Despite being a central part of consumers’ lives, TV and Internet providers have low customer service rates compared with other industries, with some of the biggest companies scoring near the bottom, according to Consumer Reports National Research Center’s latest survey.
“In terms of the services we rate, it was the one of the worst among customer satisfaction. [The scores] were middling across the board,” Glenn Derene, electronics editor for Consumer Reports, tells Marketing Daily. He added that scores were particularly low when it came to perceived value. “When you factor it all together, people really believe they’re not getting their money’s worth. They think TV shouldn’t cost that much.”
Among the lowest in customer satisfaction were Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which scored 15th and 16th, respectively, out of the 17 television providers included in the rankings. Both companies scored particularly poorly when it came to value and customer support. (They also only scored middling rankings for Internet services.) Comcast earlier this year proposed a $45 billion takeover of Time Warner, which Derene says may not bode well for consumers.
“If you take two low-scoring companies and combine them together, are you going to get improved customer service?” he asks rhetorically.
Though no company scored particularly well in customer satisfaction, the smaller companies such as WOW! and Suddenlink topped the list, perhaps because their smaller nature is more customer-service oriented, Derene says.
The good news, if any, is that these companies are still willing to negotiate when it comes to products and services. For consumers seeking a better value, negotiating with the customer representative on the other end of the line could yield results, Derene says.
“Our advice is to negotiate,” he says. “Even though [the industry] has talked about cracking down on serial negotiators, 92% of those who negotiated got some sort of deal.”
The ratings for the in-home telecom services, which are highlighted in the May issue of Consumer Reports, were based on responses from more than 81,000
Consumer Reports readers to the National Research Center’s 2013 Telecommunications Service survey.
"Person angry at TV" photo from Shutterstock.