Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has a lot going for it. The company's pay television business has faltered slightly due to cord cutting, but broadband gains have more than made up for that. In addition, the media giant's movie studio remains very strong and its TV assets have continued to perform well.
Walt Disney has a better content portfolio, but Comcast is the Mouse House's closest rival when it comes to intellectual property (IP). It has also done a good job -- as Disney has -- of expanding and exploiting its IP in consumer goods, added programming, and, of course, in its theme parks.
This is a company that has the assets it needs to succeed as consumers change the way they watch television and film content. Comcast's position will get even better if it can steal the Twenty-First Century Fox assets it plans to make a cash bid for from Disney.
Despite the company's strengths and the fact that I'm an annual passholder and fan of its Universal Studios Orlando theme parks, I'm not going to be investing in Comcast. That's because, on the cable side of its business, the company continues to show disdain for its customers.
Comcast is not well-liked
While NBC, Universal Studios, and other Comcast brands are popular, the cable/internet part of the company is not well-liked. In fact, in the recent American Customer Satisfaction Index's (ACSI) 2018 telecommunications report, Comcast ranked well below the industry average in cable and somewhat below as an internet service provider (ISP).
It's worth noting that pay TV and internet are the two lowest-rated industry segments covered by the ACSI. Both scored a 62 in the 100-point scale putting them behind streaming services, which averaged a 75. Comcast scored a 57 in pay television, placing it third from the bottom and a 60 as an ISP landing it roughly in the middle of the pack.
The reason Comcast is so poorly rated is because the company continues to operate as if it has a monopoly (which it does in many markets). Comcast has tried to overhaul its customer service by creating an app that allows consumers to track technicians so they know when it's necessary to be home during an appointment window and by adding social media customer care reps. These positive moves are offset by company's continued arrogance and its willingness to make moves like its recent switch of numerous popular channels to a pricier tier.
"Because consumers don't have many options when choosing a subscription TV provider, those businesses don't see a lot of risk in customer dissatisfaction, and we're unlikely to see dramatic changes any time soon," said ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg in a press release.
Customers deserve better
I believe that Comcast wants to offer better customer service. After a series of scandals, the company began revamping its customer service efforts in 2015. The fact that the cable giant saw its ACSI score drop on the latest report suggests that those efforts have failed.
Being incapable of fixing its customer service is going to become a bigger problem for Comcast as consumers continue to gain alternative choices for cable (like streaming and over-the-top services) and maybe eventually internet. Once that happens, it's almost too late because it's hard for anyone to accept a company that treats people well only when it has to.
Comcast simply hasn't shown respect for its cable and internet customers and it has shown that even when it wants to be respectful, it does not know how to. That's reason enough for me to never buy a share in the company even though I believe in its overall business prospects.