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Big Businesses Like Verizon, But SMBs Choose Cablevision's Optimum Business

J.D. Power and Associates' new 2009 Major Provider Business Telecommunications Study shows that rankings of satisfaction with telecommunications providers varies according to company size, with smaller and larger companies preferring different providers.The study concentrated on wired telecom services, measuring customer satisfaction with providers of telecommunications data services, such as cable modem, DSL, T1, T3/DS3, Ethernet and frame relay.

The results showed that among small and midsize companies with up to 499 employees, the clear winner was Optimum Business, with a score of 673 out of 1,000. Cox Communications follows Optimum Business in the segment rankings with a score of 669, while AT&T ranks third with 632. Comcast, Qwest, Time Warner Cable and Verizon rounded out the field.

Overall, satisfaction for small and midsize companies jumped 27 points from 600 to 627, after big falls the previous year. One reason is that fewer SMBs reported communications issues with their customer service reps.

The study ranked six factors:

  1. Performance and Reliability
  2. Offerings and Promotions
  3. Cost of Service
  4. Sales Representatives and Account Executives
  5. Billing
  6. Offerings and promotions

SOHO businesses (small office/home office) also put Optimum Business on top, with a 654 score, doing particularly well in Performance and Reliability and Offerings and Promotions. Cox and EMBARQ came in second and third, with AT&T, Comcast, Qwest, Time Warner, and Verizon also being considered.

Interestingly, large enteprises (with more than 500 employees) ranked Verizon highest, with the highest overall score of 694, doing well on Performance and Reliability; Sales Reps/Account Executives; Customer Service; Cost of Service; and Offerings and Promotions. Time Warner was second, and overall, satisfaction for large enterprises was up 7 points from 665 to 672 -- significantly higher than for smaller customers.

Providers have taken major steps to improve customer service since the 2008 study, and those investments are beginning to pay off, said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates, in a statement. Improved service tools and better-prepared customer service representatives have improved problem resolution during the first contact to 56 percent, compared with less than 40 percent in 2008.

Let's hope the telecom providers put similar efforts into improving service for smaller companies compared to their larger competitors.

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