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Report: Customers Want Cable, Voice Providers to Use Web Sites for Customer Service

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Report: Customers Want Cable, Voice Providers to Use Web Sites for Customer Service

September 11, 2008
By Raju Shanbhag
TMCnet Contributor
The J.D. Power and Associates “2008 Residential Telephone Customer Satisfaction Study” reportedly states that the level of satisfaction is higher for voice customers who use the Web for customer service inquiries than for those who use the telephone.

Across the United States, the study measures customer satisfaction with both local and long-distance telephone service in four regions.
When it comes to providing Internet-based telephone service, customers say that cable companies have an advantage, the study says. One of the key reasons for trusting cable providers with their telephone service is often the strength of cable’s existing network infrastructure, according to the report. The report also says that overall satisfaction is higher among customers who bundle two or more services with one provider, compared with customers subscribing to phone service alone.
The study focuses on five factors in determining overall satisfaction. They are: customer service, performance and reliability, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions.
While 16 percent of customers use their provider’s Web site, the majority of customers (80 percent) continue to use the telephone for inquiries regarding their voice service in 2008. But the satisfaction levels among customers who use a telephone to call a service center are lower than the customers who use Web channels for service inquiries. Compared with 626 for telephone users, satisfaction averages 641, on a 1,000-point scale among Web users.
The study gives results by region. In the East region, Cablevision ranks highest, performing particularly well in customer service, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions. WideOpenWest (News - Alert) ranks highest in the North Central Region particularly in customer service, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions. Bright House Networks ranks highest in the South region with its strong performances in customer service, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions. West Region is dominated by Cox (News - Alert) Communications in all factors driving customer satisfaction.
“In an increasingly competitive market where providers are constantly seeking ways to better manage the costs associated with service support, promoting Web sites as a viable service channel instead of traditional telephone-based support can create significant cost savings,” said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates. “The good news is that customers are responding positively to the Web option. Voice provider Web sites offer customers useful ways to manage their billing needs, review their account information and explore available product and service offerings.”
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Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raju's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan
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