CFI Group Study: Customer Service Will Help Telcos Top Cable


Telephone companies are more likely than cable providers to attract customers taking advantage of bundled-services offers over the next 12 months because the phone operators are perceived to be better providers of customer service, according to a study to be released Tuesday by CFI Group of Ann Arbor, Mich.

CFI, a measurement-consulting practice, compiled its study, “Telecom-Cable Industry Report,” from a panel of 1,200 respondents, selected to reflect national demographics. Of the respondents, 10% said they were highly likely to purchase a bundle of services in the next 12 months, and 54% said they would seek it from the local telephone provider while 44% said they'd look to cable.

This appears to mean that some of the respondents will be jumping ship from cable: 50% of those in the poll already buy bundled services, and cable currently has the majority of package customers at 68% vs. 32% for telephone companies.

The No. 1 reason to switch providers from cable? The current operator "costs too much," according to survey results from 69% of those polled. A total of 43% cited poor customer service, versus 31% of telephone bundled-services customers who might consider switching.

John Gilbert, senior consultant for CFI, said there were no surprises to researchers in the report. CFI also researches general trends in customer service, as well as call-center performance and satisfaction, and cable is a frequent "cellar dweller."

"They're in IRS territory," he said, naming a service provider with a similar, low satisfaction score.

The report added that the service disparity is not likely to be improved with the addition of a fourth product, wireless telephone, to the product bundle. Major operators including Comcast formed a joint venture with Sprint Nextel, which CFI ranked among the lowest cellular providers in terms of customer satisfaction.