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Comcast Way Up In Cable Customer Service Survey

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PHILADELPHIA — Comcast Corp. showed the biggest gain in customer satisfaction among cable and satellite TV operators, a survey showed Tuesday.

Philadelphia-based Comcast's overall score rose 9.3 percent from the prior year, according to the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index. The improvement comes as the cable operator reached out to disgruntled customers who posted complaints through blogs or on social networking sites.

It's a marked turnaround for Comcast, where complaints against service ran so deep at one point that a Web site called ComcastMustDie.com arose and a frustrated customer smashed a keyboard with a hammer at a Comcast office in Manassas, Va.

DirecTV Group Inc. came in on top, up 4.4 percent, keeping a perch it has enjoyed for several years. It pulled away from fellow satellite TV operator Dish Network Corp. whose customer satisfaction score fell 1.5 percent to a historic low as the company retools its service.

Satellite TV operators partner with phone companies to offer phone and Internet services, and the choice of partner affects customer satisfaction. The Michigan researchers pointed out that DirecTV has a deal with Verizon Communications Inc., which ranks high on customer service, while Dish partnered with Sprint Nextel Corp., which ranks low.

Atlanta-based Cox Communications Inc. was the top cable TV performer for the sixth straight year, up 4.8 percent to an all-time high score.

Time Warner Cable Inc. had the same score from a year ago while Charter Communications Inc., which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, fell the most. Its satisfaction score fell 5.6 percent to a record low for any company in the survey's 15-year history.