Price and value have been at the core of customer dissatisfaction among cable-TV and Internet subscribers in the United States. The issues involve service and reliability, but also the value of bundled entertainment packages and slower than desired speeds in Internet transmissions. While these providers have traditionally ranked low in surveys, the most recent numbers show they have fallen to historic low levels. The most recent surveys have the industry tied for last place among 43 industry categories.

Customer Relations Management

Some major providers of cable and internet services rank very low in customer satisfaction surveys. These companies have large workforces, millions of subscribers, and an unfortunate tradition of customer complaints. A Google query on the subject turns up millions of items about the leading regional and national providers. Cable TV was intended to be a luxury and a source of pleasant entertainment. The other factor is cost, and over the years, cable and Internet rates have risen far faster than transmission speeds and no-cost features. Like any business that involves fee structures, consumers can feel un-rewarded by the content, reliability, and business interactions with the provider. Some issues seem curable, as when customers feel they receive curt, unresponsive or discourteous interaction with company representatives; the providers should eagerly take action. Disagreements are inevitable, but they do not need to be unfriendly.

Cable TV Bundling

A major source of consumer dissatisfaction with cable TV involves bundling. It is the practice of packaging many channels into customer choices. It is the dominant business model in the cable industry. This practice benefits providers at the expense of customers. It forces customers to accept channels in which they have low or no interest to get those that please them. This practice has fueled the rise of content providers like Netflix, which offer a range of TV shows and movies for a low monthly fee without adding other channels or services. The consumer can spend a little to get a channel that they often use, rather than spending a lot to get channels they use very little.

Internet Speeds

Slow Internet is a major source of frustration. This situation is due in part to crowding, but also to the increased complexity of information consumers wish to send and receive. Videos, Instagrams, Cellfies, movie clips, TV shows, and full-length feature films all are popular and need high-speed transmissions and wide bandwidth.

Reliability and Performance

The Internet must always be available as so may daily functions require access. They include vital functions like medical care, education, running a business or earning one’s income. Given the crucial nature of access, failures take on a more profound meaning, and in the modern age, the inconvenience is simply more noticed.

Steps Towards Improvement

When cable goes out, for many users an expected outlet, unpaid babysitter, and a distracting source of sound and messages goes missing. Unfortunately for the consumer, the meter keeps running. It is like paying for a taxi that has run out of gas, and only the meter is working. In the early days of cable TV, consumers had the recent memory of commercial TV, and cable was refreshingly different. The bills seemed worth the effort just to have mature and uncut films with contemporary themes, and content with no commercial interruptions. Young viewers who never experienced commercial television only see the need for constant access. As time passed, and the rates and bills increased, so did customer dissatisfaction; it is a decades old phenomenon in the cable industry. The customer only asks for uninterrupted service and the companies sometimes fall into patterns of frequent maintenance difficulties and service failures. Customers may forever view cable and Internet providers as overpriced services, but there is substantial room for improvement. Improvements seem reachable by improved messaging, increased effort, and greater attention to keeping customers happy.