Customer Satisfaction With ISPs, Pay TV the Lowest of Any Industry
Satisfaction with the industry paled beside other types of household services, said the report; utilities, for example, averaged a 76 and fixed-line telephone service a 73. "High prices, poor reliability and declining customer service are to blame for low customer satisfaction with pay TV services," states the report. "The cost of subscription TV has been rising 6 percent per year on average—four times the rate of inflation." Customers have new choices, though, in services from companies such as Netflix and Amazon; paired with service and pricing complaints, the industry saw its "first-ever net loss of television service subscribers for the full year in 2013," said the ACSI. In regard to ISPs, TWC again showed the most precipitous drop, declining 14 percent from 63 in 2013 to 54 this year."Comcast and Time Warner assert their proposed merger will not reduce competition because there is little overlap in their service territories. Still, it's a concern whenever two poor-performing service providers combine operations," ACSI Director David VanAmburg said in a statement. "ACSI data consistently show that mergers in service industries usually result in lower customer satisfaction, at least in the short term," VanAmburg continued. "It's hard to see how combining two negatives will be a positive for customers." The only areas where customers found the benchmarks of their ISP experience to have improved were the speed of data transfers and the quality of video streaming. Satisfaction fell in areas including the ability to keep service interruptions to a minimum, the ease of understanding bills, the quality of all non-video services, performance during peak hours and call center experiences. Nearly three-quarters of all U.S. households now have broadband Internet connections, which is more than the number with landline telephones, said the report. As the number of Internet users increases, however, "Customer satisfaction with the service retreats." Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.
Comcast fell 8 percent to 57, while Charter and Cox each fell 6 percent to scores of 61 and 64, respectively. Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse managed to remain static, with scores of 71 and 65, respectively.