It’s no secret, ISPs are bad at customer service.

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“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? bad_service_blog_gx 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.

2014 Net Promoter Benchmarks

Internet Provider Customer Satisfaction Ratings

If you have any bad internet service provider stories, tell us in the comments below!

Posted in: Opinion

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About Ben Anderson

Ben Anderson is a graduate of the University in Iowa. While attending school, Anderson and a team of fellow students wrote a business plan for X-Wires, an Internet service provider focused on providing wireless Internet services to businesses and residences. Anderson and his team launched and grew the business to incorporate multi-family residential locations including colleges and university campuses, student housing, apartments, hotels and retirement communities. In 2010, portions of X-Wires were sold to publicly traded Keyon Communications of Las Vegas, Nevada and Campus Televideo of Stamford, Connecticut. Bandwidth Pool continues Anderson’s mission to bring low-priced, high-quality Internet access to an even larger segment of the population.

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  • Patrik

    So this is a Global truth :)

    I have never seen a worst service that starhub in Singapore. I have called 3 times so far with a Network issue –

    I get to hear is the case is still with Level 2 technician and when I
    asked then the reason for the delay all I hear is that no response
    recieved from then as these people at front desk only have permission to
    email and dont even know whos the technician . When I asked to call
    their manager all I hear is their manager is all on meetings and so I am
    left with no option but to wait . I cant escalate the issue but wait
    till eternity.

    had taken 1 day leave from Office just t solve the issue and now I am
    waited till evening just looking at computer and testing when my website
    will start working.

    Never seen a worst
    service like this. I will never ever recommend any one to go to Starhub .
    Singtell or M1 is the best choice so far.

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