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Pay-TV Customer Care is Their Weak Link

Pay-TV companies made some advances in customer service satisfaction in 2005 but are still lagging behind many other industries.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index gave cable and satellite companies an overall satisfaction score of 63. Since being added to the index in 2001, cable and satellite have been one of the lowest scoring industries. This year was no exception. Their score is below telephone carriers - which got an overall score of 70 - as well as wireless carriers, which posted a score of 66. The pay-TV industry even scored below the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Web site, which got a score of 73, and the 79 score of cigarette makers.

The pay-TV industry's 2-point increase in customer service satisfaction marked its first increase ever. After scoring 64 in 2001, the industry's rating lingered at 61 during the intervening years.

Among cable and satellite companies, DirecTV Group Inc., the country's largest satellite-TV provider, got the highest rating at 71, up from 67 last year. The scores at most other companies stayed pretty much the same except for Charter Communications Inc., which declined to 55 from 56 for the lowest rating in the industry.

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