There’s good news, kinda, for cable operators in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index. The industry has stopped the two-year slide in consumer ratings scores with a 3.2% increase for their pay TV services and a 1.6% increase for internet services.
The problem? The scores of 65 for TV and 64 for internet put them at the bottom of the pack among the industries ACSI tracks. They’re less popular than municipal utilities (with a score of 68), health insurance (69), airlines (72), the U.S. Postal Service (73), and internet news and opinion (73).
“It’s not too hard for cable companies to improve when their starting point is the cellar,” ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg says.
Comcast and Time Warner Cable saw the biggest upticks in their TV scores. The industry leader was up 15% to 62, while TWC was up 16% to 59.
ACSI warns that the TWC gains may be short-lived. It was just bought by Charter, whose score at 60 was down 5% from 2015 — and “mergers tend to cause customer satisfaction to deteriorate, at least in the short term.”
Top performers in TV were Verizon FiOS (at 70, -1%), AT&T U-verse (69, flat), AT&T’s DirecTV (68, flat), and Dish Network (67, flat).
The silver lining for the industry is the improvement in numbers for customer service. Call center satisfaction rose 6.5% to 66. Consumers also gave a 77 for “courtesy and helpfulness of store/service center staff,” measured for the first time in 2016.
In internet services Verizon FiOS also ranked No. 1 (73, +7%) followed by Cablevision Systems (69, +13%), Bright House Networks (67, +6%) Time Warner Cable (66, +14%), AT&T U-verse (64, -7%), CenturyLink (63, +5%), Charter (63, +11%), Cox (63, +9%), and Comcast (59, +5%).
The new report also has results for wireless phone providers. It shows T-Mobile (74, +6%) ahead of AT&T Mobility (71, +1%), Verizon Wireless (71, flat) and Sprint (70, +8%),
ACSI’s results come from 12,710 randomly selected customers interviewed in March.