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Cable companies rank worst for customer service

There's an old joke about customer service: A man dies and is given the chance to look at both heaven and hell before deciding which to choose. In hell, he finds a group of happy people having a feast, drinking fine wine and listening to great music. Heaven is peaceful, but a little dull. The man chooses hell, but upon arriving, he finds only anguished faces and incredible heat.

"What happened to the food, wine and music I saw yesterday?" he asks the devil.

"Yesterday you were a prospect," the devil replies. "Today you are a customer."

While not quite devilish, many companies appear to go to great lengths to acquire customers, only to treat them poorly once they are on board. A new survey conducted by Op4G finds that cable companies are the worst offenders of this sort, evoking customer-service dread in more respondents than any other type of company.

The companies customers hate calling

When asked what type of company they most dread calling, 25 percent of survey respondents named cable companies. Gathering 15 percent of the vote, credit card issuers were the second most popular choice -- aside from "none," which gathered a surprising 20 percent of the vote.

The apparent poor service standards of cable TV companies may be a lingering habit from when the local cable company typically had a monopoly on premium programming in an area. Now, with the proliferation of alternatives such as satellite, Internet service providers and phone companies, cable companies may want to re-examine their approach to customer service.

Worst things about trying to reach a representative

The survey also examined which customer-service experiences most annoy consumers today, and it appears many consumers' frustrations start with simply trying to reach someone to listen to their problem. When trying to reach a representative, the most common complaint was long waits on hold, which was cited by 42 percent of survey respondents. Phone trees that don't have an option for what the caller needs were also a common complaint, at 26 percent.

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