NPS in the communications industry

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Net Promoter Score - Comcast, Verizon, AT&T

In reference to our findings, Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have had changing Net Promoter Scores for their various business segments over the years. For instance, in 2018, Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T had NPS scores of -9, +7, and +15, respectively, in the internet services business segment. Additional details on our findings and research methodology follows below.

METHODOLOGY

In our search for the requested information, we started by looking at sources that are known for being repositories of Net Promoter Scores for companies/industry benchmarks. These sources included NPS Benchmarks, Index NPS, and Satmetrix. Similar sources that we also searched in included Net Promoter, Check Market, and Customer Guru. We summed up this strategy by studying blogs that contained reports on NPS score benchmarking such as Hubspot and LinkedIn Blog, business publications such as Forbes, Fortune, and Inc that usually rank companies and industries across various parameters, and press release resources that included Businesswire, PRNewswire, and GlobeNewswire.

From the above resources, we were able to find NPS scores for Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T i.e. for the overall companies and for internet, cable, and wireless services although the available historical information was not uniform throughout. This was because different sources reported different companies for various years and while collating them together, historical information for all services across the same years could not be gathered. However, since the research criteria did not stipulate specific historical years, past data from various years was provided for various companies as available. These data points provided a view in retrospect for all the three target companies. In the end, we were unable to find NPS data that was specific to landline phone services. We exploited the following strategies in our search for the missing data.

In our first strategy, we focused our search on NPS benchmark reports in sites that included Customer Gauge, NICE, and Customer Monitor. We also looked for similar reports in reputable consultancies that publish NPS benchmarking information like Bain. However, after exhausting this strategy, we were still unable to find NPS information for the landline phone services offered by the three target companies although the sources contained overall NPS information for the companies.

Next, we used LinkedIn to search for the c-suite executives of the target companies who worked in areas like customer engagement, customer relations, and public relations. We then tried to find any available interviews with these executives in sources like Forbes, Fortune, Business Insider, and LinkedIn Blog in the hope that the interviews touched on NPS scores. With this strategy, we determined that while some of the executives provided information on their efforts to improve NPS scores, customer engagement, and customer experience, none of them provided information that was specific to the required NPS scores.

In our last strategy, we focused on press releases in our search for NPS score information because they are usually a rich source of such information for various companies. We did an exhaustive search for information in press releases resources that included the media release sections of each company's website, PRWeb, PRNewswire, Businesswire, and GlobeNewswire. However, from the available information, the reporting, if any at all, was done at a company level score, rather than a service-wise score.

ALTERNATE RESEARCH STRATEGIES
1. ALTERNATIVE DATA POINT
We looked into the annual reports, investor relation filings, and company perceived risk details pertaining to customer relationship and customer acquisition parameters in our search for information on the NPS scores of the target companies for the landline phone service segment. This search was conducted in multiple yearly reports for each of the target companies. Although the companies in some cases mentioned the importance of NPS and detailed the effort they have put in place to improve the score, the exact numbers were not provided as presumably low scores would have hampered investor confidence.
2. CREDIBLE DATABASES

We also searched for relevant information in credible databases. However, most of the reports that were available with this strategy were limited by paywalls. Next, we accessed databases that included NPS Benchmarks, Index NPS, and Satmetrix, but they also did not provide us with any useful information in regard to the unaddressed part of the research criteria.
3. PAYWALLED DATABASE
We looked for NPS benchmarking reports in websites that publish such reports like Customer Gauge, Retently, Delighted, and Net Promoter. While accessible reports from sites such as Retently could be used in research, the reports that were limited by paywalls did not cite any report that had chances of containing the required NPS score information (as understood from the summary section of these reports). We have cited the 2018 Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study by Temkin Group because we thought the information the report contains may be useful in addressing the research criteria.
BROADENING THE CRITERIA
To broaden the research criteria, we looked into NPS benchmark studies that were done for the telecommunication industry as a whole and for its players. Through this strategy, we were able to find some information on companies like Verizon but, again, the information was limited to the company as an overall player in the industry and it was not specific to the target landline phone service segment.

NET PROMOTER SCORE

1. COMCAST

In 2019, Comcast had an overall NPS score of -3. This score has seen an improvement of 20 points from the figure that was reported in 2016.
INTERNET

As an Internet Service Provider, Comcast's NPS score in 2018 was -9.

