InvestorsAugust 30, 2000
Charter Digital Cable And Charter Pipeline Customers “Very Satisfied” According To Survey Results
ST. LOUIS, MO, AUGUST 30, 2000 – Results just released from Charter Communications’ (Nasdaq:CHTR) second quarter 2000 Customer Satisfaction Survey have revealed that customers in long-time Charter markets are significantly more satisfied with Charter than they were two years ago. The study also found that customers with Charter Digital CableÔ and Charter PipelineÔ are more satisfied than customers without these advanced services.
The research results are from Charter’s Continuous Tracking Study, an ongoing survey of customers administered by Walker Information of Indianapolis, an independent marketing research firm. Satisfaction is measured by asking customers over the telephone to rate how satisfied or dissatisfied they are on a scale of one to five, with five being very satisfied, and one being very dissatisfied. Participation is voluntary, and respondents are not paid for answering the survey.
Mary Pat Blake, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Programming, said, “Charter as we know it today includes the rollup of some twelve individual cable companies acquired during the past eighteen months. In order to examine solid trends, isolating customers from pre-rollup markets was important to this analysis. The pre-rollup markets span the country, including our Northeast, Southeast, Mid-South, Central, and Western Regions. Because satisfaction in pre-rollup markets has significantly improved since first quarter 1998, the survey results have confirmed that the Charter culture, with values that include integrity, creativity, and putting the customer first, has resulted in more satisfied customers.”
Improvement in overall satisfaction has been steady and significant since early 1998 in long-time Charter markets, increasing from an average of 3.55 to 3.70 along the five-point scale. Contributing notably to that increase is the percentage of people who said they were very satisfied, which went from 21 percent to 27 percent. An increase of .08 was statistically significant at the 95 percent level. During the same time period, satisfaction with Charter programming, which was the strongest driver of customer satisfaction, improved from 3.40 to 3.68. In second quarter 2000, average satisfaction among Charter Digital Cable and Charter Pipeline customers was 4.06 and 4.11 respectively.
“Overall customer satisfaction was the highest in long-time Charter systems,” according to Ms. Blake. “Former Marcus Cable systems acquired by Charter about eighteen months ago followed closely. However, systems most recently acquired had the lowest satisfaction results. But as we rebuild and upgrade to provide advanced services like Charter Digital Cable and Charter Pipeline, the research strongly suggests that customer satisfaction levels will increase, just as they have in long-time Charter systems.”
Because satisfaction is much higher among customers with advanced broadband offerings like Charter Digital Cable and Charter Pipeline, Charter has accelerated the company’s remaining rebuild and upgrade programs. “By the end of this year, 70 percent of our customers will be served by Charter systems with capacity of 550 megahertz or greater, with a vast majority at 750 to 860 megahertz,” according to Ms. Blake. “When our network upgrade is completed, we’ll have the most advanced broadband network in the nation!”
Ms. Blake said another important step toward more satisfied Charter customers has involved the recruitment of a seasoned professional to lead Charter’s customer care activities. “Obviously, when you acquire and roll up twelve different companies, with twelve different ways of doing business, maintaining that focus can be a challenge. That’s why late last year we added a Vice President of Customer Care to our senior staff who will step up staffing levels and training of customer care personnel. His mission is to implement policies and procedures to ensure that no matter where a Charter customer lives, whether it’s South Miami Beach, or Walla Walla, Washington, they’ll receive the same high level of customer care.”
With more than 6.2 million customers, Charter Communications, a Wired World™ company, is among the nation’s largest broadband communications companies. Charter offers an array of advanced broadband services, including cable television under the Charter Cable TV brand; advanced digital video programming services under the Charter Digital Cable™ brand; and high-speed Internet access via Charter Pipeline ™. Charter’s Class A common stock is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol “CHTR.” More information about Charter can be found on the Internet at www.chartercom.com. (Chart Accompanies This Release)
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Charter Communications, Inc.