The cost of both cable television and broadband Internet service can represent a significant chunk of a household budget. It makes sense to want to select the best providers to help ensure that you and your family get your money's worth. The American Customer Satisfaction Index offers insight into the best levels of service and performance from Internet service providers as well as cable TV companies.
Of course, you may live in an area or housing development where you have little choice when it comes to Cable or Internet providers. Still, knowing how these national services rate can help you make a choice when you do have options.
As you know, Cable television, broadband Internet and other telecommunication services, such as landline and mobile phones, security cameras and smart home services are offered by telecommunications companies. This means that in most areas, consumers will work with one company to provide their household with multiple services.
While reviewing the information below, you will note that some providers rank higher for one type of service than another. This can make choosing a service more complicated. To help you make your choice, consider figuring out your priorities. For example, if it is important to you and your family to enjoy a wide range of cable TV shows, but nobody in your household spends a huge amount of time using the Internet for things like gaming, streaming or work-related applications, a company that scores higher for television services may be your best choice. However, if you and your family rely on the Internet for business or education, you may be best served by picking the highest-rated broadband company.
While cord-cutting seems to be a national trend, many people still enjoy the convenience of cable television. This is because streaming services are not always intuitive and it can be difficult to find local networks. Access to local television it's important to many people who enjoy getting information and news about their communities. In addition, access to local channels is an important part of being prepared for weather emergencies and other disasters.
The ACSI Telecommunications Study 2020-2021 offered some good news for Cable TV providers and their consumers. The top five services all saw an increase in the percentage of satisfied customers over 2020's numbers. This indicates that telecommunications companies are working to provide superior service and selection to their loyal cable TV customers.
The ACSI report noted the highest levels of cable TV customer satisfaction in the areas of mobile apps, HD picture quality, and helpfulness of staff at brick & mortar stores and service centers. The greatest level of dissatisfaction was with the experience of working with call center staff, as well as with billing clarity, the types of channels available and the availability of premium channels.
Improved technology means that many people no longer confine their television watching to actual televisions. Instead, many consumers are watching movies, television shows, news and sports on mobile devices. The fact that consumers are increasingly happy with the performance of cable TV mobile apps is a good thing.
It is also interesting to note the disparity between how satisfied customers are with in-store service versus that provided by call centers. It may be that consumers who wish to avoid frustration should consider visiting retail stores or service centers to work out problems with service that are not easily handled over the phone or through mobile apps.
As a consumer, one thing you should be paying attention to is billing. Unfortunately, many subscribers to cable TV and other telecommunications services are unhappy with the clarity of the billing on their account. This is a long-standing issue in this industry, and something that providers should be more aware of. It's important to be aware of the base price of any packages you choose, as well as taxes and fees which can greatly increase the cost of your cable TV service.
Another area of confusion is that of service calls: while cable TV companies do charge a fee for service calls when the problem is caused by the consumer, in many cases the company will not issue a charge if the problem is the fault of the cable company. Unfortunately, the way these charges are classified is not always consistent. It is essential for consumers to review their bills each month and dispute erroneous or unexplained charges.
Broadband Internet has become commonplace around the United States, and the events of 2020 made connectivity even more important. Recent studies and surveys have shown that people plan to continue using their broadband Internet for a variety of applications, including telecommuting, distance learning, accessing streaming entertainment and online shopping.
Because people are using their Internet connections more than ever before, the quality of service and technical support has become even more critical. When putting together the 2021 results for Internet service providers, ACSI noted that customer satisfaction was highest in the areas of quality of mobile apps satisfaction with provider websites and the level of service offered at brick & mortar retail stores and service centers.
The areas of least customer satisfaction include service interruptions, the availability of different plans, and call center interactions.
These results are not entirely surprising. Consumers have long complained about poor customer service provided through call centers. In addition, broadband Internet subscribers are often bewildered and confused by the types of plans available and become frustrated when ISPs offer a limited range of options that don't appear to meet household needs.
Consumers who want to increase their satisfaction with their Internet plans may want to consider the following: when signing up for Internet service, or seeking help with repairing equipment, it may be best to visit a retail location or a service center rather than trying to deal with these matters over the phone or via online chat. Consumers do appear to be much happier with in-person interactions.
Another thing that consumers could do to improve their satisfaction levels is to do a deep dive into understanding just what level of bandwidth and speed their households need. Having this information when making a decision about Internet service could save consumers a great deal of frustration. In addition, many people opt to bundle multiple services with their Internet, further complicating matters, particularly when promotional pricing ends and monthly charges soar. Consumers should be aware of billing practices and be ready to negotiate billing rates.
Consumers appear to be increasingly satisfied with both their cable TV companies as well as Internet service providers. While telecommunications companies still have a lot to work to do, particularly in the area of offering the kind of packages that consumers want as well as free customer service, they do appear to be succeeding in the areas of mobile connectivity and in-person service via physical locations. Hopefully, these companies will learn from the ACSI reports and continue to improve their service, pricing and product offerings.
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