CABLE

According to the 2017 Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study by Temkin Group, Comcast's NPS score for TV and internet services was also -9 in 2017. In reference to a NPS benchmarking study by Retently, Comcast TV's NPS score in 2015 was -17.

2. VERIZON

In 2019, Verizon's overall NPS score was 7. On the other hand, in 2012, Verizon as an overall player in the telecommunications industry had an NPS score of 37.

INTERNET
As an Internet Service Provider, Verizon's Fiber Optic System (FiOS) had an NPS score of +7 in 2018. Additionally, during the 2015/2016 period, Verizon FiOS had an NPS of 38 while in 2013, Verizon FiOS had a NPS of 51.

CABLE

According to the Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study by Temkin Group, in 2017, Verizon's NPS score for TV and internet services was 17. During the 2015/2016 period, Verizon as a cable/TV service had an NPS of 7.

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS

In reference to the Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, in 2017, Verizon as a wireless carrier named Verizon Wireless had an NPS of 27.

3. AT&T

In 2019, AT&T's overall NPS score was 15. In addition, on an overall basis, AT&T had an NPS of 15 in 2016 and 11 in 2015.

INTERNET

As an Internet Service Provider, AT&T had an NPS score of +15 in 2018.

CABLE

According to the Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, in 2017, AT&T's NPS score for TV and internet services was 11. During the 2015/2016 period, AT&T as a cable/TV service had an NPS of 15.

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS

In reference to the Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, in 2017, AT&T as a wireless carrier had an NPS of 22. Lastly, in 2014, AT&T acquired Cricket Wireless, a company that before acquisition had an NPS score of 34.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Net Promoter Score - Spectrum, Cox, CenturyLink, & Frontier

Charter Communications (Spectrum), Cox Communications, CenturyLink, and Frontier Communications had negative net promoter score in two or more years in the last five years. Charter Communications (Spectrum) is the only company that has a positive net promoter score for the year 2019 as reported by Customer Guru. Frontier Communications got the lowest net promoter score in 2017 and 2018 in an NPS survey conducted by PC Mag. The company got -68 and -74 in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

To look for the NPS of Spectrum, Cox, CenturyLink, & Frontier, we started looking into each company's website for any articles, press releases, or reports that contain information about their net promoter score. Through this strategy, the closest document we found is a 2017 advisory report created by 451 Research, an IT research and advisory company, commissioned by and for CenturyLink's enterprise digital business. This report includes net promoter score (bundled with customer service satisfaction) as one of the key performance indicators in measuring transformation outcomes in enterprise digital business, but unfortunately not CenturyLink's net promoter score.
Next, we looked into each of the company's annual reports. Charter Communications' or Spectrum's annual reports, from 2013 to 2018, do not contain any information about the company's net promoter score. Instead, these annual reports only briefly talk about the company's goal of improving customer satisfaction and reducing customer churn. They also did not include any figures, even in their 2013 annual report, which was the only time they mentioned an increase in customer satisfaction in the five-year range considered. For CenturyLink, just like Charter Communications (Spectrum), their annual reports also talk about improving customer experience, satisfaction, support, and retention without providing any figure or mention of net promoter score (NPS).
Frontier's annual reports also don't have any information about the company's net promoter score. Instead, they have a net experience score, one of the company's performance score metric put in place by their Compensation Committee to measure customer experience and provide incentives for the company to continuously improve their customer experience. In the hopes that their net experience score is an internal name for net promoter score, we checked their annual reports and website for an explanation where this figure comes from and how it is calculated. Unfortunately, we couldn't find such information, so we did not include this in our findings. For Cox Communications, as they are a privately owned company, they restrict access to their annual reports; however, a qualified buyer or investor may request access to these information through their website. Additionally, their last SEC filing available to the public was in 2005.
Lastly, we looked into third-party reports and articles for the NPS of each of the companies. This led us to net performance scores published by NPS Benchmarks, Temkin Group, Customer Guru, PC Mag, and PR Newswire among others. For Customer Guru's NPS information, we provided a screenshot of the NPS of each of the companies in the Google document attached since clicking on their link specific to each of the company routes to the main page of the website and asks the visitor to sign in. As most net promoter score reports by Temkin Group are behind a paywall, we used the press releases about the reports for our findings below. These data may not be the exact figure as some press releases would just enumerate companies that got a certain range of negative NPS. For example, PR Newswire reported, "Citibank and HSBC earned the lowest NPS, followed by four firms that also had scores of -10 or below: Comcast, Charter Communications, Commonwealth Edison, and Super 8." In this case, we labeled them "-10 and possibly lower."

