New Lows for Time Warner Cable and Comcast;AT&Tand
DIRECTV Drop, but Keep Subscription TV Lead; Samsung Dethrones Apple;
Verizon Excels in Wireless
“The Internet has been a disruptor for many industries, and subscription TV and ISPs are no exception,” says
The ACSI report includes the annual measure of ISPs, subscription TV service, fixed-line and wireless telephone service, computer software and cell phones, as well as detailed findings for the top-selling smartphone brands available to U.S. consumers.
Customer satisfaction is deteriorating for all of the largest pay TV providers. Viewers are much more dissatisfied with cable TV service than fiber optic and satellite service (60 vs. 68). Though both companies drop in customer satisfaction, DIRECTV (-4%) and AT&T (-3%) are tied for the lead with ACSI scores of 69. Verizon Communications FiOS (68) and DISH Network (67) follow. DISH Network may be the lowest-scoring satellite TV company, but it is better than the top-scoring cable company,
Cable giants Comcast and Time Warner Cable have the most dissatisfied customers. Comcast falls 5% to 60, while Time Warner registers the biggest loss and plunges 7% to 56, its lowest score to date.
“Comcast and Time Warner assert their proposed merger will not reduce competition because there is little overlap in their service territories,” says
Internet Service Providers at Rock Bottom Without Much Incentive to Improve
High prices, slow data transmission, and unreliable service drag satisfaction to record lows, as customers have few alternatives beyond the largest Internet service providers. Customer satisfaction with ISPs drops 3.1% to 63, the lowest score in the Index.
At an ACSI score of 71,Verizon’s FiOS Internet service continues to lead the category, surpassing AT&T, CenturyLink and the aggregate of other smaller broadband providers, all at 65. Cable-company-controlled ISPs languish at the bottom of the rankings again.
Samsung Emerges as New Champ in Cell Phones, Verizon Pulls Ahead in Wireless
Customer satisfaction with cell phones is up for a second straight year, rising 2.6% to a new all-time high ACSI score of 78. Steady growth in the use of smartphones, which have much higher levels of customer satisfaction, helps drive the overall industry gain. However, as data usage increases, costs to access overloaded networks are high, leaving customer satisfaction with wireless service providers stagnant at an ACSI score of 72.
While Apple still sells nearly twice the number of smartphones in
“Samsung has gone from up-and-comer to top-of-the-heap on the strength of its smartphone portfolio,” says VanAmburg. “Apple’s magic isn’t gone, but the luster has dulled on its older models. Each iteration improves on the last, but Apple’s year-long product refresh cycle is an eternity when a new Android phone seems to be released every week.”
Among wireless phone providers,
“Consumers once used their cell phones primarily for talking, whereas now smartphones are becoming lifestyle accessories that we just can’t live without,” says Fornell. “But these powerful devices rely on networks that are still playing catch-up with consumer demand.”
Only the Most Satisfied Fixed-Line Phone Customers Remain
Customer satisfaction with fixed-line telephone service dips 1.4% to an ACSI score of 73, but remains the most satisfying of all types of telecommunications. However, the score is due to shrinking landline usage. As more households abandon fixed-line service for cell phones, the customers that remain tend to be the most satisfied.
PCs Dwindle but Microsoft Still Computer Software Giant
Computer software customer satisfaction is stable at an ACSI score of 76. Microsoft inches up 1% to 75, as does the aggregate of smaller software makers, but not enough to impact the industry as a whole. The rise of tablets and mobiles remains a challenge for traditional software makers looking to appeal to a new generation of consumers.
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The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in
ACSI results are released throughout the year, with all measures reported on a scale of 0 to 100. ACSI data have proven to be strongly related to a number of essential indicators of micro and macroeconomic performance. For example, firms with higher levels of customer satisfaction tend to have higher earnings and stock returns relative to competitors. Stock portfolios based on companies that show strong performance in ACSI deliver excess returns in up markets as well as down markets. And, at the macro level, customer satisfaction has been shown to be predictive of both consumer spending and GDP growth.
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Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)