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US customers satisfaction with TV, internet lowest in seven years

Staff writer |
US customer satisfaction with TV, internet, mobile and fixed line telephone, and computer software, has gone down by 3.4 percent to an ACSI score of 68.8 on a 0 to 100 scale.

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This is the lowest level in seven years, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for 2015.

Customer satisfaction with subscription TV service has further deteriorated, with ISPs scoring at 63, the worst score among the 43 industries covered by the Index, due to poor customer customer service combined with higher prices.

The report showed drops in customer satisfaction for Comcast and Time Warner Cable following their failed merger. Comcast shed 10 percent to a customer satisfaction score of 54 while TWC was named the least-satisfying company in the Index after falling 9 percent to 51, together with Mediacom Communications.

With a 4 percent gain to a score of 71, Verizon’s FiOS service took the lead from DirecTV (-1% to 68) and AT&T’s U-verse (unchanged at 69). Cablevision Systems entered the Index as the highest-scoring large cable company, but it still only tied with Dish Network (67) the lowest-scoring satellite provider. Charter Communications showed the most improvement in the industry (+5% to 63).

Just under two-thirds (61%) of US households have just one or no high-speed ISP servicing their region, with the lack of customer choice contributing to weak customer satisfaction.

Even as internet usage grows, customer satisfaction with ISPs remains unchanged at an ACSI score of 63 and tied with subscription TV for last place among 43 industries. Customers are frustrated with unreliable service, slow broadband internet speeds and rising subscription prices. They also resent being locked into service contracts.

Bucking the trend, AT&T (U-verse) picked up 6 percent to an ACSI score of 69, taking the lead from Verizon (-4% to 68). TWC gained 7 percent to 58. Bright House Networks matches the industry average at 63; Cablevision Systems and Frontier Communications debut at 61.

Meanwhile, decreases were recorded for CenturyLink (-8% to 60), Cox Communications (-9% to 58) and Charter Communications (-7% to 57). Comcast stayed at the bottom of the category, slipping 2 percent to 56.

Customer satisfaction with mobile phones was unchanged at 78, the highest score yet for the industry. Apple and Samsung Electronics topped the ranking, with Apple advancing 1 percent to 80, and Samsung sliding 1 percent, also to 80. Nokia was down 3 percent to 75, falling behind Motorola Mobility (+3% to 79). For BlackBerry, only the most satisfied customers remain, which pushed its score up 5% to 78.

Looking at smartphone devices alone, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 took the lead (86). The iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3 scored 82. The Motorola’s Moto X came next at 81, followed by the LG G3, iPhone 5 and Galaxy S4, all at 80.

In terms of customer satisfaction with mobile telephone services, down 2.8 percent to 70, the aggregate of smaller wireless companies marked the highest customer satisfaction and showed slight improvement (+1% to 79). Smaller companies tend to be no-contract carriers with lower fees, which many customers see as better value.

In its first year as an ACSI-covered company, the prepaid phone provider TracFone Wireless took the lead at 77. Verizon Wireless dropped 5 percent to 71. Both T-Mobile and AT&T improved to tie at 70, while Sprint fell 4 percent to 65.

Customer satisfaction with fixed-line telephone service fell 5.5 percent to 69 as landline usage continues to shrink, with more than 44 percent of homes letting go of fixed-line services in favor of mobile. Despite slipping 3 percent to 76, the average ACSI score of smaller local and long distance providers was better than that of large providers. Vonage and Bright House Networks were near the top of the category (both 73).

CenturyLink dipped 1 percent to 70, while Verizon declined 7 percent to 68. Cox Communications fell 3 percent to tie Verizon while Cablevision Systems entered the Index at 67. AT&T’s landline service suffered the most, down 10 percent to 65, but was still ahead of both Comcast (-4% to 64) and Time Warner Cable (-3% to 63).

Customer satisfaction with software for desktops and laptops fell 2.6 percent to 74m with Microsoft still at the top with a score of 75.

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