Piers Dillon-Scott


The dark side of service design, and other things we learned this week

What if service design has a dark side. What if some companies design their services to provide a worse customer service, rather than a better one?

By now most of us have probably heard that infamous Comcast call by tech reporter Ryan Block. Last month Block called the media provider to cancel his subscription - it didn't go well, in fact it went viral. Soon after the recording was released Comcast pointed the finger at the customer service rep, they then later issued a mea culpa and promised to do better.

But this wasn't a once-off incident – Comcast's customer support department is designed to operate this way. According to The Verge, which interviewed several current and former Comcast employees, the company sees each customer contact as a sales opportunity. While this isn't entirely unusual (most of us have been up-sold to), what's is unusual is Comcast's confusion of sales and customer service.

So, is this service broken by design?

Companies like Comcast could clearly benefit from some industrial strength service design; the question is, do they really want to improve? Is a poor reputation a price some companies are willing to pay for increased customer retention? And if so, what does this mean for service designers?

Also this week, Google is creating a typeface that can support all of the world's languages; MIT researchers can now lift audio from silent video - which could revolutionise how we spy on others, and how we treat medical conditions; and a cyber security expert managed to hack into an airplane, but he hasn't told us how yet.


Biometric Android

Google opens a new road in the Health App economy with the release of Android Fit's Developer Preview

Read More »


Can London become the Wall Street for crypto-currencies?

The UK's Finance Minister wants London to lead the world in mobile payments and crypto-currencies

Read More »


MIT invents witchcraft

Engineers in MIT have created a system that can lift audio from silent video, by analysing imperceptible movements in pixels

Watch »

#User Journeys

How Comcast screwed up its customer service

By focusing too much on sales during every customer touchpoint, Comcast is degrading its customer service (via Geoffrey)

Watch »

#Experience Design

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents"

The Science Gallery will become a storm bunker next Friday, as hackers and musicians DIY their way through a virtual stormy night

Book your Free Tickets »

#Beautiful Web

Font of all design

Google is designing a single typeface that can support "all of the world's languages." I'll miss those little square boxes.

Read More »

#Internet of Things

Hackers, please return your laptops to an up-right position

See, here's why we shouldn't necessarily connect everything to everything else. One cyber security expert hacked a commercial airplane as a proof of concept.

Read More »

#Digital Transformation

Be kind, rewind

Doghouse Diaries comic explains the "good" old days of Internet-free video rental Read More »

Illustration: Patrick Cusack

Copyright © 2022 Each&Other Ltd.

Registered in Ireland. No. 545982

Privacy Policy