Cable, DBS Not Very Satisfying

Cable and satellite providers were among the worst performers in a new edition of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, produced by the University of Michigan with the American Society for Quality and the CFI Group.

The video providers, as a group, scored a 61 on a 100-point scale.

The highest-ranked provider was a tie between direct-broadcast satellite operators DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp., each of which got a 71 in the survey. But the numbers showed that DirecTV’s performance was a 1.4 % decrease from the first quarter of 2003, while EchoStar’s was the same as last year.

The top-ranked cable company was Cox Communications Inc. with a score of 63. It was a new inclusion in the survey. Other ranked cable companies included Time Warner Cable, which scored 60, a 1.6 % decrease from 2003; and Charter Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp., which each scored a 56, a 1.8 % improvement for both since last year.

The video companies are scored in the transportation/utilities/communications portion of the satisfaction index. The best ranking among that sector was earned by FedEx Corp., with an 83 satisfaction score.

Among the other industries that outranked cable’s satisfaction numbers were hotel chains, major airlines, cellular-phone companies and long-distance carriers.

"An exceptional customer experience is key to Charter's success, and to that of the cable-television industry overall," Charter senior vice president Dave Andersen said in a prepared statement. "This said, we're disappointed in the results reported by the ACSI survey. While our customer-satisfaction results are almost two points higher than a year ago, we're not where we need to be, especially given today's discerning customer and the highly competitive marketplace in which we do business."
He continued, "Having now completed a massive rebuild and upgrade of infrastructure, we're focused on redoubling customer-experience initiatives to improve our competitive position with product offerings and customer choices for our voice, video and high-speed-data products."