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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 13, 2013

Cable Leads in Every Category of Business Customer Satisfaction

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

Perhaps the most notable finding from the latest J.D. Power study of U.S. business customer satisfaction with service providers is that cable companies lead the rankings in every segment, performing particularly well in performance and reliability, and billing, J.D. Power says.

Cox (News - Alert) Communications ranks highest in customer satisfaction in both the very-small business and SMB categories, while Optimum Business follows Cox in the very-small business segment, while Verizon (News - Alert) ranks second in the small/medium business segment.

In the large enterprise business segment, Time Warner Cable ranks highest in overall satisfaction and performs particularly well in five of the six factors: performance and reliability; billing; sales representatives and account executives; cost of service; and customer service.

Those findings confirm the significant inroads cable companies have made in all segments of the business communications market, not only among the very-small businesses, but even in the enterprise segment, something some observers might originally have thought unlikely.

Among the implications are greater market share difficulties for the historic providers of services to small business, SMB and enterprise customers, ranging from tier-one telcos to competitive local exchange carriers.

The study also found that business customers who bundle their fixed network voice and data services are more satisfied than those business customers who do not bundle, though some might say the differences are relatively nuanced.

Among business customers bundling their services, satisfaction is 668, compared with 660 among those purchasing only data services from a single provider, and 653 among those purchasing only voice services from a single provider, J.D. Powers says.

Average performance in four of six factors (performance and reliability; sales reps and account execs; billing; and communications) is highest among customers bundling their services.

According to the study, wireline business customers’ demand for bundled services is growing. In 2013, 15 percent of customers indicate that their main reason for selecting their provider was the ability to bundle services, up from 6 percent in 2012.

Lower prices, convenience and simplicity are reasons for the growing satisfaction with bundled offers.  

Additionally, business customers that bundle data and voice services are less likely to contact their service provider with customer service needs, which can lower overhead for providers.

These customers are also the most loyal to their service provider, with 21 percent saying they "definitely will not" switch providers in the next 12 months—a higher percentage than any other group.

Among business customers that purchase voice services and that experience more than one lengthy outage, 32 percent indicate they are likely to switch providers in the next 12 months, while only 10 percent of those that experience no outages indicate they will switch.

Among business customers that purchase data services and that experience lengthy outages, the percentage indicating they are likely to switch providers in the next 12 months is more than double that among those that do not experience lengthy outages (24 percent compared to 10 percent, respectively).

The study finds that overall satisfaction among business customers that purchase data services and that have experienced slow network performance at least once within the past six months is 615, compared with 725 among those that did not experience any slow network performance.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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