Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Airlines AND Comcast Customer Satisfaction Up -- What gives?

You may have seen articles over the past few days about improved customer satisfaction scores for both the airline industry AND Comcast. Two industries many love to hate.

Let's look at each of these in a bit more detail.


Fliers say airlines' service has gotten better
USA Today | Link

"Despite extra fees for everything from luggage to lunch, passenger satisfaction with airlines went up for the first time in six years, according to a consumer survey released Tuesday.

The airline business scored 64 out of 100 in the first quarter of this year, a 3.2% increase over the same period a year ago, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which randomly surveyed thousands of consumers across the U.S. Major carriers saw improved scores, or at least no decline.

But don't uncork the champagne just yet."

My assessment as a fairly frequent flyer over the past few years on multiple airlines...

A combination of airline layoffs and fewer passengers has led to a greater focus -- albeit minimal -- on the customer. But there's much, much room for improvement.

Your thoughts?


This is company I have had an ongoing love/hate relationship with for many years -- through the its evolution from the MediaOne era, then AT&T, back to MediaOne and, eventually, Comcast.

How have they pissed me off? Ah, let me count the ways:
  • > A couple years ago, chatting with a Comcast employee at a party, I discovered that my cable modem was horribly outdated. Why didn't they let me know?! I pay a monthly fee for the privilege of having this modem! It took a few phone calls and actually going down to the Comcast offices to get a new, speedier one. Now, two years later, I wonder if I'm using the most up-to-date modem...
  • > With the advent of digital cable, I bought a small, cheap digital antenna. It ended up pulling in about 20-30 channels over the airwaves -- all for free. "Great," I thought, "I can give up cable TV." With a call to Comcast, I discovered it would actually cost MORE to drop cable TV and do only broadband.
  • > The implementation of Monthly data caps
  • > Confusion, confusion, confusion - what, exactly, is the difference between "Basic Cable", "Basic 2 Cable", "Digital Starter", "Digital Classic", etc.?! Also, part of our "basic" service includes multiple shopping channels, the Golf Channel, and others I will never, ever, in-a-million-years, watch. Instead, I would gladly pay for just the channels I want -- Hell, I'd even pay more.
On the love-side of the equation, no one -- at least for the moment -- beats their broadband service. And it's enabling me to ween myself off of TV altogether. Instead, I watch my TV and movies online, on demand: The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, network shows (ABC, NBC, and CBS), Netflix's instant watch options, and other video sites such as Hulu, YouTube, et al.

[Whew -- good to get that off my chest...]

At any rate, my personal ranting aside, here's the report on Comcast's climbing customer satisfaction:

Comcast's customer satisfaction leaps
Philadelphia Inquirer | Link

"The Twittering for customer troubles, little cards apologizing for missed appointments, and discounted bills for lost TV service are paying dividends for Comcast Corp.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index, a nightmare for Comcast in recent years, shows a surprising surge in customer satisfaction for the cable giant. The new annual results are being released today."

Interestingly enough, DirecTV (a service I am seriously considering) leads the customer sat rankings.

As mentioned in the article, customers' frustration has led to monumental efforts such as (which, it turns out, accomplished its intended job) -- check it out. Very creative and, obviously, effective.

It looks like Comcast is perking up and listening to its customers.

And, could this new-found philosophy be paying off? See Comcast's Q1 Profit Grows 5.4%

But, apart from a simpler, improved monthly billing statement, I haven't felt/witnessed any changes.

I'll believe it when I see it.

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