“My Internet Service Provider has the best customer service!” exclaimed no one…ever.
If you were to pick ten of your friends, colleagues, or family members and ask them if they like their Internet Service Provider (ISP), how many would say “yes”? According to the 2014 Net Promoter Benchmarks, the answer is “not many.”
For those who aren’t familiar, Net Promoter scoring is based on the idea that a company’s customers are divided into three major categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. When asked how likely a customer is to recommend that company’s services on a scale of 1-10, Promoters are those scoring 9 or 10, Passives are those scoring 7 or 8, and Detractors are those scoring 6 or below. A company’s Net Promoter score is calculated by the percentage of customers who are Promoters, subtracted by the percentage that are detractors.The system is a great way to identify bad internet service providers based on consumer sentiment.
In the 2014 iteration of the Net Promoter Industry Benchmarks, the leading ISP, Brighthouse Networks, scored a measly 20. There are two factors which make this score even more depressing to me: the worst rated ISP, Mediacom, scored a -22… -22! While the highest rated company across all industries USAA, was from the banking sector and scored an 81!
So, why is Internet service so notoriously bad? I decided to ask some of my colleagues who work at ISPs rated worst on the list and the nearly unanimous response was “Poorly managed acquisitions.” When I probed, the explanation made a lot of sense. Telecommunications acquisitions have become extremely commonplace in the last 20 years. One colleague works for a company that has completed 7 acquisitions, including over 12 companies since 2007! The picture he painted suggests that (surprise!) these acquisitions don’t always run smoothly. Usually, a short time after an acquisition takes place, the acquiring company will lay off a bunch of employees to realize a short-term positive benefit to the bottom line. These cuts often take place before knowledge from the exiting employees can be effectively transferring to the operations of the newly formed conglomerate. Poor knowledge transfer reduces the number of experienced employees left to train the new employees. This hurts the consumer, leading to longer than required support calls, incomplete customer and network information, unnecessary outages, longer installation time-frames, and ultimately unhappy customers. And unhappy customers are the tell-tale sign of a bad internet service provider.
With telecommunications acquisitions continuing to dominate headlines (Comcast and Time Warner, Sprint and T-Mobile, Level3 and TW Telecom, AT&T and DirectTV) the responsibility is on these companies to take a careful look at how the acquisition and integration of the new company is managed. As we’ve seen above, if it’s not done right, the result isn’t too pretty.
How does your ISP rate? Take a look at the links below.
If you have any bad internet service provider stories, tell us in the comments below!
Posted in: Opinion