Tata Sky, the country's second-largest DTH service provider, has emerged on top in the customer satisfaction survey conducted by Hindustan Times and MaRs.
The company scored the highest points — 839. The industry average was 806 points.
In five of the eight cities where the survey was conducted, it was ranked number one.
"We had institutionalised the whole business of customer satisfaction ever since we launched the services," said Vikram Kaushik, managing director and CEO of Tata Sky.
The company, which launched its services in August 2006, also has the first mover's advantage.
"Every six to 12 months, we get a national survey on customer satisfaction conducted by AC Nielsen. It has a large sample and is spread throughout the country," said Kaushik. "We have found that Tata Sky has been reaching global benchmarks."
The company has topped with 807 points on 'buying experience', while Airtel, at number 2, has 797 points. Tata Sky also scores the highest in 'audio and video quality'.
When it comes to channel choices and features, and service interactions, it is again the leader.
However, in complaint redressal, Tata Sky is behind Airtel (though with 765 points, it is much above the industry average of 728).
"We have 5.5 million subscribers and hence the volume of complaints is very high," said Kaushik. "When a subscriber makes a call to a call centre, there may be traffic at peak hours. This may be the reason for being at number two position (in complaint redressal)."
But Tata Sky is expanding its helplines. It has five call centres, with 1,100 people attending calls in 11 languages. "We are meeting the quality of service norms prescribed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India."
"Once a complaint is registered at the call centre, the subscriber will receive a message on his registered mobile number of the date, time and the contact details of the service engineer visiting the subscriber's premises to resolve any technical issues," Kaushik said. "All complaints have a completion rate of over 85 per cent across the country."
Tata Sky is second also when it comes to payment options. More than 75 per cent of its total recharges is through mobile phones and the Internet. The rest are via vouchers. "We pioneered payment business for DTH," Kaushik said. "We're confident our billing system is working very well."
The company is behind Airtel in 'uninterrupted services'. DTH services are often disrupted by bad weather.
Expressing surprise at not leading the pack in this, Kaushik claimed that the lack of disruption had nothing to do with the MPEG4 or DVBS2 technologies, as claimed by competitors. "They are basically compression technologies," he said.
The company claims it is the only DTH player that has a policy of changing set top boxes in case customers have problems with them (Tata Sky set top box failure rate is only 3 per cent).
"In situations where there is a power supply failure, Tata Sky formally replaces the subscriber's set top box with a new one during the warranty period," said the company spokesperson. All complaints pertaining to Tata Sky set top boxes are looked into "within 24 hours or a maximum of 48 hours, depending on the location", he added.
Tata Sky was the second private operator to launch DTH services in the country. In terms of subscriber base it is the second largest private operator after Dish TV.
The challenge for Tata Sky is to minimise disruption of its services because of rain or bad weather, and make its response to customer complaints more efficient.