CFI Report: Cable, Satellite Call Centers Fail

Industry finishes last out of eight evaluated by CFI Group North America.

The cable and satellite industries received another poor report card Tuesday for customer service as a report from CFI Group North America ranked it last among eight industries evaluated, although there were a few bright spots.

CFI Group’s second annual Contact Center Satisfaction Index report for 2008 rated performance of customer call centers, although not other aspects of customer service. The sliver of good news was that cable and satellite customer-service representatives ranked above average for courtesy. But cable and satellite ranked poorly in issue resolution, which dragged down the category.

Cable and satellite call-center representatives “are nice but don’t get the problem solved,” said Sheri Teodoru, CEO of CFI Group. She added that multichannel platforms risk losing subscribers who are unsatisfied because TV options are proliferating.

Adding in all criteria, cable and satellite posted a 66 rating (down from 68 in the prior year), last out of eight industries that averaged 72, up from 70 last year, indicating that business in general is improving. The CCSI scale goes 1-100.

Although satellite and cable slipped, the banking industry had a steeper fall from 77 to 71. Other industries measured were hotel (78), retail (76), insurance (75), cellular phone (72), government (70) and PC (69).

In another sliver of good news, cable and satellite trimmed instances where customers ended their call-center experience without resolving their issues to 20%, down from 21% one year ago. CFI said customers with unresolved issues are five times more likely to disconnect.

“First-call resolution is critical, as well,” added CFI, which found that customer satisfaction went from 80 on its 100-point scale if a problem was solved on the first call to 63 if it took two calls.

Teodoru feels that the cross-industry comparison is valid, even though resolving issues in cable and satellite can involve a cumbersome in-home repair, while other industries like banking and government don’t make house calls.

In general, consumer satisfaction with offshore customer service is lower than domestic reps, and 56% more cable and satellite customers thought their calls were handled overseas than one year ago.

CFI, which counts DirecTV among its consulting clients, conducted 2,200 Web interviews for the report, of which about 250 were cable and satellite customers.