New analysis from suggests that the cable industry’s poor reputation for customer service may present problems for them, while opening windows of opportunity for their competitors. “We’re starting to see more bundles of voice and data integration offerings, and we have seen promotional pricing to capture the market. But there is such discontent among CATV subscribers that telcos are able to move in and steal customers,” says Stan Schatt, vice president and research director for ABI. Before telecom competitors start patting themselves on the back, ABI suggests that telecom customer service is not exactly stellar either, just better than low performing cable. Interestingly enough, cable is being rated higher than telcos for phone service in recent studies, but as this ABI research suggests, lower for their core video service.

ABI goes on to postulate that telcos have a real advantage when/if they are able to leverage IPTV and its many potential advanced features. Coupled with cable’s poor service reputation, telcos have a real opportunity to seize the market. Cable recognizes these deficiencies and says they are committed to improving their customer service practices. CEO Brian Roberts recently acknowledged that Comcast needed improvement and outlined some steps they plan to implement. Time will tell if this is just lip service. ABI suggests that telcos may gain competitive advantage from these factors, provided they can execute well and not make some of the same customer service mistakes that has led to cable’s poor reputation.

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