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Joe Karadin, Director, Physical Design for ESI Design, told Loyalty360 that 3 ½ years ago Comcast wanted to partner to “come up with a whole new retail experience” that would support its larger vision for a new overall customer experience.
Now, 3 ½ years later, that mission is accomplished.
Comcast partnered with leading experience design firm ESI Design to create STUDIO XFINITY, a dynamic retail environment where play, technology, and entertainment intersect to create an engaging, fun and fully integrated customer experience. STUDIO XFINITY celebrated its grand opening on July 9 in Chicago.
Cherie Cremer, Vice President of Planning and Operations for Comcast, told Loyalty360 that ESI Design is a world-class design firm and its background in creating immersive experiences for cultural institutions and corporate environments “made us confident that they would bring a fresh and unique perspective to STUDIO XFINITY. The ESI Design team’s expertise in a diverse range of design disciplines, including interactive, retail, and gaming, also made them the ideal partner for collaborating and bringing our shared vision to life.”
Highlights of STUDIO XFINITY include:
A NEW CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT MODEL that provides customers with dedicated service support from the moment they enter the store via a tablet-based, custom designed app. ESI Design worked with the technology design firm Control Group on the technical development of the new Customer Timeline App, which the company is testing at the store. The app helps team members provide service quickly and efficiently by giving them access to customer information, ranging from the services they have to troubleshooting histories.
THREE FLEXIBLE, MULTIPURPOSE STUDIOS with 12- by 7-foot LED screens and theater-style seating. In each studio, customers interact with each other and the studio screen while playing single- or multi-player games (specially designed by ESI Design for STUDIO XFINITY), participating in live demos, or test-driving new or existing Xfinity products. The studios’ media can be focused on a unique activity or coordinated together for hosting store-wide events, launches, movie premieres or larger-scale games.
STATE-OF-THE-ART DEMONSTRATION TOWERS, located throughout STUDIO XFINITY, offer guests the opportunity to explore products and services via iPads or take part in one-on-one or group demonstrations led by STUDIO XFINITY team members.
AN IMMERSIVE AND INTERACTIVE MEDIA ENVIRONMENT with over 800 feet of LED screens and large-scale media installations throughout STUDIO XFINITY, including a 107-foot-long LED media band wrapping the store’s upper walls. The media screens and installations display brand messages and live or on-demand programming that can coordinate with each of the studios.
Karadin shared his thoughts with Loyalty360 about the unique partnership.
“They (Comcast) knew that they wanted to do something that was completely new and felt that our unique approach to designing interactive experiences would make a good fit for re-imagining their store environment and the customer experience,” Karadin explained. “What makes Studio Xfinity unique from a customer engagement perspective are the many levels of engagement that we created in this one store. You could have a hands-on experience, you could passively observe media and content, you can interact with associates, you can transact, play branded Studio Xfinity games, participate in workshops and store events, etc., which allows customers to choose what level of engagement they want to participate in when they walk through the front door.”
Customer feedback played a major role in the creation of Studio Xfinity.
“The ability to capture customer feedback was a very important part of the design from the outset,” Karadin added. “We didn’t want to create a place that was a one-way conversation from Comcast to its customers. We felt that it was critical to Studio Xfinity’s success that it be a two-way conversation with a feedback loop built into the Associate Toolkit that we designed and developed with Control Group to enable a conversation between Comcast and its customers. The store as a living customer service lab environment was a major component to the concept from the project's inception and was something that Comcast was committed to seeing through to the launch of Studio Xfinity.”
ESI defines customer engagement as an interaction between a brand and its customers that goes beyond a purely transactional relationship and that has a deeper and more personal meaning to the customer, Karadin said.
“We wanted to create an environment that sparked that more personal connection, to not only the Xfinity brand, but between customers and Studio Xfinity associates,” Karadin explained. “We believe that by getting the customer to do something and not be simply passive is the most important part of creating that engagement. It’s no longer enough for people to connect to an abstraction such as a brand, it also very important that they connect to other people.”
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