Any time you sit down to talk about one of the monolithic internet service providers (ISP) that dominate the market, like Spectrum Internet, you end up with what might seem to be a higher-than-average number of people complaining through customer service reviews about the company’s quality.
Granted, there might be a reason for so many complaints, but remember that it’s a numbers game for most organizations - the larger you are, the more total customers you have, and the more complaints you receive.
This is not to ignore the fact that there are outliers that truly are bad. Spectrum has done nothing to be put in that category yet.
So, there’s that.
But the reality is that some ultra-big companies still manage to rank high in customer service. We’re talking about operations like Amazon, Ikea, Costco, and Apple, to name a few.
The point here is that you don’t get a free pass on customer service just because you’re big. Last time we checked, Amazon was pretty massive too. As the second largest national cable internet provider, Spectrum customer reviews are sort of all over the place depending on where you place your emphasis as a customer:
- Good prices at most speeds
- No data caps
- No contracts
- Poor customer service
- Slower than advertised speeds
It’s the poor customer service that’s most alarming. Without it, customers won’t pay much attention to anything else. Let’s dig a bit deeper into Spectrum's internet customer service reviews. How did Spectrum get so big in the first place?
Back in 2016, Charter Communications bought both Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, a move that cleared the way for what is now truly a monolithic internet and cable television provider that goes by the name of Spectrum.
Finding Spectrum Internet Service Reviews Online
Let’s end the suspense right out of the gate. According to a broad swath of online reviews, the ISP industry comes with low expectations and low performance. There are a couple of different ways to assess whether Spectrum’s internet service is one of the good ones or not.
Your first bet might be to start off by reading through third-party rankings that are published by reputable services. Theoretically, you’re getting an unbiased opinion. Whether there is, in reality, such a thing as a completely unbiased opinion is debatable. We’ll talk about a few of these in a minute.
Secondarily, you can run a search on a phrase like “Spectrum internet customer service reviews” and browse through the ton of unsolicited customer ratings that speak (allegedly) directly and without a filter to an individual’s experience with the company in question. There are problems associated with this method that goes deeper than the internet industry. We’ll talk about these in a minute too.
Why Customer Service Review Comparison Isn’t Always Legit
Internet service is a tough business to get into. It’s a service that everyone wants, so the demand is high and constant. Potential profits are mind-boggling, which explains why there is so much competition among players in the industry.
In recent years, mega-corporations have been buying up small-and-medium-sized operations as fast as they can, leaving a handful of huge ISPs that control dozens or even hundreds of smaller brands. So even if you think you’re buying your internet service from a smaller mom-and-pop business, you’re probably not.
The water is a bit murky for those looking to compare Spectrum to other big players using customer service reviews. Factors at play make evaluating the veracity of any review you read suspect. Why? Here are a few reasons:
- The reviewer has an ax to grind.
- The review was written by a review “mill” in order to earn affiliate commissions.
- The review site is a front for the company to stack the deck.
You probably noticed a common thread here. You cannot know whether any review you read is legit or planted by someone with an ulterior motive. We’ll dig deeper into the nuts and bolts of this internet-wide problem later, but just realize that probably more than one-third of ISP reviews you read are fake. By fake, we mean they were written for a reason other than sharing a true customer service experience.
How do you know what you’re getting? The short answer is you don’t. But there are some things you can do to try to tilt the deck back in your favor.
Third-Parties Rank Spectrum Internet Customer Service
A variety of third parties focus on providing their opinion about the quality of leading internet service providers. Everything else being equal, it would be nice to be able to assume these present a truer reflection of what a company does well and not so well than individual reviews posted in the wild.
Here are three of them.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)
According to The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a survey that rates ISPs by their customer service skills, Spectrum isn’t looking so hot but is improving.
What exactly does that mean?
