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Whatever happened to making customers happy?

Don Reisinger thinks cable companies don't want to make customers happy anymore. Is he right?

I remember a time in business when we were told that the customer is always right. Sure, they may not have the greatest grip on the reality of the situation and they may misunderstand things every now and then, but when it's all said and done, they're supposed to be happy.

But in today's world of lawsuits and overzealous attorneys, it's quite apparent that ISPs couldn't care less about customer happiness and would rather perform acts that are suspect, to say the least.

Case in point: The FCC said on Wednesday that Comcast illegally interfered with file-sharing activities on its service and by slowing down BitTorrent traffic, failed to act within the auspices of the law and its agreement with customers.

"Our network management practices were reasonable, wholly consistent with industry practices and . . . we did not block access to Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services," Sena Fitzmaurice, a spokeswoman for Comcast told the Washington Post.

But were the company's practices reasonable? That's debatable. But one thing is abundantly clear: ISPs have lost all value in customer relationships and over the past few years, have shown their severe distaste for consumers.

Call me old-fashioned, but this idea of metered Internet access is both foolhardy and extremely damaging to the solid offerings we already have in place.

Why should I be forced to pay more for higher speeds and more bandwidth just because I may use more than the average person? The reality of the situation is that I don't get what I pay for now as it is and in the grand scheme of things, the future of the business will be dictated by customers and nothing else.

So why ostracize your customers? Because the ISPs know all too well that they have you right where you want them. In most areas, you're only offered one high-speed service and even then, you're probably not getting all that you've bargained for. And who can stop them? With hardly a chance of another company moving in on their turf, most ISPs don't have a worry in the world if you're upset and if you threaten to pack your bags and go elsewhere with your business, they don't care.

And that's the environment we live in today. The days of customer satisfaction have given way to customer distaste. It's as if most of these companies spend more time trying to stop you from using the service than improve it and more often than not, companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and others make no mistake of their intention of stopping you from any kind of file sharing if it's going to cost them money.

And although I feel like I say this all too often, why can't these companies stop with the distrust and distaste and start trusting that the vast majority of users are actually good and deserve to be given the kind of satisfaction and pricing that they get elsewhere from other industries?

And perhaps that's why I'm so happy to see the FCC finally doing something right and ensuring that ISPs don't abuse their power again. If nothing else, this will set a precedent for the future and at this point, that's all we can ask for.

But in the end, it's time ISPs start caring more about customers and trying to make them happy instead of ostracizing them and making them feel miserable. I don't think that's too much to ask.

Check out Don's Digital Home podcast, Twitter feed, and FriendFeed!