Wide Open West, DirecTV top J.D. Power poll

Wed, 08/15/2007 - 8:47am
Mike Robuck

Wide Open West was tops in one region for customer satisfaction, while DirecTV was rated highest in three regions, according to a J.D. Power and Associates study.

In the North Central region, WOW ranked highest for a second consecutive year with an index score of 729 points, the highest satisfaction score in the study and 21 points higher than the provider’s 2006 score. WOW performs particularly well in the North Central region in all six factors driving overall satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Residential Cable/Satellite Satisfaction Study that was released today.

The study measured customer satisfaction with cable and satellite TV providers in four regions: North Central, East, West and South. Within each segment, six factors were measured to determine overall customer satisfaction: performance and reliability; customer service; cost of service; image; billing; and offerings and promotions. Customer satisfaction with cable/satellite provider performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale.

DirecTV took top honors in the East, West, and South regions. Although the satellite provider ranked highest in the 2003 and 2004 studies, 2007 marked the first year that DirecTV led in the West and South regions, and the second consecutive year it ranked highest in the East since the study was changed to a regional study.

“The cable/satellite market has shifted to a service model based on the voice, video and data triple play,” said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates, in a prepared statement. “As providers focus on putting this new model into practice, service reliability - which includes reception clarity and minimizing the number of outages - is critical in maintaining a satisfied customer base.”

The study found that as service options become more complex and multiple products are bundled into one bill with greater frequency, the importance of performance and reliability has increased considerably among cable/satellite customers - from 19 percent in 2006 to 24 percent in 2007. In addition, service reliability is the most frequently cited reason to switch carriers, with more than 80 percent of customers reporting they would switch for this reason.

The study also cited the power of cable’s triple play bundle with consumers. Currently, 24 percent of cable subscribers were bundling voice, video and data services with their provider on a single bill. Future intention to bundle is also strong among cable customers, with 34 percent indicating they “definitely/probably” would combine all their services - an increase from 33 percent in 2006. Satellite providers that offer voice, video and data bundles though strategic alliances with telephone companies also experience increased demand from customers, as 41 percent of satellite subscribers indicate they “definitely/probably” would combine all their services, compared with 39 percent in 2006.
“We’ve reached a point where the economics of bundling can’t be ignored, and customers are evaluating features and prices and making informed decisions based on their needs and usage patterns,” said Perazzini. “While satellite providers in particular face challenges with offering bundled service options - as they are typically not equipped with the same level of technology as cable providers - their strength lies in the reliability of their service. This is most evident in the regional performance of DirecTV.”
The study also found that 60 percent of satellite and 52 percent of cable customers visit their providers’ Web portal, up from 53 percent and 41 percent, respectively, in 2006.

Nearly one-half of customers use the Internet to pay their bill, with 47 percent for satellite customers and 48 percent for cable customers.


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