Cable Operators: As Popular as Health Insurance Carriers

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Here's a measure of how poorly people think of cable companies: Consumers are roughly as likely to recommend their TV or broadband provider as their health plan.

No, it’s not news that lots of people hate their cable (or telephone) company. But it seems like there’s a real opportunity for MSOs to push people toward the love side of the love/hate equation.

A 2012 survey by Temkin Group calculated the “net promoter score" -- the portion of customers who would recommend a product or service, minus those who would bad-mouth it -- across a range of industries.

Internet service providers had a net promoter score of 20%, while TV providers came in at 19% (on par with health plans). Apple, by contrast, has a net promoter score in the mid-70% range. Auto dealers (auto dealers!) had an NPS of 45%, while even airlines -- with an NPS of 28% -- beat cable and telcos, according to Temkin Group.

What’s the solution?

Well, better customer service tools can help. In fact, according to a recent survey by billing and customer-support systems vendor Amdocs, 84% of consumers said they would be more likely to recommend their service provider if it could identify and preemptively resolve potential issues affecting them; 83% said they would be more likely to recommend their provider if they were offered easy-to-use and consistent self-service via their mobile device.

And -- surprise! In the Totally Not Coincidence Dept., proactive care and self-service capabilities are key pieces of Amdocs’ CES 9 portfolio, which the company announced earlier this week and is scheduled to ship in May. The vendor said it has run trials of CES 9 with a wireless and cable TV operator in North America, a European cable operator and a North American wireless carrier.

Improvements in the net promoter score translate into real dollars, according to Amdocs: A four-point change in a company’s NPS corresponds with a 1% change in revenue.

Can MSOs match Apple’s ridiculously high net promoter score? No -- but with some determined effort, maybe they can beat the health insurance guys.

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