Since not all of the requested information is available for each year from one publisher, we collated what we could find from different sources to see how each of the companies' NPS had changed over time. Additionally, we also could not find a breakdown of these net performance scores to ensure that they don't include mobile phone services, and we could not find any relevant data points to triangulate or calculate the information. Therefore, we are presenting these figures as a representation of all services provided by the company.

Below are our findings:

a. charter communications/spectrum

NET PROMOTER SCORES


RELEVANT FINDINGS

  • The company's negative net promoter scores in 2017 and 2018 may be due to public trust as the company and Time Warner, their subsidiary, were involved in a $7.2 million scandal of overcharging customers. The major factor of this issue having a negative impact on its reputation is Charter Communications and Time Warner didn't proactively refund the overcharges but instead only issued refunds if affected customers reached out to them.
  • Although NPS Benchmarks said that the negative NPS could be due to the company's overcharging scandal in 2016, data shows that even before 2016, Charter Communications got a negative NPS. According to the 2014 net promoter score benchmark study published by Temkin Group, Charter Communications was one of the four firms who got -10 or below for their NPS. Comcast, Commonwealth Edison, and Super 8 were the other three. We tried accessing the original report from Temkin Group to check the exact NPS of Charter Communications for the year 2014; however, the report is paywalled.

B. COX COMMUNICATIONS

NET PROMOTER SCORES


RELEVANT FINDINGS

  • Cox Communications partnered with Medallia, a company that provides cloud-based enterprise customer experience management platform, to improve its net performance score. After 18 months of launching the program, Cox Communications' net promoter score increased by 9 points across tech support, field services, and account services and an increased average of 11 points across its six regions. However, Cox Communications nor Medallia did not provide the before and after NPS score in any of the press releases, case studies, or reports about this partnership.
  • Although the case study by Medallia said there was a 9-point increase in Cox Communications' NPS, it doesn't seem to reflect Customer's Guru's report on the company's NPS as it is showing -9, eight points lower than its -1 NPS from Temkin Group in 2017.

c. CENTURYLINK

NET PROMOTER SCORES


RELEVANT FINDINGS

d. FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS

NET PROMOTER SCORES


RELEVANT FINDINGS

  • This month, Dan McCarthy, CEO and president of Frontier Communications said that the company's "improved customer experience of fixing a service right away leads to a better net promoter score," however, he did not mention any specific NPS figures.


Part
03
of three
Part
03

Communications Industry Net Promoter Score Breakdowns

The average telecommunication industry NPS is 23. The retail and business service sub-sectors of the telecommunication industry largely conform to the overall industry average.

METHODOLOGY

We engaged in an extensive search across news sources, company reports, and industry reports to determine the net promoter score for residential, business and bulk billing customers in the US telecommunication industry, over the last two years. Our research yielded limited research reports on the average net promoter score across the US telecommunication services sub-sectors.
Lacking headway in our preliminary research, we sought to determine the average industry net promoter score, which would inform our determination of NPS performance across the telecommunication industry sub-sectors. Furthermore, we sought to determine the differentiation of service delivery across the telecommunication industry sub-sectors. Such differentiation in service delivery would determine the differentiation of NPS performance in the telecommunication industry sub-sectors. Lastly, we sought to obtain other statistical measures, as well as case studies on NPS performance across the US telecommunication industry sub-sectors. We present below, conclusive research that focuses on the determination of the US telecommunication industry sub-sectors' performances based on the overall industry NPS average, service quality differentiation, case studies, and other statistical measures.

CALCULATIONS

AVERAGE INDUSTRY NET PROMOTER SCORE

From our research, we identified the following telecommunication industry NPS.
Bain Research estimated mean telecommunication industry NPS = 10
NPS Benchmark mean telecommunication industry NPS = 32
Customer Gauge mean telecommunication industry NPS = 27
Average mean telecommunication industry NPS = (Bain estimated mean score+ NPS Benchmark mean+ Customer gauge mean)/3
= (10=27+32)/3=23.
The average mean telecommunication industry NPS is 23, which is an average of the mean telecommunication industry NPS, as evaluated by Bain Research, NPS Benchmark, and Customer Gauge.

