Failures

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
customer satisfaction

Companies:
apple, comcast



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.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 6:41am

    but the ACSI indicates that most government agencies are more liked than Comcast, including the IRS

    Well, yeah. The IRS takes less of my money and I think I get better valued products and services in return.

    In fact, they even give me money back that's rightfully mine with less of a fight.

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

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 6:54am

    Wrong Apple

    Apple was the name for a failed above-ground nuclear test in 1955. The primary failed, yielding much less than the predicted 40 kt. They later succeeded with Apple-2.

    All it succeeded in doing was helping to irradiate millions of Americans and drive up cancer rates. As such, Comcast may indeed get higher satisfaction ratings from Americans.

    But probably not.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 7:05am

    "We don't see ourselves as a cable company,"

    Most of your customers completely agree.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 7:06am

    Apple gets a lot of shit from people but I've never once heard anyone excited to be getting a new Comcast service.

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

  • icon
    rangda (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 7:17am

    Customer service to the press release

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

  • icon
    profssrfink (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 8:13am

    LOL

    Apple and Google have loyal followers and spend an awful amount of time and energy providing customer service that leaves the customer feeling generally pleased with the service. Is Comcast actually saying that going into a Comcast store is equivalent to going into an Apple store? Seriously I hate going out to the mall, but I have never left an Apple store pissed or wondering why my life sucks balls all of a sudden.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 8:21am

    While they have a long way to go to get the fans that Apple has, without net neutrality they have a chance of catching up, by exercising the same degree of control over what appears on their platform.

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

  • identicon
    Jordan Chandler, 25 May 2017 @ 8:37am

    anecdote

    I know this is purely anecdotal but I've never had an issue with Comcast and their customer service people are always nice, but I can't help but feel they're awful as a company,

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

    • icon
      profssrfink (profile), 25 May 2017 @ 9:53am

      Re: anecdote

      I used to have issues. My last contract with them ran out. I moved to an area that did not offer their service. They were polite. But I did receive about 3 follow up calls asking why I cancelled when I clearly explained why when I cancelled. Just plain stupidity.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 12:09pm

        Re: Re: anecdote

        I cancelled internet service from CC and they have not called asking me why - even though I am in a "loyal" area.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2017 @ 6:21pm

    When you have a problem that requires you call Comcast, they have a recording ask if you'd like to fill out a customer survey on the phone after you've spoken to the service rep. The questions the survey asks are very pointedly just about the service rep--if you say you're not happy, you are specifically saying that you are not happy with that person you just spoke to--and many of the reps are doing the best they can in a terrible job situation. The survey never, ever asks if you have any problems with Comcast at large. They are never interested in their customers' opinions on the big picture.

    My number one problem with Comcast wasn't so much the (admittedly mediocre, and I'm setting a low bar) service, it was always price creep: every year, my bill would jump 25% to 30% higher for no reason. Just inexorable price mark ups every year, for no reason other than another year had passed.

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

  • identicon
    Martin Sorry, 25 May 2017 @ 11:36pm

    Dense

    "reimagine the customer experience and ensure that we are delighting our customers at each touch point."

    Ha ha, it was obvious before they started that anything resulting from that nonsense would be a great big steaming pile of shit.

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

  • icon
    WillSee (profile), 26 May 2017 @ 5:06am

    Comcast announces customer service improvement

    Remember that there are only two times a Comcast representative will lie to you:

    1) When his/her lips are moving.
    2) When his/her lips are not moving.

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


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