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TWC: We’ll try harder

Wed, 05/21/2014 - 12:32pm
Mike Robuck

With their $45 billion merger making the regulatory rounds, the last thing Comcast and Time Warner Cable needed was a very public black eye in American Customer Satisfaction Index survey (ACSI), which was released yesterday.

To recap, Time Warner Cable finished dead last in customer satisfaction for both its video and data services while Comcast was second to last in the same catagories in the survey.

On the video side, Comcast and Time Warner Cable dropped 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively, in the survey’s video customer satisfaction rankings. On a 100-point scale, Comcast scored a 60 while Time Warner Cable came in last at 56, which was the latter’s lowest score to date. (Comcast has at least added video subscribers over the past two quarters, and its next gen X1 platform will be more widely available this year with additional features, so maybe there’s hope for a better score next year.)

For broadband services, Comcast (57) and Time Warner Cable (54) scores dropped 8 percent and 14 percent, respectively, from the previous year.

Time Warner Cable’s Andrew Russell, senior director, corporate communications took to the company’s blog yesterday to proclaim in a headline that “We’re not satisfied with results of the customer satisfaction index.” (Russell didn’t get into the specific scores or rankings, but did provide a link to the ACSI’s survey results that went to DSLreports.com.)

Russell defended Time Warner Cable’s customer service efforts, talked up the TWC TV app and pointed out that company is starting to offer a 300 Mbps down, 20 Mbps up data tier, which so far has launched in parts of Los Angeles and New York City 

“We’re not satisfied with these results and are working every day to deliver a superior customer experience,” Russell wrote. “Customers now have a wider variety of choices for interacting with us: phone, email, live chat, social media, mail and, yes, in person at one of our cable stores. We’ve flipped the ‘cable guy’ cliché on its head by introducing one-hour appointment windows and resolving the vast majority of customer-service issues in one day.”

Customer service has long been an Achilles’ heel of the cable operator industry with both Time Warner Cable and Comcast banging the drum loudly over the past few years on the improvements they’ve made.

But since perception is largely reality these days, the ACSI report was ill-timed for the two companies that are trying to convince regulatory bodies, consumer groups and customers that their merger, which they hope to wrap up by year’s end, is a good thing all the way around.

Time Warner Cable vowed to do better, again.

“If the ACSI report is any indicator, it’s clear we have a ways to go,” Russell wrote. “To that end we are firmly committed to connecting our customers to the things that matter most in their lives – simply, reliably and with superior service.”

In the comments section of Russell’s post, “Knute Millican” wasn’t buying it:

“You want product improvement???? Try investing in decent DVRs that do not continually go on the blink (stall out during playbacks–even after reboots which just moves the stall points). Providing fair pricing—really? Same rental fee for HD Set top as HD DVR set top—-Please. Standard TV includes all channel of Starter TV yet we have to pay for both? Really, have to pay for the guide for every box on a single account? Just to name a few of the corporate 'customer experience” priorities.'”

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