Broadband

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
broadband, competition, customer service

Companies:
comcast



Study Shows Comcast Sucks Just A Tiny Bit Less This Year

from the from-awful-to-just-really-bad dept

The good news for Comcast? The latest edition of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) indicates that the nation's largest cable company actually has a slightly better customer satisfaction rating than last year. The bad news? Comcast remains among the worst-rated companies of any industry in America thanks to limited competition. According to the firm's full ratings for cable providers, Comcast saw an eight point rise in customer satisfaction, thanks in part to crazy ideas like actually showing up on time for appointments and a website that actually works.

However, Comcast's score of 62 still falls notably below the industry average score of 65, and even further below companies that people actually like -- such as Apple (81) or Amazon (83). Still, Comcast's improvement shows that the company's now annual promise to improve customer service isn't entirely hot air, even as Comcast relentlessly pursues ideas that customers loathe -- like usage caps, or the $50 per month fee Comcast now charges to avoid them.

Overall, the report notes that the cable and broadband industries continue to struggle with low satisfaction ratings due to the general lack of competition, especially in the broadband sector. And as companies (like Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks) continue to merge, the ACSI issues a warning that things can, and usually do, get worse:
"Charter Communications and Cox Communications each fall by 5% to 60 and 59, respectively. Time Warner Cable, on the other hand, surges 16% to an ACSI score of 59. Despite this big jump, TWC’s score is still low. The Charter-TWC-Bright House merger will bring together more than 25 million customers—making the new entity the second-largest pay TV operator after Comcast. ACSI improvement notwithstanding, both Charter and TWC still lag the majority of the industry. This does not bode well for customers, especially those of Bright House, as mergers tend to cause customer satisfaction to deteriorate, at least in the short term."
And while Comcast certainly should be applauded for actually trying, a company going from incredibly awful to just really bad doesn't exactly warrant champagne.

Without improving the volume of competition Comcast faces in the lion's share of its broadband markets, there's just no real incentive to work too hard to make consumers happy or spend much more on customer support. And despite pockets of progress courtesy of municipal broadband and Google Fiber, overall things are actually getting less competitive in many areas. AT&T and Verizon continue to back away from unwanted DSL customers they refuse to upgrade, providing many cable providers with a stronger local monopoly than ever before.

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  • identicon
    Michael, 6 Jun 2016 @ 6:30am

    Are we sure the rating got better, or is it possible that they have just started excluding people with bad credit ratings from the numbers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 6 Jun 2016 @ 6:42am

    So their aggressively awful quality is now only aggressively bad. Come on Comcast, you can do worse!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2016 @ 6:52am

    So now Comcast is so sucky that they suck at sucking?

    This sucks.

    Come on, Comcast you have to be the best at something..why not be the best at being evil?

    After all you routinely triple bill the elderly, the recently deceased and their families, allow your employees to rape customers in their homes and say the customer was 'asking for it' etc etc etc

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2016 @ 7:17am

    Cue the spin machines "The Nations Most Improved Cable Company Customer Service" campaign...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 8 Jun 2016 @ 5:14am

      Re:

      It's not even that; Comcast only went up eight points, Time-Warner Cable went up sixteen. It's just that TWC started from so far behind that even that big a jump still leaves it three points behind Comcast.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Robert L, 6 Jun 2016 @ 7:26am

    Better by comparison...

    Perhaps they just appear better because Frontier is in the game now

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2016 @ 7:33am

    Comcast's long game

    Maybe they drove off enough customers the only ones left are the masochists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 6 Jun 2016 @ 6:45pm

      Re: Comcast's long game

      Possible but unlikely, given the prime reason they feel safe treating their customers like crap is because there are no other alternatives to go to. You either get your internet from them or you don't get your internet, period.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2016 @ 7:50am

    Might that rating be more from people switching to a different company than any real positive change?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2016 @ 8:17am

    Doesn't fix the monopoly problem.

    The argument the FCC seems to be trying to dance around these days, is that common carriage regulations need to be different for the cabal because the value added services they built create distinct needs.

    The assumption that is wrong, is that Comcasts "value added" services actually add value. They may for Comcast, but they don't for GDP, or the people of the United States.

    Value added services from the Cabal constrain the evolution of end node services and product markets. Nobody is willing to invest in end node services because of the comparative advantage held by the carrier.

    It doesn't matter if Comcasts customer service improves from wet turd to dry turd. These companies will continue to constrain the evolution of natural market forces on the Internet as long as they diversify into products above OSI layer 3.

    They suck at managing anything above OSI layer 3. They will NEVER be good at it, because they will never have competition there. This market space is crying out for running room to develop. The FCC's failure to differentiate regulation below and above layer 3, rigs the market in favor of the carrier, endowing regulatory capture over a sector that would otherwise encapsulate thousands of small business's. Instead, right now, tumbleweeds.

    This market wants to explode. The Cable cabal is preventing it from happening, and spinning a whirlwind of bullshit to prevent anybody from catching a clue. Congress flies a kite, and the FCC shakes it's head quietly.

    ISP's aggregate dozens of completely distinct business models. Applying macro theory to them doesn't work, because they aren't large companies. They are many, many, many small ones in aggregate. So "telecom sector" is a market concept like "cloud" is a technical concept, or like "god" is an ethical concept. The diffusion of logic in the abstraction, exceeds the clarity created by it.

    In turn, regarding services above, and below layer 3 in a single framework of regulation, is a fallacy of composition. Yes, Comcast is diverse in its services. THAT'S THE PROBLEM.

    You cannot fix this without breaking them up. Content or Carrier. Pick ONE.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2016 @ 11:59am

    Comcast remains among the worst-rated companies of any industry in America thanks to limited competition.
    My experience has been that quite a few companies are competing to have the worst ratings. Comcast just has more experience at making customers miserable and has the scale to put that experience to the best possible use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 6 Jun 2016 @ 12:52pm

    TWC definitely not getting any better.

    Just helped my Mom switch away from TWC because of poor customer service and her service regularly going out because they wouldn't maintain their lines. AT&T ran her a new line after discovering that their old one was crap too (shock!), and while they're not really any better, at least she's paying $100 less a month for a year or two.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 6 Jun 2016 @ 5:00pm

    So They Are Not Exactly The Dyson Of ISPs, Then ...

    ... since they are capable of losing at least SOME vacuum ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jun 2016 @ 5:25pm

    Thanks for being there Karl. You're preaching to the choir,t than

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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