ISPs, Mobile, Fixed Service Providers at Bottom of Customer Satisfaction Ratings

By Gary Kim August 22, 2013

For whatever reason, suppliers of video services, phone services and even mobile phone services have tended to rank towards the bottom of consumer rankings in “customer satisfaction.” That was true of the May 2013 edition of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) index, for example.

A separate analysis confirms the basics of the issue. Some firms do better than others, but as a class, video entertainment providers and telcos, and now telco-owned ISPs as well, rank in the bottom 10th percentile, according to an analysis by Temkin Group Research.

In fact, the bottom three industries were the mobile, Internet access and video entertainment categories. 

Precisely why that is the case is debatable. One might argue that when consumers get a monthly reminder about the cost of a product they are buying, the risk of annoyance is higher than for a product that is bought episodically.

People might feel they have a choice when making such purchases, so perhaps the satisfaction rankings are higher simply because people have the option to delay or avoid making such purchases.

In parts of the industry that are shrinking, there is another element now at work. To the extent that the most unhappy fixed network voice customers already have left, the remaining customers are those who value the product more, so satisfaction scores could rise. 

Still, few firms in the ISP, mobile or fixed network or video subscription services industries have managed to rise far above their peers. One suspects matters could be different for Google Fiber, though few consumers presently have the ability to buy the product.

For the second straight year, Charter Communications took the bottom spot. The rest of the firms in the bottom five are Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Optimum and CareFirst.

But Verizon, Comcast, Qwest and AT&T also ranked near the bottom, across all industries studied.

Grocery chains, retailers, and fast food chains earned the highest average Temkin Customer Service Ratings, while TV service providers, Internet service providers, wireless carriers, and health plans earned the lowest ratings.

On average, credit card issuers, banks and fast food restaurants improved the most while appliance makers, TV service providers and investment firms declined the most.




Edited by Alisen Downey

Contributing Editor

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