Comcast (and Telcos) Must Improve Horrific Customer Service

When Ryan Block tried to cancel his Comcast service, he ran into a customer interaction from hell. The call was so bad that he recorded part of it and posted it online. The insanity of the conversation has driven it viral.

My take: I don’t think that the problem is a mis-trained rep, which is what Comcast claimed in its official response. Block is one of many, many people who have suffered through painful interactions with Comcast. The company “earned” the bottom two spots in the 2014 Temkin Customer Service Ratings, falling well below 231 other organizations. This type of pervasive problem stems from systemic issues, not from how a specific rep behaves.

While Comcast is the worst offender, bad customer service is an epidemic across the entire telecom sector, especially in TV service and Internet service. So Comcast is merely the worst of a bad bunch.

1405_TCSR_IndustryThe problem with the firms in these industries is that most of them grew up with geographic monopoly power. Without any viable competitors, their operating cultures focused on exploiting customers, not on satisfying them. As competition increased, they reacted poorly by starting a frenzy to acquire new customers and then doing whatever they can to entrap those customers.

Here are three recommendations for the entire telecom industry:

  1. Reward customer loyalty, not disloyalty. Any company that provides better pricing and service for new customers than it does for existing customers is institutionalizing disloyalty. Stop this practice. Focus more on holding on to good, loyal customers than pining for new customers. Sales from new customers might decline in the short-run, but the increase in retention and word of mouth will improve the business in the long-run. This revised focus will align internal incentives with a focus on improving customer experience.
  2. Build CX competencies, not a new veneer. The experiences that customers see are a reflection of how the company operates. So improving and sustaining good customer experience will requires organizations to build four CX core competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Employee Engagement, Compelling Brand Values, and Customer Connectedness. Want to know how you’re company is doing? Complete Temkin Group’s CX Competency & Maturity Assessment and compare your results to our benchmark of large organizations.
  3. Benchmark yourself against CX leaders, not each other. If telecom companies compare themselves to each other, then they don’t look too bad. Comcast is only marginally worse than Time Warner Cable or Charter Communications. Stop fooling yourself. It’s not good enough to be better than your peers, they’re also pretty bad. Set your sites on delivering customer service like USAA and Amazon.com.

The bottom line: Telecom firms need to build loyalty, not acquire customers.

 

USAA and Capital One 360 Top 2014 Temkin Web Experience Ratings

We just published the 2014 Temkin Web Experience Ratings, the fourth year of the ratings. It uses feedback from 10,000 U.S. consumers to rate 222 organizations across 19 industries.

Download dataset for $295

USAA’s banking business took the top spot and Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct) earned the second highest rating in the 2014 Temkin Web Experience Ratings, which rates 222 companies across 19 industries. USAA’s insurance and credit card businesses tied for third place.Rounding out the top 13 companies in the ratings are Charles Schwab, Amazon.com, credit unions, TD Bank, U.S. Bank, Sheraton, Ace Hardware, eBay, and Nordstrom.

The award for delivering the worst web experience goes to Coventry Health Care, followed closely by Medicaid. Four of the bottom 14 organizations are health plans and three are TV service providers. The remaining companies in the bottom 14 of the Temkin Web Experience Ratings are Charter Communications, Comcast (TV service and Internet service), Dunkin’ Donuts, Time Warner Cable (TV service and Internet service), Jack in the Box, CareFirst, MetroPCS, Highmark, Adobe, and Wendy’s.

1406_TWER_BestWorst

Here’s how the industries compare with each other:

1406_TWER_Industries

The 2014 Temkin Web Experience Ratings shows that companies have made improvements in web experience between 2013 and 2014. Led by airlines, which increased by nearly 15 percentage points since last year, 17 of 19 industries improved. The two industries that earned lower ratings in 2014 are parcel delivery services and rental cars.

Nearly two-thirds of the 195 organizations that were in both the 2013 and 2014 Temkin Web Experience Ratings improved this year. On average, firms earned an increase of 3.2 percentage points. Eleven companies improved by more than 15 percentage points: Southwest Airlines, Health Net, United Airlines, PetSmart, AOL, Sony, Bright House Networks, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Edward Jones, Cablevision, and AAA.

