As news outlets and blogs publish their lists of the good, bad, and ugly for everything from movies, songs, YouTube videos, celebrity couples, technologies, and sports moments, to tweets, Instagram posts, hacks, images, selfies, advertisements, and so on, I'm joining in with my lists of cheers and jeers in the customer experience world.
Here are the worst customer experiences in 2014.
1. Time Warner Cable bottoms out on the Consumer Satisfaction Index
It's no secret that subscription TV is on the decline. With more alternatives and the rise of streaming video from companies like Netflix and Amazon, cable companies must focus on service and experience to compete. Time Warner Cable is one of those companies after it scored the lowest rating in the American Consumer Satisfaction Index 2014 Telecommunications and Information Report with a 56 (a 7 percent decline from last year's report). In terms of Internet service, TWC got a 54 (a 14 percent decline from last year's report).
Rising costs, poor reliability, and declining customer service are to blame for low customer satisfaction with pay TV services and Time Warner Cable is taking notice, as earlier this year the company announced that it will begin transforming the TV and Internet service experience in seven markets in 2015: Charlotte, Dallas, Hawaii, Kansas City, Raleigh, San Antonio, and San Diego. More than 3 million customers in these cities will have access to Internet speeds up to six times faster than before, along with many other enhancements, by year-end. Sounds like the cable giant is committed to transforming the perception in the market by investing in best-in-class customer experience.
2. Belligerent Comcast agent experience goes viral
In the same ACSI report, Comcast came in second to last, at 60 (a 5 percent decline from last year's report). And it's no wonder based on reports of its poor customer service. In June, tech blogger Ryan Block had an encounter with an Comcast agent that would rank 1st in a service experience hall of shame. When Block called to cancel his service, the rep proceeded to torture him for 20 minutes, badgering him and demanding to know the reason why he wanted to cancel with the "#1 rated Internet service." Block recorded the call and put it online, a post that has since received millions of hits and stirred a massive media response. Comcast has since apologized, saying the company was very embarrassed by the way its employee spoke with Block and his wife. "The way in which our representative communicated with them is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives," the Comcast statement said.
3. Data breaches are on the rise
Retailers were hit hard by data breaches in 2014. Between July and September of 2014 information security company SafeNet counted 320 reported data breaches, an increase of 25 percent compared to the third quarter of 2013 with more than 183 million customer accounts exposed. And according to the Identify Theft Resource Center, there have been 761 data breaches reported in 2014. The retailers with the greatest number of breaches included Home Depot with 56 million, Michaels with 2.6 million, and Staples which reported 1.16 million records were compromised.
4. Major League Baseball owner tells unhappy fan to stay home
When a Colorado Rockies fan completed a survey in early July after the team's 9-0 loss he likely didn't expect to receive the response that came to his inbox. The fan added additional comments to the survey about how frustrating it is to spend money to go to games when the team is constantly struggling. His comments didn't go unnoticed when two days later the team's Co-Owner and CEO Dick Monfort sent a reply that simply stated, "If the product and experiences are that bad, then don't come!"
5. Uber Gets Rocked by CX Scandals
Afflicted by a seemingly endless surge of scandals, 2014 seemed like Uber vs. customers. From price surges and sexual assault allegations to illegal practices against journalists and customer harassment, Uber gained its fair share of negative news mentions. As Uber deals with myriad lawsuits, the company definitely needs to be more sensitive with its PR, enact safety policies for customers, and ensure fair pricing practices.
What's your worst customer experience of 2014? Check back on January 5th when I list the best customer experiences of 2014.