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Innovating for higher customer satisfaction in IPTV

Published on 12/09/2018

Category: Innovation

May 22, 2018, was not a good day for the Pay-TV industry.

This was the day that the American Customer Satisfaction Index – a respected national organization that benchmarks dozens of industries – showed Pay-TV operators having fallen three percent from 2017 to land at the absolute bottom of their list.1

Absolute bottom.

With an average rating of 62/100, Pay-TV now ranks behind airlines, municipal utilities, even the U.S. Postal Service, as the industry least able to satisfy its customers.

Even more distressing than the 11-year low was the fact that streaming services rated 75/100 in their first appearance in the Index.

Streaming leading in customer satisfaction in “nearly every measure”

The report shows streaming services exceeding Pay-TV “by nearly every measure,” but some brands stood out more than others. Netflix, Sony PlayStation Vue, and Twitch led with scores of 78. In comparison, AT&T topped the list of Pay-TV providers at 70 – unchanged from 2017, and mere two points ahead of the lowest-ranked streaming service.

“The rise of over-the-top (OTT) streaming services […] have had far-reaching effects by spurring technological advancements, giving consumers greater choice, and challenging traditional business models,” the Index observes.

“They have also fundamentally changed buyer expectations […] OTT operators have raised the bar by providing greater personalization, lower prices, more mobility – and much better customer service. As a result, cable and satellite television customers think they are paying higher prices for lesser value and receiving poor service to boot.”

ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg was more blunt: “Streaming services don’t have the hidden fees and six-month rates that subscription TV does, not to mention they’re cheaper and simpler. But because consumers don’t have many options when choosing a subscription provider, those businesses don’t see a lot of risk in customer dissatisfaction, and we’re unlikely to see dramatic changes anytime soon.”2

Writing in Variety, Todd Spangler added more salt to the wound: “Cable TV has been around for decades – and has a longer history of angering customers with continual rate hikes and subpar customer service.”

A double-barreled dilemma

That was five months ago. But even if the pain of those comments has subsided, the challenges they allude to remain. Pay-TV providers now face a double-barreled dilemma. Not only must they compete against their own reputations, they must compete against disruptive new innovators with none of the history of outages and fee hikes.

To survive and grow, operators must not only overcome their own history of spotty customer service, they must leapfrog their streaming competitors in terms of content, simplicity, and cost.

There’s very little that the Operations side of the house can do to deliver on content. However, boosting customer satisfaction falls explicitly within its responsibilities and based on the most recent Index, there’s more work to do than ever before.

Pay-TV call center performance slipped once again, down three points to 63 (the lowest rating of all attributes), compared to 75 for streaming services.

Call centers are costly

Customers rarely call for reasons other to report an outage and the meter starts running the moment a call center rep answers. If resolving the issue involves sending out a truck, the costs increase even more. But until operators can build a system with 100 percent guaranteed up-time, Operations teams must focus on minimizing the chances that outages occur at all.

Operations must innovate to turn the tide

It would be easy to recommend these teams stay the course with their current systems and approaches. Given the latest Index, however, such a move would also be incredibly unwise. A smarter approach would be to adopt an innovative new platform that does not just provide teams with detailed statistics and insights into performance problems, but that actually solves them automatically, before they occur.

Armed with these innovative capabilities, operations teams would be able to deliver more consistently reliable service, cut costs, and reverse the downward trend in customer satisfaction. Because the key to success in Pay-TV is having customers looking at their screens, not through their windows waiting for the repair truck.

If you’re ready to increase innovation in your Operations team, contact us to request a demo of our Elevate Cloud IPTV platform or call Ken Brazile at 1-888-4-ESPIAL.


1 ACSI Telecommunications Report 2018, ACSI, 2018.
2 ibid.
Image by Cody Doherty via https://unsplash.com/@codydoherty
Jaison Dolvane
CEO at Espial
Jaison Dolvane
CEO at Espial

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