Six companies saw their Temkin Web Experience Ratings fall by 10 points or more between 2013 and 2014: Dunkin’ Donuts, Avis, Hertz, Jack in the Box, Dollar, and Blackboard.

1406_TWER_IncreaseDecrease

Methodology:

The data was collected from an online survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers during January 2014. Quotas were set to mirror the U.S. census data for age, income, gender, ethnicity, and geographic regions of the U.S. population.

Temkin Web Experience Ratings are based on asking consumers the following question about companies with whom they’ve had a customer service interaction during the previous 60 days: “Thinking back to your most recent interaction with the websites of these companies, how satisfied were you with the experience?” Potential responses range from 1= “very dissatisfied” to 7= “very satisfied.” Temkin Web Experience Ratings are calculated by taking the percentages of consumers who respond with a 6 or 7 and subtracting the percentage who respond with 1, 2, or 3.

Download dataset for $295

Temkin Ratings website
You can view a sortable list of results from the Temkin Web Experience Ratings as well as other ratings on the Temkin Ratings website.

 

AOL Leads Internet Services Industry in 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings

We recently released the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings that ranks the customer experience of 268 companies across 19 industries based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers.

AOL is the highest-rated Internet service provider for the second year in a row, landing in 136th place overall with a rating of 65%. EarthLink came in a very close second with a rating of 64% and a rank of 144th after being near the bottom of the list for the past two years.

Download entire dataset for $395

InternetServiceA
Here are some additional findings from the Internet services industry: Read more of this post

Bright House Networks and DirecTV Lead Terrible TV Services Industry Industry in 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings

We recently released the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings that ranks the customer experience of 268 companies across 19 industries based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers.

TV service providers ended up with the lowest average score out of 19 industries in the ratings.

Bright House Networks continues its three-year reign as the highest-rated TV service provider, earning a rating of 63% and placing 160th overall out of 268 companies across 19 industries. While DirecTV has always ranked near the top of the list, this is its first year in second place, and it scored a 62% rating and placed 174th overall. At the other end of the spectrum, Comcast fell from the middle of the pack in 2013 to the very bottom of the pack in 2014, landing in 260th place overall with a rating of 47%.

Download entire dataset for $395

TVServiceA
Here are some additional findings from the TV services industry: Read more of this post

Report: What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience, 2014

1402_WhatHappensAfterGoodBadExperiences_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience, 2014. The report, which includes 19 data charts, examines which companies and industries provide the most bad experiences, what impact those experiences have on spending, and how the negative impacts of bad experiences can be mitigated by good service recovery. The report also examines how consumers share their good and bad experiences with companies as well as with other people. Here’s the executive summary:

To understand the effect of good and bad experiences, we asked 10,000 U.S. consumers about their recent interactions with 268 companies across 19 industries. Results show that Internet services and TV services are the industries most likely to deliver a bad experience to their customers, while grocery chains are the least likely to. At the company level, Scottrade had the smallest percentage of customers reporting a recent bad experience with the company and Time Warner Cable had the highest. More than half of the customers who encountered a bad experience at a fast food chain, credit card issuer, grocery store, or hotel either decreased their spending with the company or stopped altogether. However, our data shows that a good service recovery effort can help mitigate a bad experience. Unfortunately, many firms—especially in the banking, Internet services, and TV services sectors—aren’t very good at service recovery. In addition to the consequences of bad interactions, we also examined which channels customers use to share their good and bad experiences and how these changed across age groups. We then compared these results to survey responses from the past two years. We also uncovered a negative bias inherent in how customers provide feedback. ING Direct, Residence Inn, and Fairfield Inn have the most negative bias in the feedback they receive directly from customers, while Hy-Vee and Hyundai have the most negative bias on Facebook. 

Click link to see full list of industries and companies covered in this report (.pdf).

