Special Report

Customer Service Hall of Shame

Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

> Pct. “poor” ratings: 19.5%
> Revenue: $163.8 billion (AT&T)
> Industry: Cable/satellite TV company

Acquired by AT&T in 2015, satellite tv service DIRECTV is the largest pay television service in the United States. It is also one of a few AT&T properties to rank among the companies with the worst customer service. Many customers complain that satellite reception cuts out, sometimes during storms and sometimes without explanation. Customers also complain about long hold times to resolve relatively simple issues over the phone.

Happy employees often translate to happy customers, and according to employee review site Glassdoor, only 61% of AT&T employees would recommend a job with the company to a friend. The share among the DIRECTV division is likely far lower, as before it was taken over by AT&T, only 53% of DIRECTV employees would recommend a job with the company to a friend.

Source: Rob Wilson / Shutterstock.com

5. AT&T
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 19.7%
> Revenue: $163.8 billion
> Industry: Mobile telephone company

Both AT&T’s cellular phone service branch and U-verse, its fiber-optic television service, rank among the companies with the worst customer service. For each service, nearly 1 in every 5 survey respondents rated their experience with the company as poor. Television and internet service providers are notorious among American consumers for their poor service, from inadequate call centers to providing customers with a window of time for home visits that spans several hours and often forces them to take time off work. AT&T’s U-verse does both.

Meanwhile, according to the most recent report by cell service analysis company RootMetrics, AT&T lags behind competitor Verizon in measures of overall service, reliability, speed, data, calling, and texting.

Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

4. Sprint
> Pct. “poor” ratings: 20.6%
> Revenue: $33.3 billion
> Industry: Mobile telephone company

More than 1 in 5 surveyed Sprint customers rate the company’s service as poor, the largest share of any major wireless carrier and the fourth largest share of any large company overall. Low customer satisfaction may limit the number of Sprint subscribers and hurt the company’s bottom line. While Sprint is the fourth largest U.S. wireless carrier with 52.7 million subscribers, Verizon — the best rated of the big four wireless carriers in customer service — is the largest, with 147.2 million subscribers.

While Sprint has the worst customer satisfaction rating of any wireless provider, the company is slightly improved from last year, when 1 in 4 customers rated Sprint’s service as poor.

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