Shockingly, Cable TV and Broadband Customer Satisfaction Is Still The Worst In America

from the ill-communication dept

Every few years or so, giant cable and broadband companies like Comcast will proclaim that they've finally seen the light, and will be spending time shoring up their terrible customer service. Like a few years ago, when Comcast proclaimed it had hired a "Customer Experience VP" who would finally make addressing the company's historically terrible customer service a top priority. CEO Brian Roberts also can be found at least once a year claiming that the company is going to finally address the problem by hiring better people, improving support systems, and generally revisiting the company's policies.

But year after year, big cable and broadband companies fail to deliver. Case in point: the latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index was recently released, and ISPs and cable providers continue to see the worst customer satisfaction scores in America. These companies are so bad at what they do, they're routinely bested by even everybody's favorite punching bag: the IRS. When it comes to broadband service on a scale of 100, both Comcast and Charter (Spectrum) continue to see the worst scores in an already terrible sector:

"Internet Service Providers didn’t fare any better than cable companies with the overall industry ratings at the same 62. The only three ISPs with rankings above the average are Verizon FiOS (70), AT&T Internet (69) and Altice (63). At the bottom of the rankings are Frontier (55), MediaCom (56), and Windstream (57). The big cable companies don’t fare well as ISPs – Charter (59) and Comcast (61)."

Things are equally bad on the cable TV front, where despite the rise of competition from streaming providers, incumbent cable ops still can't seem to figure out this whole "treating customers with respect" thing. While most hated industries (airlines) rank in the 70s and more popular brands (Amazon) reach the 80s, cable TV remains struggling in the 50s and 60s:

In the TV sector, the emergence of streaming video has offered consumers some reprieve. Streaming providers like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon routinely rate much higher in customer satisfaction because they give consumers what they've been screaming for for years: lower prices and more flexible channel bundles. Ultimately, cable operators will be forced to actually compete on price, but they're apparently waiting until countless millions of their paying customers have fled to greener pastures before actually seriously overhauling their business models. Still, competition in the TV space is rising either way.

The broadband space is less promising. With no meaningful regulatory oversight and little competition, there's really no incentive to improve customer service or offer a better product in most markets. The focus remains on growth for growth's sake (megamergers) and scale, without scaling customer service in symmetry. The end result should be fairly obvious, given the broadband sector ranks worse than a long list of widely despised sectors like the airline, banking, and insurance industries. That kind of accomplishment requires some serious, sustained elbow grease and the kind of monopoly myopia money simply can't buy.

Filed Under: broadband, cable tv, customer satisfaction
Companies: at&t, charter, comcast, frontier, spectrum, verizon, windstream


Reader Comments

The First Word

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2019 @ 6:33am

    If all you have to worry about is your broadband's customer service, you're fortunate.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Jun 2019 @ 7:01am

    I do not think they know what these words mean...

    "Customer Experience VP"
    "Lobbyist"
    "Competition"
    "Value"
    "AntiTrust Litigation"
    "Federal Oversight"

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2019 @ 7:20am

    "Shockingly"

    Actually, I am shocked.

    How are all of these companies getting scores above 50% satisfaction?

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 17 Jun 2019 @ 7:50am

    2 words

    Regulatory Capture.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2019 @ 8:05am

    only in America, eh? that is surprising!

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

  • icon
    Optical Point (profile), 17 Jun 2019 @ 8:35am

    What Did You Expect?

    Cable Television isn’t as flexible as streaming services. With companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon you can watch any tv show you want without having to worry about the annoyances of satellite dishes that occasionally bug out during a storm. However, even these streaming companies have a flaw of their own. They have the ability to remove a show from their services if they choose to quit showing it on their services. Why would any want their favorite show removed from a streaming service? That’s a rip-off.

    Also, this is my first comment on TechDirt, so I have yet to figure out the kinks and konks of this massive site.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 17 Jun 2019 @ 8:41am

      Re: What Did You Expect?

