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.