BULK SERVICE AGREEMENT

We estimate the telecommunication bulk service agreement NPS based on the difference between Verizon NPS and the bulk service NPS in the Brambleton case study, while assuming Brambleton cable NPS as a statistical outlier.

The average telecommunication industry NPS = 23.
The difference between Verizon NPS (26) and Bulk service agreement NPS (28)=+2.
Where,
Average bulk service agreement NPS= [Average telecommunication industry NPS (23)+
Difference between Verizon NPS and Bulk service agreement NPS (2)]= 25.
The bulk service agreement mean NPS is 25.

RESIDENTIAL

The median net promoter score among home telecommunication providers was zero. The low median NPS for residential telecommunication is constituted by low NPS in home internet and landline. The Median home cable industry Net Promoter Score was 4 in 2018. Verizon was the leading home internet provider, with an NPS of 26. In addition, it was the leading home cable and home phone provider with NPS of 17 and 25 respectively. Considering that a majority of telecommunication subscribers are residential customers, the average industry NPS will correspond to residential customers' NPS. As such, the average residential industry net promoter score is 23.

BUSINESS

Business customers rely on the same network coverage offered to home customers. The key differentiator between home and business service coverage is pricing and not the quality of service. Businesses enjoy the same quality coverage as consumers and as such, have similar Net Promoter Scores with consumer telecommunication services. In this regard, business telecommunication customers have an average Net Promoter Score of 23.

BULK SERVICE AGREEMENTS

Owners of condominiums and complexes undertake, on behalf of their residents, bulk service agreements. Verizon FiOS (internet, phone, and cable) plan was reviewed to have a 28% Net Promoter Score for internet services satisfaction and -54% Net Promoter Score for cable satisfaction by the Brambleton Community Association on a Verizon FiOS bulk service agreement. From our calculations, the average Net Promoter Score is 25 for the bulk service agreements.

Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "Comcast/Xfinity - Net Promoter Score = -9"
  • "However, the company is very much aware of its bad reputation with consumers, and is taking a huge step to turn that around. Starting in 2015, Comcast spread an invested $300 million to grow it’s customer experience team, hiring more than 5,000 new representatives, and will soon boast the largest NPS deployment in the world. "
  • "Verizon (FiOS) - Net Promoter Score = +7"
  • "Verizon (FiOS) - Net Promoter Score Consumer Reports survey, the company had the most customers that would renew their “triple play” bundle (a set price for cable, phone, and internet service), and their TV service had an NPS of 32. Clearly, in the last five years, Verizon has experienced a bit of a downturn in customer satisfaction. But has it? The complicated reality is, Verizon was, for the 12th year in a row, a Reader’s Choice Award winner from PC Mag’s annual competition for Best ISP in 2017. = +7"
  • "AT&T - Net Promoter Score = + 15"
  • "AT&T has a long history of absorption and acquisition since its reformation from Southern Bell Corporation in 2005—such as its 2015 purchase of DirecTV for $48.5 billion. Its purchase of Cricket Wireless in 2014 made Cricket a subsidiary of the company, which followed the usual pattern of bringing a competitor into the fold. As such, AT&T was able to flourish while other companies get to keep their name and branding. This is very handy for AT&T, given their NPS versus others. Cricket, before the acquisition, had a Net Promoter Score of 34."
Quotes
  • "Comcast evaluates its performance through 11 million Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys each year. Since 2016, Comcast has seen a 20-point increase in its NPS score."
Quotes
  • " Verizon, for example, has an NPS of 7 which is considered one of the best in the industry."
From Part 02
Quotes
  • "It should be noted that the likelihood to recommend scores for U-Verse, TWC, Comcast, and CenturyLink are all so low that the resulting Net Promoter Scores (NPS)—which measure just what nice versus nasty things customers are saying—are all negative numbers. "
Quotes
  • "ISPs are notorious in our Consumer Recommended coverage for having low Net Promoter Scores no matter how well they score in other aspects of the Readers' Choice survey. Sixteen ISPs were rated this year in the survey and a full 12 of those had negative NPS numbers. The worst was Frontier's DSL with a -74 percent NPS, maybe the most pitiful score ever."
Quotes
  • "Of the 18 ISPs rated in our Readers' Choice awards last time, 15 have a negative number for a Net Promoter Score (the worst: -68 percent for Frontier's DSL service). "