Five New Year’s Resolutions for Your Cable Company

In its ongoing effort to watch your pocketbook, Billshark herewith offers the cable and satellite companies five resolutions they should make for the new year.

1. Reveal your true initial prices

Sen. Claire McCaskill’s Subcommittee on Investigations recently released a minority report detailing the worst customer service and billing practices in the cable and satellite industry, and this item was at the top of the list. In attempting to lure new customers to their service, they didn’t disclose the eventual actual cost of the service.

2. Stop hiding expiring promotions

The low-low price with which they lure you for a limited period of time is usually touted in BIG type, but when it expires, it’s often in the tiniest type they can get away with. Some customers weren’t even aware a promotion had expired until they received their new, larger bill, McCaskill’s investigation found. In addition, the cost of some packages has increased as much as 33% since 2011, but McCaskill’s subcommittee found that providers’ notifications to customers of upcoming price increases had been only 16% effective in alerting customers to the change.

3. Tell the truth about additional fees and charges

The additional fees added to a customer’s bill can substantially increase the monthly price, and often aren’t worth the cost (see our recent blog post, “Comcast Lawsuit May Proceed, Per Washington Judge”). Or, companies create new fees, such as broadcast television fees and regional sports network fees, that used to be covered in the overall cost of the service.

4. Provide quality customer service

This means not only resolving the customer’s issue on the first call (up to 40% aren’t), but stop trying to upsell them while you have them on the phone. This practice is required of agents at all the providers, according to McCaskill’s report. When you’re a monopoly, you don’t really have to try harder.

5. Offer ease of cancellation

It’s easier to quit a job than to quit your cable or satellite service. Their retention agents are trained to keep you, regardless of your wish to cancel. In fact, if you have trouble reaching a live person through their extensive phone menu, just use the word “cancel” when the recording asks for the purpose of your call and watch how fast you get through to a human. They may not care much about fair pricing or quality customer service, but they sure don’t want to let you go.

The most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey found that pay television service scored second-to-last in customer satisfaction out of the 43 industries it studied. Billshark thinks the industry should start paying more attention to the basics.

Featured Posts