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

One of the most interesting analyses in the report is the look at how service recovery after a bad experience affects the spending pattern of consumers. Here’s a summary of one of the charts showing just how important it is for a company to recover well after making a mistake:

1402_EconomicsOfServiceRecovery

Here are some other insights from the research:

  • Sixteen percent of consumers who have interacted with TV service and Internet service providers report having a bad experience over the previous six months. Next on the list are wireless carriers, with 12% of their customers reporting a bad experience. At the other end of the spectrum, only 3% of consumers report a bad experience with grocery chains and 4% report having a bad experience with fast food chains.
  • The five companies with the most customers reporting bad experiences are Time Warner Cable (25%), Motel 6 (22%), Coventry Health Care (21%), and Comcast (21%). There were 10 companies with only 1% or less of their customers reporting bad experiences: Scottrade, Chick-fil-A, H.E.B., Whole Foods, ShopRite, ING Direct, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, Vanguard, and True Value.
  • More than one-quarter of consumers who have a bad experience stop spending with computer makers, car rental agencies, credit card issuers, hotel chains, and software companies. The impact of bad experiences is less costly for parcel delivery services, wireless carriers, health plans, TV service providers, Internet service providers, and grocery chains, as less than 15% of their customers with bad experience stopped spending.
  • The industries that are the best at responding to a bad experience are investment firms, major appliances, retailers, and car rental agencies. The industries that are the worst at responding to a bad experience are TV service providers, wireless carriers, Internet service providers, parcel delivery services, and health plans.
  • Thirty-two percent of consumers give feedback directly to companies after a very bad experience and 23% give feedback after a very good experience.
  • Overall, 25- to 34-year-olds are the most likely to share feedback about their experiences. After a good experience 57% tell a friend directly, 28% share on Facebook, and 18% put a comment or rating on a review site. After a bad experience, 60% tell a friend directly, 31% share on Facebook, and 20% write a review.

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

The bottom line: Make sure to recover quickly after a bad experience

USAA On Top of 2013 Temkin Customer Service Ratings

We just released the third annual Temkin Customer Service Ratings of 235 companies across 19 industries based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers (see full list of firms).

Download entire dataset for $295

Company Results

Here are some company highlights:

2103TCSR_TopBottomFirms2103TCSR_IndustryLeadersLaggards

  • USAA earned the top two spots for its insurance and banking businesses. Other companies at the top of the ratings are credit unionsAce HardwareCharles SchwabDollar TreeChick-fil-ASonic Drive-InHy-VeeCostcoTrader Joe’s, Advantage, Publix, and H.E.B.
  • TV service providers and Internet service providers earned nine out of bottom 10 spots in the ratings.
  • For the second straight year, Charter Communications took the bottom spot. The rest of the firms in the bottom five are Time Warner CableCox CommunicationsOptimum (i/o), and CareFirst.
  • The following companies earned ratings that were 15 or more points above their industry averages: USAA (insurance and banking), Alaska Airlines, credit unions, Advantage, Kaiser Permanente, TriCare, Charles Schwab, and Bright House Networks.
  • Five companies earned ratings that were 15 or more points below their industry averages: Apple Stores, US AirwaysRadioShack, HSBC, and 21st Century.
  • Twenty-three percent of companies earned “strong” or “very strong” ratings, while 37% earned “weak” or “very weak” ratings.

Temkin Group also examined year-over-year results for the 171 companies that were in both the 2012 and 2013 Temkin Customer Service Ratings and found that:

  • Forty-four percent of companies improved their ratings while 47% experienced a decline.
  • Twenty companies showed double-digit increases, led by: Citibank (banking and credit cards), U.S. Bank, Hyundai, Nissan, Old Navy, Charles Schwab, Continental Airlines, and Piggly-Wiggly.
  • Eleven companies showed double-digit decreases, led by: LG, Giant Eagle, Toshiba, Cox Communications, ING Direct, and Budget.

Industry Results

Here are some industry highlights:

2103TCSR_Industries

  • Grocery chains, retailers, and fast food chains earned the highest average Temkin Customer Service Ratings, while TV service providers, Internet service providers, wireless carriers, and health plans earned the lowest ratings.
  • On average, credit card issuers, banks and fast food restaurants improved the most while appliance makers, TV service providers and investment firms declined the most.

