Most of us couldn't imagine life without our cable or satellite TV, high-speed Internet access and wireless communications. They've become basic utilities, and we pay handsomely for them. Yet, we aren't very satisfied with the service we get.
According to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), customer satisfaction with subscription TV (cable, satellite and fiber optic service) and Internet service providers continues to decline.
Satisfaction with pay TV fell 4.4 percent, to an ACSI score of 65 (on a 100-point scale), while ISPs—which include many of the same companies—dropped 3.1 percent to 63. These are the lowest scores of all 43 industries tracked by ACSI.
"Customers question the value proposition of both, as consumers pay for more than they need in terms of subscription TV, and get less than they want in terms of Internet speeds and reliability," said Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder.
The survey finds that customers are much more dissatisfied with cable TV than with fiber-optic and satellite service. Dish Network (67), the lowest-scoring satellite TV company, still rates higher than the best cable company, Cox Communications (63). Comcast (parent company of CNBC) (60) and Time Warner Cable (56) have the most dissatisfied customers.
ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg noted that for the last decade or so, the price of these communications services has been rising much faster than inflation. Some households, especially people living in an apartment, now pay more for TV and Internet service each month than they do for gas and electric.
Another complaint: When there is a service issue, the customer service experience is not very good.
"These are not companies that do a very good job of providing good call center customer care or good face-to-face customer care," VanAmburg said.