ACSI ranks ISPs on a scale from 1-100. Two years ago, Spectrum came in at 59. This year they “improved” that number to 63. Unfortunately, 63 still isn’t that hot. Overall, the company came in sixth place for its internet service and fifth place for its television offerings. These scores put it behind other major industry players like AT&T and Verizon.
Founded in the late 1960s, J.D. Power has built a solid reputation for reviewing companies in a variety of industries: automotive, financial services, insurance, and internet service providers among others. While giving Spectrum a 725/1000 score, which falls slightly below average in all regions of the US except the West, Power noted that the “...need and importance of reliable internet has never been so critical as the speed and consistency that drive customer satisfaction.”
There you have it. Reviews and ratings of ISPs have gotten more critical over the years because reliable internet means more to us than it used to. A lot more. Our jobs, education, and entertainment likely depend on it.
For those who might not be aware, the CNET website publishes reviews, news, articles, and videos related to technology and consumer electronics. Obviously, consumer internet service like that provided by Spectrum and others falls squarely on their radar.
CNET has an entire article devoted to the difficulties of evaluating the quality of an ISP's service, and they have a point. Despite the national presence of the big industry players, internet service is really a regional beast. To truly evaluate them would require maintaining a home in every region and actually subscribing to the different services.
But, actually, that wouldn’t do it either because separate customers in the same region can experience a wildly different quality of service. CNET actually turns to the FCC’s required filings and other third parties like the aforementioned ACSI when they start the review process.
The focus is on speed, value, and - the big one - customer care. After dawdling around in their review and referring to Spectrum’s ACSI score, CNET finally managed to come up with their own rating - 7.2 (presumably out of 10). In keeping with the other third-party reviews, it’s a slightly below-average score.
Digging Deeper into Customer Service Review Fraud
We touched earlier on the problem with customer service reviews you might find with Spectrum or any other ISP. We’ll dig deeper here and discuss why PCMag thinks 39% of internet service reviews are untrustworthy.
PCMag Calls “Bull-Pucky” on the Review Industry
No one thinks the internet is a paragon of virtue. Anything you watch or read should be met with a healthy dose of skepticism, but you might not have realized how many of the reviews you place your trust in before buying something are complete nonsense.
How did PCMag arrive at that 39%? They relied on research conducted by BestSEOCompanies.com, which rates and compares SEO services. In addition to their own expertise, the site deployed a free online review-analysis tool called Fakespot. You can try it out yourself if you want to.
The way it works is simply to copy and paste an URL for a product or service into the tool. You’ll get a report telling you how many reviews aren’t worth the pixels they are printed on. Lastly, BestSEOCompanies.com went “undercover” and talked with the people who read and write reviews and marketers to get a feel for how many reviews weren’t on the up and up.
As a side note, even though one-third seems like a pretty big number, other industries are even worse. Check out the following percentages of unreliable reviews:
- Apparel 46.2%
- Home decor 45.6%
- Electronics 42%
- Internet service actually comes in close to the low end of the 12 industries cited in the PC Mag article. The only one lower was books at 22.9%
Combating the Tsunami of Inauthentic Online Customer Reviews
Sort of like the constant battle between hackers and cybersecurity experts, the rest of the world isn’t just standing by and watching suspect customer service reviews pile up. Companies are vested in keeping their site's reviews as believable as possible. Rotten reviews are bad for business. Let’s check in with a few well-known brands to see what they’re doing about the problem.
The world’s biggest brand spends a significant amount of resources to vet reviews and eliminate what they refer to as “inauthentic reviews.” That’s as good a name as any to use, so we’ll go with it. In addition to deploying technology that works similarly to spam filters, Amazon has teams of investigators that personally inspect flagged reviews.
There are clear rules for reviews. Violating them can result in suspensions, bans, and even legal action.
As one of the world's largest online consumer review repositories, TrustPilot literally relies on believable reviews to stay in business. How do they do it? Using methods similar to Amazon, TrustPilot uses fraud detection robots to spot reviews that don’t seem legitimate. Additionally, they have a 50-person team of follow-up investigators.