Calculating the Temkin Customer Service Ratings

During January 2013, Temkin Group asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to identify the companies that they had interacted with on their websites during the previous 60 days. These consumers were asked the following question:

Thinking back to your most recent customer service interaction with these companies,
how satisfied were you with the experience?

Responses from 1= “very dissatisfied” to 7= “very satisfied”

For all companies with 100 or more consumer responses, we calculated the “net satisfaction” score. The Temkin Customer Service  Ratings are calculated by taking the percentage of consumers that selected either “6” or “7” and subtracting the percentage of consumers that selected either “1,” “2,” or “3.”

Download entire dataset for $295

Temkin Ratings website

To see all of the companies in the Temkin Customer Service Ratings as ell as all of our other Temkin Ratings and sort through the results, visit the Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: TV service providers deliver terrible customer service

Amazon and USAA On Top of 2013 Temkin Web Experience Ratings

We just released the third annual Temkin Web Experience Ratings of 211 companies across 19 industries based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers (see full list of firms).

Download entire dataset for $295

Company Results

Here are some company highlights:

2013TWERCompanyBestWorst

  • For the third straight year, Amazon.com topped the Temkin Web Experience Ratings while USAA took the next two spots for its bank and insurance businesses.
  • Other companies at the top of the ratings are RegionsU.S. BankeBayAdvantage Rent A Carcredit unions, and QVC.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, MSNHealth NetEarthLink, and Cablevision earned the lowest ratings.
  • Only 6% of companies earned “strong” or “very strong” ratings, while 63% earned “weak” or “very weak” ratings.
  • Amazon.com and USAA’s insurance business earned ratings that were 20 points above their industry averages and eight other companies were at least 10 points above their peers: Kaiser Permanente, Advantage Rent A Car, eBay, QVC, USAA (bank), Sonic Drive-In, Charles Schwab, and Fidelity Investments.
  • Health Net and RadioShack earned ratings that were 20 points or more less than their industry averages and six other companies were at least 15 points below their peers: 21st Century, American Family, Days Inn, Taco Bell, and Kmart.

Temkin Group examined year-over-year results for the 154 companies that were in the 2012 and 2013 ratings and found that:

  • Forty-one percent of companies improved, while 53% declined.
  • Over half of the companies that were in the 2012 and 2013 ratings earned lower scores this year.
  • Eight companies showed double-digit increases: Humana, Old Navy, U.S. Bank, Citibank, TriCare, Blue Shield of California, Toyota, and Safeway.
  • Twenty-one companies declined by at least 10 points and six companies dropped by more than 15 points: Southwest Airlines, MSN, United Airlines, ShopRite, Cablevision, and Bright House Networks.

Industry Results

Here are some industry highlights:

2013TWERIndustries

  • Banks earned the highest average Temkin Web Experience Ratings, followed by investment firms, retailers, credit card issuers, and hotel chains.
  • Five industries earned average ratings of “very weak” ratings: Internet service providers, TV service providers, airlines, health plans, and wireless carriers.
  • Seven industries improved between 2012 and 2013., while nine declined. Airlines suffered the most dramatic drop, losing 15 points.

Calculating the Temkin Web Experience Ratings

During January 2013, Temkin Group asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to identify the companies that they had interacted with on their websites during the previous 60 days. These consumers were asked the following question:

Thinking back to your most recent interaction with the websites of these companies,
how satisfied were you with the experience?

Responses from 1= “very dissatisfied” to 7= “very satisfied”

For all companies with 100 or more consumer responses, we calculated the “net satisfaction” score. The Temkin Web Experience Ratings are calculated by taking the percentage of consumers that selected either “6” or “7” and subtracting the percentage of consumers that selected either “1,” “2,” or “3.”

Download entire dataset for $295

Temkin Ratings website

To see all of the companies in the Temkin Trust Ratings as ell as all of our other Temkin Ratings and sort through the results, visit the Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: Web experiences are heading in the wrong direction.

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