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09/10/2008

Customers Respond Positively as Cable and Voice Providers Leverage Web Sites to More Effectively Address Customer Service Issues

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 10 September 2008 —Voice customers who use the Web for customer service inquiries have higher satisfaction compared with those who use the telephone, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Residential Telephone Customer Satisfaction StudySM released today.

The study measures customer satisfaction with both local and long distance telephone service in four regions across the United States. Five factors are examined in determining overall satisfaction. In order of importance, they are: customer service, performance and reliability, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions.

In 2008, the majority of customers (80%) continue to use the telephone for inquiries regarding their voice service, while 16 percent of customers use their provider’s Web site. However, the study finds that satisfaction levels among customers who use Web channels for service inquiries are higher than satisfaction levels among customers who use a telephone to call a service center. On average, satisfaction averages 641 on a 1,000-point scale among Web users, compared with 626 for telephone users.

“In an increasingly competitive market where providers are constantly seeking ways to better manage the costs associated with service support, promoting Web sites as a viable service channel instead of traditional telephone-based support can create significant cost savings,” said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates. “The good news is that customers are responding positively to the Web option. Voice provider Web sites offer customers useful ways to manage their billing needs, review their account information and explore available product and service offerings.”

The 2008 study marks the second consecutive year that cable television providers have dominated the highest-ranking positions across all regions examined in the study.

“According to our market intelligence research on social and consumer-generated online media, customers perceive that cable companies in particular have an advantage when it comes to providing Internet-based telephone service,” said Jeff Taylor, director for J.D. Power and Associates’ Web Intelligence Research Division. “Customers often cite the strength of cable’s existing network infrastructure as a key reason for trusting cable providers with their telephone service.”

Provider results by region are:

East Region: Cablevision ranks highest in the region, performing particularly well in customer service, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions.

South Region: Bright House Networks ranks highest in the region and has strong performances in customer service, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions.

North Central Region: WideOpenWest (WOW!) ranks highest in the region, performing particularly well in customer service, cost of service, billing, and offerings and promotions.

West Region: Cox Communications ranks highest in the West and outperforms all other providers in the region in all factors driving customer satisfaction.

When examining the impact of bundled voice and data services, the study finds that overall satisfaction is higher among customers who bundle two or more services with one provider, compared with customers subscribing to phone service alone. Satisfaction among “triple-play customers”—those subscribing to telephone, cable and Internet service—is 23 index points higher than among those customers subscribing to just phone service.

The 2008 Residential Telephone Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses collected in July 2008 from more than 13,600 customers nationwide who receive their local and long distance telephone service from one provider.

Source: http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2008180


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