Time Warner Cable has struck again – the company has been named as the number one most hated brand in the United States.
That’s right – of all the companies in the country, Americans have the strongest level of hatred for TWC, at least according to the results of a newly released survey from The University of Michigan. The survey, entitled the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, is something university researchers conduct each year to measure what the most beloved and despised household brands are across the country.
As part of the survey, companies are ranked based on a satisfaction scale, with numbers ranging between 0 and 100. The data collected for this year’s survey comes from more than 70,000 interviews and the inclusion of 230 total brands, in a variety of industries.
Time Warner’s Background and the Results
Time Warner Cable is one of the largest internet and television service providers in America, and it’s actually in the midst of working toward a merger with Comcast. Incidentally, Comcast also fared pretty poorly on the U of Michigan Consumer Satisfaction Index, which isn’t surprising if you think back to earlier this year when a journalist recorded his interaction with a customer service representative from that company.
Just last year, while still not performing well, Time Warner Cable scored 63 out of 100. In 2014 the ratings dropped significantly for the company – to 54 out of 100. Along with being a generally disliked company, TWC also fared poorly in more specific terms – it had the lowest rated Internet service scores of all its competitors and it took the second lowest spot in terms of pay TV service.
Why the Rankings?
There are two issues that likely factored most heavily into the U of Michigan survey results – recent rate hikes by Time Warner, but perhaps more importantly their lack of customer service.
Time Warner Cable as well as Comcast have been under intense scrutiny in recent years for their customer service, or lack thereof. That lack of quality customer service is having a big impact on their entire brand, which has many businesses wondering how they can escape a similar fate.
To put it simply, it’s all about training.
Train, Train and Train Again
When we look at companies that ranked well in the results, for example JetBlue, we see something they all have in common – a strong dedication to comprehensive, robust and continual training and development of employees. In fact, JetBlue is a company we’ve spotlighted recently because of the strength of their corporate training program.
Some of the problems with TWC’s customer service include representatives who seem not necessarily unwilling, but unable to answer customer questions because of a lack of knowledge of certain specials, programs and technical elements.
Back in 2012, a LA Times article highlighted this very issue, with a Time Warner spokeswoman being asked to comment on a specific customer’s case that had gone awry on the phone. She admitted her company’s customer service representative didn’t handle things well, and went on to say the problem stemmed from a need for additional training.
There are clear parallels between how you train your employees in customer service and how they treat your customers. In order to avoid falling into the seemingly endless cycle of negative publicity and declining numbers of customers like TWC, it’s important for companies to spend 2015 looking at how they can ramp up their customer service training.
Time Warner Cable is ultimately a service-based company, yet that service is the very thing that continues to earn rankings of dishonor on a myriad of surveys.
Continue reading our next post on how some of America’s most loved companies get customer service, and training for it, right.