Comcast: 'We’re not just a cable company anymore'

It offers Xfinity Home security and is creating Xfinity Customer Centers to showcase and sell the product
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

PHILADELPHIA—Comcast was a leader among telecoms and cablecos entering the security market, launching Xfinity Home in 2010. Now it’s on the leading edge of a new trend of selling home security in retail stores—opening more than 40 Xfinity Customer Centers nationwide, with more on the way.

“Comcast has really evolved in terms of we’re not just a cable company anymore,” Cindy Parsons, VP of public relations for Comcast, told Security Systems News. “We’re a new technology and media company and I think these stores better reflect all the hard work that’s gone into innovating our products and services.”

She said the stores provide customers “with an opportunity to learn more about and interact directly with the latest Xfinity products and services and try out the new technology.”

Comcast is now part of a retail trend being embraced by both large and small companies selling security.

For example, telecom AT&T is selling Digital Life, its home security/home automation product, in its retail stores as a key part of its sales strategy. Also, retail giant Lowe’s recently announced it is selling its Iris product not only its own stores but in Verizon Wireless stores.

Also, a small, traditional security company, Madison, Miss.-based The Alarm Company, says the retail location it opened in September has proved a success.

Comcast, which is based here, on April 20 held a grand opening of one of its latest Xfinity Customer Centers, a 2,500-square-foot facility in Albuquerque, N.M.

The company said the centers feature “fully interactive touch-screen displays” and “a 3D viewing experience” to learn about Xfinity.

Parsons added, “There are great seating areas, there are iPads for customers to try out our apps, like the Xfinity TV app, and also kiosks where people can learn on their own. People are curious and they want to explore new technology, so we’re enabling them to do this in these centers.”

Parsons said Comcast has “more than 40 new, or newly remodeled, customer centers nationwide and more are planned to launch this year.”

She said that just in the Mile-High Region, which includes parts of Colorado and New Mexico, “we’ve upgraded, launched or opened about a dozen new locations over the last 12 to 18 months.” She said that provides “some scale of the magnitude of what we’re doing with our customer centers.”

Comcast said that at the centers, its customers “will receive personalized service from trained and knowledgeable sales consultants and more time-saving offerings, including a self-service kiosk for quick bill pay and a new queuing system that allows customers to explore and be entertained instead of waiting in line for service.”

“Our employees are excited about it,” Parsons told SSN. “They love the new technology and they’re able to show it to customers.”

Selling home security—and all Comcast’s other products and services—in a retail environment is “new in terms of the ability to open up all of these new technologies for customers to interact with,” Parsons said.

But she said it’s also part of the company’s longtime “ongoing commitment to improve the customer experience.”

The company also sells Xfinity products and services through other channels, such as direct sales, direct mail, online and call centers, Parsons said. “Our direct-sales reps have iPads with them as well so when they’re out in the field they can demonstrate [Xfinity Home] right there on their iPad in someone’s home,” she said.

At the retail stores, customers can explore the products and services at their own convenience. “That’s the nice thing about having multiple ways in which to interact with potential customers about the home security product,” Parsons said.

Comcast launched its Xfinity Home Security product in June 2010, but renamed the service last year to just Xfinity Home to reflect the fact that it includes many home automation features in addition to home security. The product has been rolled out in major markets across the nation.