Customer Satisfaction With Pay TV Services Improves Slightly, Remains Low

ACSI-customer-satisfaction-information-sector-may2013Customer satisfaction with pay TV providers remains relatively low, although it has increased slightly after remaining flat for 3 consecutive years, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The index for subscription TV services rose a couple of points from last year’s 66 to 68 on ASCI’s 100-point scale. By comparison, satisfaction with cell phone manufacturers stands at 76, fixed line phone service providers are at 74, and wireless phone service providers are at 72. Among the information sector categories, only Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have a lower score than pay TV services this year, debuting on the index at a score of just 65.

Looking first at pay TV services, Verizon FIOS kept its lead with a score of 73, but slipped a point from 2012. DIRECTV, by virtue of a 4-point jump, was right behind FIOS, with a rating of 72. Charter Communications, last year’s industry laggard, improved 5 points to a score of 64, while Time Warner Cable dropped 3 points to an industry-worst 60.

Despite pay TV providers’ overall increase in customer satisfaction levels this year, the continuing low rates of satisfaction ought to be a troubling sign, particularly amidst reports that cord-cutting is growing faster than expected, and easily outpacing new subscriptions.

Turning to cell phone manufacturers, Apple topped the list again, even though its score dipped a couple of points to 81. Behind Apple was Google’s Motorola Mobility, which saw rapid improvement, up 4 points to a score of 77. Samsung also saw strong growth in customer satisfaction, up 5 points to 76. HTC (down 3 points to 72) and LG Electronics (down 4 points to 71) went in the opposite direction, while BlackBerry (69) stayed put in the cellar.

Internet service providers got the lowest scores of the information sector, averaging out at 65. Verizon FIOS led this category again, with a score of 71, with the aggregate of smaller providers matching that score. On the other end of the spectrum, Time Warner Cable (63) and Comcast (62) had the lowest ratings.

Other Findings:

  • After a big fall last year, satisfaction with fixed line phone services rebounded 4 points to 74 this year, outpacing satisfaction with wireless phone services, which improved by 2 points to a score of 72.
  • Computer software posted the highest overall score of the information sector categories, at 76.
  • Satisfaction with the information sector as a whole inched up from 71.9 to 72.3.

About the Data: The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a national economic indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of products and services available to household consumers in the United States. Data from interviews with approximately 70,000 customers annually are used as inputs into an econometric model to measure satisfaction with more than 225 companies in 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, along with over 200 services, programs, and websites of approximately 130 federal government agencies. ACSI results are released on a monthly basis, with all measures reported using a scale of 0 to 100.