RCN, Cablevision Helped Improved Customer Satisfaction Scores

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Customer satisfaction rose this quarter in the cable and direct-broadcast satellite sector, and the industry can thank smaller operators for the improvement, not the big names like Comcast Corp. and DirecTV Inc.

According to the first-quarter American Customer Service Index, compiled by the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, service efforts by companies such as RCN Corp. and Cablevision Systems Corp. improved the average score for all providers. Neither of those companies is ranked individually, but lumped into the “other operators” category in the survey.

“Other providers,” with a score of 69 on the ASCI scale of 1 to 100, topped the usual champs on the list, the DBS companies. While DirecTV’s satisfaction score rose 2 points to 68, Dish Network’s score dropped 3 points, to 65.

The highest scoring operator that was ranked by name, Cox Communications, scored 63, followed by Time Warner Cable at 59. The basement dwellers: Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc., each with 54. Comcast lost 4 points off its score from the fourth-quarter measurement.

Comcast did not fare well as a telephony service provider, either. It was in last place as a fixed-line telephone provider, with a score of 69. AT&T Corp. was the top provider in the survey, increasing its score 7 points to 75. Second-place Cox was the highest-scoring cable telephony provider, improving 6 points to 74, tying it with Embarq. Cox also topped Verizon Communications Inc. and Qwest Communications Inc.

The university business school compiles the customer satisfaction poll quarterly, in partnership with the American Society for Quality and CFI Group.

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