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Cable subs under threat as Americans ‘feel the love’ of internet TV providers

US consumer focus groups show that cable TV providers need to dramatically improve customer service to compete with internet TV players

New York(29 Jun 2016)

Americans want cable TV providers to improve customer service and meet the high standards set by progressive internet TV players, according to research commissioned by pay-TV subscription, billing and CRM experts Paywizard. Americans are drawn to the next level of customer service that companies like Netflix and Amazon are providing, characterized by features such as quick and easy signup, lack of contracts, free trials, instant account changes, transparent billing, and the ability to leave and return at any time.

US focus groups revealed that Americans are frustrated with poor customer service from cable providers that held a monopoly prior to internet TV, and now desire a better, more flexible experience, which they are likely to reward with loyalty.  American participants expressed opinions such as “I hate dealing with my cable company”, “it takes longer for them to get back to you” and that [internet TV providers] “are way better for customer service”. Conversely they praised internet TV providers for being “really responsive”, “reachable all the time”, having “different ways of getting in touch with them”, and willing to “bend over backwards to make you a satisfied customer”.

The aspects of customer service that consumers crave most from a TV service provider in 2016 are:

  • Contract free commitment
  • Simple, flat-rate pricing with little ambiguity
  • A free trial period to test the service
  • Simple and fast registration – no input of excessive personal information
  • Easy sign-in
  • Accessibility across devices
  • Personalization and recommendation features that work
  • Ability to make rapid account changes (upgrades/downgrades) onsite
  • Proactive and personal support features, such as webchat and helplines
  • Ability to leave at any time
  • Winback offers to entice returning customers

“Our research shows that Americans are placing far more value on customer service as a TV differentiator, as it becomes easier to join, cancel and move between services. Viewers have had their fingers burnt by long-lasting and rigid cable subscriptions, and see internet TV as heralding a new era and leading the way for traditional players to follow – hence why cord-cutting and cord-shaving is gathering pace. Americans now want a whole new level of customer service - especially helplines and guidance features – and are increasingly prepared to reward those services that go the extra mile. TV service providers would do well to consider just how great the impacts of proactive and personalised support functions can be in terms of securing loyalty and stopping users drifting to alternative platforms, as well as new approaches like offering skinny bundles” says Bhavesh Vaghela, CMO, Paywizard.

The consumer focus groups, which were carried out in New York in March 2016 by qualitative research experts Decipher, aimed to find out which factors motivate consumers to sign up to paid internet TV services and impact how long they stay with a service.

 About Paywizard

Paywizard has been supporting subscription-based businesses for over 17 years. Our experience is real. Helping over 100 Pay-TV operators including: ITV, Setanta Sports, BT Sport, and BoxNation.