SENIOR UX DESIGNER
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.
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Illustration: Patrick Cusack