Voice: The New/Old Human Interface

It started with punch cards, evolved to a cryptic language with phrases such as “c: DIR and CLS,” moved on to point and click, and then reached touch and pinch.

Moving mouses, typing on keyboards, pushing buttons, and touching screens has helped technology become significantly more accessible. But those approaches are still not the ultimate human interface.

While these newer interfaces have much lower learning curves, they still require learning new things. Not only do people need to understand physical interfaces, but they also need to understand logical ones. If you want to watch the TV show “Blue Bloods,” then you need to figure out both the channel and the time that it’s on.

So what’s next?

One of our 2016 CX trends is “Speech Analytics Piloting.” The technology for recognizing, understanding, and responding to human speech has evolved to the point where it can be more practically deployed. In our trends, we identified that analyzing phone calls from customers can uncover amazing insights. But the power of speech goes well beyond just listening and analyzing.

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XFINITY Is (Unfortunately) More Of The Same

After seeing multiple Comcast ads about it’s seemingly new super-duper offering, I was left with a nagging question: What exactly is XFINITY?

So on a recent trip to a Comcast office to replace a modem, I asked the Comcast employee behind the counter my question: What exactly is XFINITY? After about 30 seconds of her saying seemingly random things about platforms and content that I couldn’t understand, she finally said that it was just a new name for the products that we already use from Comcast.

I went to the website to verify that finding. After sorting my way through flashy graphics that disrupt the usability, I found a definition for XFINITY — and it sure sounds like just a new name for some additional features to the existing Comcast products.



My take: What a lost opportunity.

It would have been great if XFINITY was a new offering with a redesigned service model. Why? Because Comcast can definitely use a customer experience makeover. In Forrester’s 2010 Customer Experience Ranking of 133 companies, Comcast came in 126th for it’s Internet business and 125th for its TV service. It also came in 105th/109th out of 114 companies in the 2008 rankings and 95th/101st out of 112 firms in the 2007 rankings.

Repositioning a company or brand is a great opportunity for improving your entire operations. I’ve discussed how Alaska Airlines engaged its employees with its North of Expected campaign, Ford engaged its employees with its Drive One campaign, Staples redesigned customer interactions as part of its That Was Easy campaign, and JetBlue embedded its value across touchpoints in its Happy Jetting campaign.

But Comcast chose a different path with XFINITY; resembling marketing campaigns that I’ve chided in the past from JP Morgan ChaseCircuit City, and John Hancock for being empty promises:

Probability Of Success For Branding Efforts

Positioning And Scope Of Effort

The bottom line: Comcast needs more than just XFINITY ads

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