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11:05 AM -- Residential phone offerings from Cox Communications Inc. , Bright House Networks , and WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) took top "customer satisfaction" honors in their respective regions, according to the latest survey results from J.D. Power and Associates .

Full region-by-region results are available here, but here's how the top three in each region stacked up, based on JD Power's 1,000-point scale, which factors in criteria such as customer service, performance and reliability, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions:

Table 1: Regional Gold, Silver & Bronze
Company Score (East) Score (South) Score (North Central) Score (West)
Cox 689
Cablevision (Optimum Voice) 688
Time Warner Cable 676
Bright House 719
Cox 681
Verizon 669
WideOpenWest 743
Cincinnati Bell 700
TDS Telecom 693
Cox 684
Qwest 657
Verizon 651
Source: JD Power

The study results indicate a rising consumer satisfaction rate over the past two years thanks to fierce competition within the sector. Per J.D. Powers, overall satisfaction averaged 653, an 18-point increase from last year's results.

But despite that improvement, the industry suffered a 10 percent rate of customer defections, versus 9 percent in 2008. Although incumbent MSOs and one competitive "overbuilder" (WOW!) topped each region, not all cable operators fared that well. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Charter Communications Inc. , for example, did not score in the top three of any region.

As consumers become savvier in the type of service rendered, MSOs need to look toward better CRM (customer relationship management) strategies in an increasing competitive landscape. Some of the companies studied, including Cox, have been in the forefront in this area, and that decision appears to be paying dividends.

— Leonard Grace, a cable industry vet, is a telecom strategist and blogger. He can be reached at [email protected]. Special to Cable Digital News

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