Customer satisfaction with TV service providers has increased considerably from 2008 as a result of improvements in outages and problem resolution, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 U.S. Residential Television Service Satisfaction Study released today.

Overall satisfaction averages 632 on a 1,000-point scale-an increase of 23 points from 609 in 2008, which marked the lowest industry average during the past five years.

"In the wake of receding satisfaction scores in 2008, improvements in product performance and the service surrounding it this year suggest that providers are eager to better position themselves to retain and grow their customer bases," said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power, in a statement. "For instance, average time on hold required to resolve a customer’s most recent problem has declined 13 percent from 2008 to 9 minutes, 5 seconds this year. Additionally, fewer customers are experiencing outages, with 11 percent reporting an outage in 2009, compared with 15 percent in 2008."

The positive impact of these changes has also driven an improvement in intention to recommend TV service providers. Among customers who receive programming from satellite providers, 78 percent say they "definitely will" or "probably will" recommend their provider to others, an increase of 6 percentage points from 2008. Sixty percent of cable customers say the same – an increase of 5 percentage points from 2008.

"Despite an improvement in recommendation rates, there isn’t a corresponding increase in loyalty," said Perazzini. "In fact, the percentage of cable customers affirming their loyalty to their provider has declined to 25 percent in 2009 from 27 percent in 2008. Satellite providers have experienced a similar decline with a loyalty rate of 40 percent in 2009 – a four-percentage-point drop from 2008."

The study measures customer satisfaction with cable, satellite and IPTV television providers in four regional segments: North Central, East, West and South. In each segment, five factors are measured to determine overall customer satisfaction: performance and reliability; customer service; cost of service; billing; and offerings and promotions.

For a second consecutive year, AT&T U-verse ranks highest in the West (with an index score of 721) and South (718) regions. In the East region, Verizon FiOS ranks highest for a second consecutive year with a score of 714, while WOW! ranks highest in the North Central Region (724).

The 2009 U.S. Residential Television Service Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 28,118 U.S. households that evaluated their cable, satellite or IPTV provider. The study was fielded in January, March and July 2009.

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