Part of the problem lies in the companies themselves. TrustPilot’s process allows a company to challenge a negative or critical review of its product or service. TrustPilot would immediately take the review down. If it were later found to be genuine, it would be reinstated, though much further down the list and in a much less prominent position than before. This provided a perfect way for companies to hide their bad reviews, but TrustPilot is working to fix this.
While it might seem like companies are always playing catch-up in the battle to weed out inauthentic reviews, at least they are trying. Imagine what the review landscape would look like if they weren’t.
How to Analyze a Spectrum Internet Customer Service Review
After reading this far, you might wonder what’s the point of finding a Spectrum review online. It seems like the chances of it conveying any real information are pretty low. You might be ready to give up on the internet for good.
Just kidding. Giving up on technology is not really an option in today’s world. Instead, let’s put together a plan for analyzing Spectrum reviews.
Skim for Review Patterns in Obscure Places
It’s easy to get hung up on a bile-spewing customer service review that lays waste to a company from top to bottom. Keep this in mind. Anyone who gets and stays that mad at any company might have more going on behind the scenes than bad internet service.
When you’re scouring the internet for Spectrum internet reviews, at some point, you’ll likely end up in forums and review sites that you’ve never heard of. In these places, pay attention to the big picture. On average, what are people commenting on in their reviews? Is there a certain problem that occurs time and again? File it away but don’t obsess about it.
You have found a pattern if the same issue frequently surfaces on lesser-known sites.
Dive Deeper When the Brand Names Talk
Lots of websites do in-depth reviews of internet services like Spectrum. They’ll usually review each individual company and then rank them within their industry. We’re talking about names like Forbes, US News & World Report, and Consumer Reports. You get the idea. These are companies that aren’t as tied to the review format as, say, a J.D. Powers but do them enough to be a legitimate source of information.
Let’s take Forbes as an example. They have an in-depth review of Spectrum internet service that grades the company at a 3.9 out of 5. It’s probably safe for you to take this kind of review more seriously than the one you find on a Dark Web forum.
Forbes isn’t going to risk their good name built up over many years just to play shenanigans with a single internet service provider review. It’s not worth it. Any possible small financial gain is overshadowed by serious damage to their reputation that could follow. The chances are good they’ll play it straight and give you an honest opinion.
The downside is that a review - ANY review - is just that. An opinion from which your mileage may vary.
The Bottom Line
When it comes down to it, you can read all the Spectrum internet customer service reviews you like (and we suggest you do), but there’s no guarantee that your experience will match up to the research you’ve done. At that point, the best thing you have going for you is that Spectrum doesn’t lock you up with a contract.
This means you can stop the service whenever you want and try a different one. This is a big deal because it means you’re never stuck long-term in a situation you don’t like. Also, keep in mind, when it comes to reviews, that with a mega company like Spectrum, customer experience can vary a lot, but the bottom line is this - Spectrum’s network supplies internet service to nearly 450 million devices.
This indicates they aren’t doing everything wrong.
Is Spectrum internet reliable?
With a company this large, it’s hard to make a blanket statement that it is reliable or not reliable. With around 450 million devices on their network, your connection might be reliable and it might not.
Why is Spectrum internet so bad?
Since we haven’t been allowed behind the curtain to see exactly how service is delivered, the reasons it might be “bad” aren’t cut and dry. Typical reasons for slow internet are too many people on a network and not enough bandwidth.
What is Spectrum’s customer service rating?
Their customer service rating is typically towards the bottom end of the major internet service providers but varies depending on what you look at. For example, Forbes ranks their customer service as “good” and gives an overall 3.9 out of 5 score.
How many states is Spectrum available in?
Spectrum internet service is currently available in 41 states.
Is wifi included with Spectrum internet service?
For a $5 monthly add-on fee you can get wireless service also.