Friday, August 19, 2005

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

Isn’t Mick Jagger fab? The guy just turned sixty-two in July and he is still strutting his stuff with a vengeance. Even my twenty-three year old son is a huge Stones fan. It gives us something to talk about.

Mick may not know it but he has a lot in common with LaChania Govan of Illinois. She can’t get any satisfaction either. She called Comcast at least forty times in one month to complain about a newly installed digital recording box and was repeatedly put on hold and sometimes thrown into the Spanish language voice mail. She doesn’t speak Spanish. But she can read her bill and it was just insult to injury when she got nailed for $77.50 during her month of trying to get the box to work right.

However that was not the icing on the cake, on receiving her bill she noted that somebody had changed her name to “Bitch Dog.” Mick would probably take that as a compliment but LaChania was not amused.

Comcast reps scratched their heads and mea culpaed. They need to keep doing that because I have a sense there’s a whole “corporate culture” thing going on with them and various other cable guys.

J.D. Power and Associates just released results of their latest customer satisfaction survey on cable and satellite. It was over-builder WideOpenWest that lead the pack with a whopping 717 points out of 1,000. They beat out DirectTV by one point. Multichannel News reports that overall cable is doing much better in customer satisfaction and there’s been much talk lately about how cable is decreasing its bleed of customers to satellite. Funny how that “customer satisfaction” thing can help the bottom line, funny how long it’s taken cable to figure that one out.

I did find it hysterical that Comcast rated a 631 only two spots ahead of Adelphia even as Adelphia wrestles with bankruptcy. And it is the first time any cable operator has scored number one in satisfaction since 2001.

Meanwhile battles rage over competing franchises and even though the cable guys are running scared while the bell boys bear down on them I find it interesting to note that they didn’t spend nearly as much money in Texas as they probably should have. According to reports, SBC spent from $3.3 million to $6.8 million on lobbying while Time Warner, the biggest cable company in Texas, spent from $220,000 to $505,000. The Houston franchise alone is worth more than $500 million a year!

Then again, maybe the hundreds of thousands Time Warner spent were just for show, they certainly stand to gain from the franchise eliminating legislation even if they are stuck in their current franchises in the meantime.

So while Mick and LaChania can’t get any satisfaction, so too it goes for most cable customers around the country according to J.D. Power. The only people seeming to get satisfaction these days are the cable ops as they secretly dance the victory dance in the wake of the huge spending on lobbying and greasing politicians being done so well by the phone companies.

Maybe instead of LaChania being called that name, Comcast actually meant for Verizon and SBC to be called “Bitch Dogs.” Under the circumstances it certainly would seem to be appropriate.

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