      "That’s a rip-off"

      No, it's standard business. If content is licensed and the contact is not renewed or the licensor decides to license it to a competitor, they can no longer legally show it.

      The same thing happens all the time every other provider, you just don't notice it on cable because you only see what each channel decides to show in the schedule, instead of a full list of everything they have the rights to broadcast.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Jun 2019 @ 3:53pm

      Re: What Did You Expect?

      Cable Television isn’t as flexible as streaming services.

      Not being as good a service as streaming platforms is part of it to be sure, but given people would rather deal with the IRS than them I'd say the problem is quite a bit larger than just 'not as good as the alternatives'.

      These companies are so bad at what they do, they're routinely bested by even everybody's favorite punching bag: the IRS.

      You have to really work to get your reputation to that point.

      Also, this is my first comment on TechDirt, so I have yet to figure out the kinks and konks of this massive site.

      It's not that complicated really. You appear to already have markdown worked out, make sure to set your comment viewing to 'thread' rather than 'time' to avoid confusion as to who replied to what if you haven't already, and... that should cover most of it really. If you have more questions just ask them and odds are good someone will answer.

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

    • identicon
      Jack Forbodians Troutbridge, 18 Jun 2019 @ 8:19am

      Re: What Did You Expect?

      Also, this is my first comment on TechDirt, so I have yet to figure out the kinks and konks of this massive site.

      First, it's not a "massive site": it's Masnick from the Ivy League, and three or four clowns he pays to re-write to his slant, with a couple dozen fanboys at most, besides obvious astro-turfing.

      If I believe your user name "christiansearight99", then I sincerely advise you to never click in again. Masnick is a corporatist and a globalist. The reasonable veneer that you see is false: he's a Deceiver. -- Don't worry. I'm adequate to drag them into the light and keep them pinned there. [That's why ALL my comments are censored, which they lie and call "hiding".]

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 18 Jun 2019 @ 8:41am

        Re: Re: What Did You Expect?

        I do love it when you try to act superior, even though by your own standards you're far more of a failure than the rest of us. At least the rest of us like being here for the most part. You claim that you spend most of your time shouting at a tiny group of people in a place you visit. All the world's knowledge at your fingertips and you boast about doing less with your life than the average wino.

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

  • identicon
    James Bames, 17 Jun 2019 @ 10:49am

    Ever heard of Smart Circle? Huge part of the problem.

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

  • identicon
    Glenn, 17 Jun 2019 @ 1:04pm

    So, people are still dissatisfied with being screwed? Who knew!

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 17 Jun 2019 @ 1:42pm

    Most corps DONT hire inside.

    these corps dont HIRE inside the company.
    they hire a CEO to hire a 3rd party to do the work. but also only GIVE the 3rd party $$ amount of money to do the job.
    Then that CEO is required to give specs and solutions to common problems, where he gets this stuff, I dont know(probably the tech dept.) What a tech thinks is a problem compared to a User can be Very large.
    so we have 1 CEO, over 20 techs, over 200 maybe 300 Low paid customer service(CS) that read from a book of the only things they are supposed to do. All being paid by what the CEO was given to pay out.
    Ever ask a rich person how much something SHOULD cost?? they have the same answer as the Customer...it should be FREE. but thats A customer, using a service. The people on TOP dont do math very well, and covering a problem, is like answering 1000 phone calls, and trying to get answers from a NON TECH person(idiot).. this is NOT a great job, and you are pulling teeth out of a crocodiles mouth, and NOT rant at a perosn who has no idea what they are doing..

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2019 @ 3:22pm

    Shockingly?! SHOCKINGLY?!?! Why you... If my sarcasm detector was broken I'd be very confused by that!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2019 @ 4:15pm

    Who's guarding the henhouse?

    Interesting(/depressing) to note how none have gotten better and almost all have gotten worse since the FCC shifted to a pro-business, to-hell-with-the-consumer stance in 2017. Providers don't need to care when the "watchdog" likes them.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.