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Cable Customer Service Still Stinks

In new study, US consumers rate cable TV providers at bottom of the pack for customer service.

Mari Silbey

August 22, 2013

2 Min Read
Cable Customer Service Still Stinks

Trader Joe's could teach the cable industry a thing or two about customer service.

In a new report out by the customer research firm Tempkin Group, cable companies took four out of the bottom five rankings for customer service satisfaction. Television services fared worse than Internet services, with TV offerings from Charter Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable Inc., Cox Communications Inc., and Cablevision Systems Corp. scoring at the very bottom of the Tempkin report.

Conversely, grocery chains, retailers, and fast-food joints averaged the highest scores across the industries profiled, with USAA (insurance carrier and bank), Ace Hardware, Chick-fil-A, and Trader Joe's among the top 10 companies ranked.

Clearly, cable providers still have a major image problem as far as customer satisfaction is concerned. Even when compared solely to satellite and telecom competitors, the largest cable operators tend to get poor marks for service delivery. In the last J.D. Power and Associates study of US pay-TV providers, the top MSOs consistently ranked at the lower end of the satisfaction scale across geographic regions.

While there's no quick fix for cable's customer service problem, operators are hoping they can improve performance over time with the help of big-data. The call center analytics firm Nexidia Inc. says it now processes 70,000-plus hours a day of customer service calls from some of the largest cable companies in the country. Nexidia turns that audio into data, which in turn is analyzed so that operators can optimize sales campaigns and customer service. The company says it has 50 to 60 percent of the cable market in its customer list. (See: Cable Embraces Big Data.)

— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

About the Author(s)

Mari Silbey

Senior Editor, Cable/Video

Mari Silbey is a senior editor covering broadband infrastructure, video delivery, smart cities and all things cable. Previously, she worked independently for nearly a decade, contributing to trade publications, authoring custom research reports and consulting for a variety of corporate and association clients. Among her storied (and sometimes dubious) achievements, Mari launched the corporate blog for Motorola's Home division way back in 2007, ran a content development program for Limelight Networks and did her best to entertain the video nerd masses as a long-time columnist for the media blog Zatz Not Funny. She is based in Washington, D.C.

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