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Customer Service Woes

Kim Hart

When it comes to customer service, wireless and cable companies still have a lot to learn. At least, that's what new data released today by the American Customer Satisfaction Index suggests.

Satisfaction among subscribers of cable and satellite TV dropped during the first quarter, once again earning the lowest level of customer satisfaction among all industries covered by the report, which is an independent survey taken by the University of Michigan. Comcast, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable all lost points this year--a result of unreliable service that has been exacerbated by the new bundling trend. Now that the industry is bundling Internet, phone and cable offerings together, customer satisfaction may dip even more, the survey suggested: Any disruption causes the customer to lose all three services.

The wireless industry appears to have fared slightly better with modest gains made by AT&T's Cingular, T-Mobile and Verizon. In fact, the wireless industry is at an all-time high in terms of customer satisfaction. But that's not saying much: it still ranks far below the national average, earning lower scores than, for example, Continental Airlines, Wendy's restaurants and UPS.

Sprint Nextel, however, continued to slide backwards on this front. Nextel's network problems and outdated phones have been major contributors, the report said, and customer satisfaction with Sprint is "falling way behind competition, from on par with the industry in 2005 to 10 percent below by 2007."

After the company reported major financial losses in the first quarter, analysts pointed out that Sprint's reputation of having poor service has caused many customers to switch to other carriers, even if it means breaking contracts and shelling out more money for a new handset.

What do you think? Is the survey accurate when it comes to Sprint's customer service? Has anyone out there run into serious issues when dealing with Sprint?

If you have a comment or a story, feel free to e-mail me at

By Kim Hart  |  May 15, 2007; 11:40 AM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

My fiancee switched over to T-Mobile with me because of how bad it was to deal with Sprint. This has been a problem for years.

Posted by: Chris | May 15, 2007 12:21 PM

DISH has been much worse than Sprint. They failed to repair defective modems, dropped my calls to customer service, once after I was on hold for more than 52 minutes. They promised me more than $100 in rebates, and about a month later, I called and asked where my rebates, promised by a supervisor, were. Someone is reconsidering, I was told. Why didn't someone call me? We don't call when we decide not to give a rebate, the DISH rep said. The last DISH e-mail to me said, we'll reply in 24 to 48 hours. That was 3 months ago. Still no resolution after sticking me with two defective boxes, charging me, having me spend more than 40 hours on the phone running tests, and lying about the refund they promised. DISH makes my Sprint service appear to be a dream.

Posted by: llrllr | May 16, 2007 10:34 PM

On the wireless phone side:

The phone provided by my employer is Verizon. My personal phone is a Sprint(NEXTEL) iDEN phone. At least I can make and receive calls if I have a signal on the Sprint phone. The Verizon phone... not so much even with full signal (line of sight to the tower less than 100 yards away)

Posted by: ChrisW | May 17, 2007 12:22 PM

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