that are now offering lower prices, more flexible and innovative services, and better customer service are doing significantly better than traditional cable. Netflix, Sony PlayStation Vue, and Twitch all saw scores of 78, and the lowest rated streaming provider (Crackle at 68) was still rated better than nearly all traditional TV providers:

And while cord cutting is expected to break records this year, that’s not to say that cable providers can’t turn things around. Industry executives simply have to stop pretending that the traditional TV cash cow will live forever, and begin to compete by offering cheaper, more flexible options with better customer support. The bottom line many cable executives can’t acknowledge is: competition simply means TV isn’t going to be as profitable as it used to be, and they’re going to have to actually try now. You can either get out ahead of this phenomenon now through adaptation, or continue doubling down on the same bad ideas that resulted in record cable TV customer defections in the first place.

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Companies: charter, comcast, netflix, time warner

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Comments on “Shockingly, Streaming Providers Are Dominating Cable At Customer Satisfaction”

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Ninja (profile) says:

“and they’re going to have to actually try now”

Barely. They can impose unforgiving data caps and exempt their own services. So they have to try just a tiny little bit.

Still, I have this feeling that if I hired Naruto (the monkey) to handle customer service it would do a better job than those telcos. Providing PETA didn’t sue on behalf of the monkey.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Microsoft ranked above Google! -- Your data is invalid.

you can’t compete with free!

I disagree. "Free" often means "crappy", "hard to use" and/or "malware risk" when it comes to free media on the net. You can compete with that by being reasonably priced and offering a safe, easy way to access high quality content.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Can be, but not always

Free doesn’t necessarily mean ‘lower quality’, and can in fact mean higher quality if the paid for version is say infected by DRM that makes the product worse, DRM which is stripped out by those fiendish copyright infringers.

As noted by an old article on TD, saying you can’t compete with free is basically saying you can’t compete at all, because odds are good you already are. Whether that free alternative comes in the form of unauthorized versions of your own stuff or free stuff from other people odds are good there are alternatives, and it’s up to you to add value to convince people to give you money rather than taking one of those alternatives, such as using the methods you listed(safe, easy, cheap).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Microsoft ranked above Google! -- Your data is invalid.

Can you watch Game of Thrones on any of those? How about any other popular series or film? Those may provide “free” content (if you’re watching ads then “free” is debatable) but quite possibly not the content you want to watch. That’s where the pirate sites come into play.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Microsoft ranked above Google! -- Your data is invalid.

All the major streaming sites are hostile towards Linux users, also I avoid DRM laden products and breaking the law. I am a lost cause as far as big content is concerned, as I totally ignore their content, in favor of content from those who welcome an audience

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Microsoft ranked above Google! -- Your data is invalid.

YES and YES! YouTube probably hosts far more “pirate” content than everyone else put together. Most of Youtube’s “hot” contraband are private videos that require a direct link to access. Getting the links can require a paid membership to one of numerous “black” sites.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: You and your Google obsession...

If the content was all that mattered then there wouldn’t be a large difference in customer satisfaction between subscription tv vs streaming options. That there is(and not a small one) shows that your claim is bunk, and in fact quality of the service is what’s being measured here, not merely the content on it.

Still, thanks for another laugh.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Microsoft ranked above Google! -- Your data is invalid.

“This is no more than popularity of the content, not delivery system, most of which is carried by what? Cable companies.”

You mean all those dis-satisfied comcrap customers are wrong?
They actually like their isp and lie about it … why would they do that?

AnonCow says:

This is why the broadband industry is trying so desperately to stop communities from building their own broadband service.

Once I can buy gigabit from my community ISP and run YouTube TV over it, Comcast goes from being a broadband provider to a content provider thru its ownership of media properties like NBC/Universal which would destroy its market valuation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Shockingly?

In other news, the New England Patriots surprisingly dominated in their charity football game against the Boston Red Wings, Usain Bolt shockingly managed to outrace Michael Phelps in a 100-metre sprint, and “None of the Above” flabbergastingly rated higher for trustworthiness than a long list of politicians.

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