Last week at The Cable Show in Los Angeles, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts made it a point that cable's image as a customer-friendly service must improve. "We have to evolve how we do business," Roberts told a keynote brunch. "I think there's hope big time ... to putting the spotlight on the consumer."
This week, perhaps coincidentally, Roberts' confidence was rewarded by the American Customer Satisfaction Index which reported that "customer satisfaction with cable and satellite TV rises to its highest level in 10 years, up 5 percent to 66 percent, with nearly all companies registering improvements." The bad news for Roberts and the rest of cable is that Verizon's FiOS (73 percent) and AT&T's U-Verse (72 percent) led the way, followed by Dish Network (71 percent) and DirecTV (68 percent). Cox came next at 67 percent followed by Comcast and Time Warner Cable (61 percent).
Of course this being the cable industry, there is a dark cloud around any silver lining. In this case the cloud is forming in Florida where hundreds of cable customers have complained to the Florida Attorney General and Federal Trade Commission claiming that cable companies are forcing them to rent set-tops to watch TV. More than 100 Comcast customers filed complaints with the FTC in 2009 claiming they were the victims of "tying," an illegal practice that puts two different products together and forces the consumer to take both as a package.
Customers still not satisfied with cable service
JD Power: AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS lead TV satisfaction