WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 29 September 2011 — Service outages due to severe winter weather have had a notable negative impact on satisfaction with telephone service performance and reliability among residential customers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Residential Telephone Customer Satisfaction StudySM released today.
The study measures customer satisfaction with both local and long distance telephone service in four regions throughout the United States. Five factors are examined to determine overall satisfaction: performance and reliability; cost of service; billing; offerings and promotions; and customer service.
Satisfaction with performance and reliability—the most influential factor contributing to overall satisfaction—has declined by 6 percent to an average of 7.4 (on a 10-point scale) in 2011 from 7.9 in 2011. Within this factor, satisfaction with the service provider’s ability to keep outages to a minimum has experienced the greatest decline.
“The brutal winter weather that plagued much of the country clearly took a toll on service levels,” said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates. “In fact, the proportion of customers who contacted customer service to report an outage jumped to 21 percent in 2011 from 12 percent in 2010.”
According to Perazzini, a key driver for mitigating losses in satisfaction due to outages is effectively managing customer expectations regarding service restoration. On average, customers who experience an outage are advised that service will be restored within 30 hours, while actual service restoration time averages 25 hours. Overall satisfaction among customers whose service was restored approximately three hours earlier than the time quoted by the service provider averages 705 on a 1,000-point scale. In comparison, among customers whose service was restored three hours after the estimate given by the provider, satisfaction averages 591.
The study also finds that among customers who use an alternative phone service (for example, cellular or Internet service, rather than wireline), the proportion who replace wireline telephone calls with cell phone calls, texts and email remains relatively unchanged in 2011, compared with 2010. However, use of Internet calling services such as Skype or Vonage has increased to 21 percent in 2011 from 16 percent in 2010. Customers who use Internet calling services are significantly less satisfied with their telephone provider (622 on average, which is 14 index points below the industry average of 636) and are more likely to switch telephone providers (23% vs. the industry average of 16%).
Provider results by region are:
East Region: Cox Communications ranks highest with a score of 659, performing particularly well in performance and reliability; billing; and offerings and promotions. Optimum Voice by Cablevision follows in the region with 647, and Verizon ranks third with 640.
South Region: Bright House Networks ranks highest in the region with a score of 704 and performs well in all five factors: performance and reliability; customer service; cost of service; billing; and offerings and promotions. Following Bright House Networks in the rankings is Cox Communications (680).
North Central Region: WideOpenWest (WOW!) ranks highest with 721, performing well in all five factors: performance and reliability; customer service; cost of service; billing; and offerings and promotions. Cincinnati Bell follows in the region with 665, and AT&T ranks third with 631.
West Region: Cox Communications ranks highest in the region with a score of 669, performing well across all five factors. CenturyLink (639) and Xfinity by Comcast (634) follow in the regional rankings.
The 2011 U.S. Residential Telephone Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 20,761 customers nationwide who receive their local and long distance telephone service from one provider. The study was fielded in four waves: November 2010, January 2011, April 2011 and July 2011.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy. With leading brands including Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.
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