Cable took home top honors for the fourth year in a row on J.D. Power and Associates' annual residential telephone customer satisfaction survey, with Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems, Bright House Networks and WideOpenWest earning the highest marks in four respective regions.
However, other cable operators, including Comcast and Charter Communications, turned in below-average scores in their regions, even as customer satisfaction with residential telephone service increased across all providers again for a second consecutive year.
Cox -- which won both East and West regions last year -- took the trophy in the West with an overall score of 693 on a 1000-point scale, followed by Time Warner Cable (661) and Qwest (653). This marks the eighth year in a row Cox gained the highest score in the West.
In the East, Cablevision's Optimum Voice delivered the top score of 689, followed by Cox with 677 and Windstream Communications at 671. Bright House again was No. 1 in the South region with 724, followed by Cox (701) taking second and Verizon (673) coming in third.
And in the North Central region, WideOpenWest scored an industry high 742, followed by Cincinnati Bell (696) and TDS Telecom (694).
Overall, customer satisfaction with phone service averaged 657, up four points from last year and an increase of 22 points from 2008 -- the largest two-year improvement in the 15-year history of the J.D. Power study.
According to J.D. Power, customer service gains were the biggest factor in boosting overall satisfaction. The research firm attributed that to providers' improvements in customer support systems and processes; specifically, interactive voice response first-call resolution scores improved from 6.46 in 2009 to 6.57 in 2010.
The 2010 U.S. residential telephone customer satisfaction study is based on responses from 24,146 customers nationwide, fielded in four waves: November 2009, January 2010, April 2010 and July 2010. The study measures customer satisfaction with both local and long distance telephone service, based in five factors (in order of importance): performance and reliability; cost of service; billing; offerings and promotions; and customer service.