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Slumping customer satisfaction across US comms firms

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), 2015 was a year characterised by lower customer satisfaction across the board, with few exceptions. Of the 43 industries tracked by ACSI, only five improved, while 30 declined and the rest had no change. Cable MSOS were among the lowest-performing companies.

“By and large, the overall customer experience for goods and services purchased and consumed in the United States is getting worse,” said Claes Fornell, Chairman and founder of the ACSI. “There are exceptions, but the overall trend of deteriorating customer satisfaction encompasses nearly every industry and is holding consumer spending in check, forcing retailers into steeper or more extended discounts.”

Facebook was the leader among all companies with gains in customer satisfaction, improving by 12 per cent to a score of 75. That is a big change from 2012 when Facebook scored 61, which put it dead last in the social media category and near the bottom of the ACSI overall. Facebook is also a good example of the relationship between customer and investor satisfaction: Its stock has nearly doubled in the same time frame.

Four of the five companies that suffered the largest drops in customer satisfaction were in the communications sector. Comcast’s subscription TV service plunged 10 per cent to 54 and tied with Spirit Airlines for the second-lowest score in the Index. AT&T’s fixed-line phone service also fell – in this case 10 per cent to 65 – as did VF Corporation (-10 per cent to 76). Internet service provider Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable’s subscription TV service tumbled 9 per cent each to 58 and 51, respectively.

Internet investment services declined the most (-7.3 per cent to 76), followed by personal care and cleaning products (-6.1 per cent to 77), fixed-line telephone service (-5.5 per cent to 69), and Internet search engines and information websites (-5.0 per cent to 76).

The lowest-performing companies in customer satisfaction were in the telecom and airline categories. Among the 12 lowest company scores in the Index, all in the 50s, the vast majority reflected customer dissatisfaction with either Internet service or pay-TV. Subscription TV providers Mediacom Communications and Time Warner Cable shared last place at 51. Comcast’s Internet and pay-TV services received low scores of 56 and 54, respectively.

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