from the bang-up-job dept
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), for example, shows companies like Time Warner Cable and Comcast performing worse than ever. They're doing so badly with consumers, they're rated not only the worst in telecom, but the worst in any U.S. industry. The latest Consumer Reports ratings for pay TV and broadband ISPs back up this narrative, noting that mediocrity was a high bar for the industry in the latest survey findings:
"Only one of 39 Internet providers received a middling score for value, with the remainder failing to reach even that level of mediocrity. TV-service providers also took a beating, with 20 of the 24 companies earning our lowest scores for value; the rest managed to do just a little bit better. Bundles also weren’t deemed especially good deals, since only one of 20 bundled services got an average mark for value—the others all did worse."Take a moment to let that sink in. In broadband, only one ISP managed to be seen as utterly mediocre in terms of offering a decent value. On the TV front, the vast, vast majority of companies scored as poorly as was technically possible. That's the kind of abysmal performance that can only be perfected after a generation's worth of effort. According to Consumer Reports, these ratings are a seven year low for the broadband and television industry.
On a positive note, the study did find that it still pays to haggle with your cable or broadband provider, assuming you live in a semi-competitive market:
"One other finding from the survey: It pays to negotiate. Among the 42 percent who said they tried to negotiate a better deal, 45 percent reported that the provider dropped the bundle price by up to $50 per month, 30 percent got a new promotional rate, and 26 percent received additional premium channels."That only 42% of consumers even try to get a better deal is fairly pathetic. But as cord cutting's slow-trickle-statistics suggest, there are tens of millions of customers that hate nearly everything about cable, yet continue to pay an arm and a leg each month. There are a number of reasons for that: lack of competition, being downright lazy, loving sports, or being a Luddite. The horrible customer service itself has been caused by two things: companies merging and growing too quickly without spending the money necessary to scale their customer service operations, and the lack of competition ensuring things stay that way.
Enter Charter Communications, which is busy promising regulators that all of these problems will magically go away if they're only allowed to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in the industry's latest $60+ billion mega merger. Like beaten house pets, most loyal, older traditional cable customers aren't optimistic that things will change. But as the Consumer Reports survey suggests, with younger demographics veering toward internet video and such choices on the rise in 2015, the clock is ticking for America's love-hate relationship with the legacy pay TV industry.