Comcast's latest X1 tool, 'Co-Pilot,' lets tech support workers take over screens of befuddled users

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) said it created a new system that allows its tech support staff to take over the screens of befuddled users. The company said the offering, dubbed "Co-Pilot," will roll out to users later this year.

Such tools have long been effectively used by computer hardware and software makers to trouble-shoot problems and educate customers. Introduced by Comcast customer service czar Charlie Herrin himself in a blog post, Co-Pilot is currently in the trial phase, but the MSO plans to make it widely available to its X1 users later this year. The product leverages the IP functionality of Comcast's cloud-based X1 video platform.

"Customers often have questions like, 'how can I set up a DVR recording?' With Co-Pilot, our tech support can see a customer's screen and--after receiving an on-screen verification code from the customer--'take the controls,' walking them through the various features that come with their service."

Comcast explained how the system works in a series of pictures:

Comcast is currently in the middle of what it describes as a $300 million campaign to improve its terrible customer service reputation. 

There has been skepticism as to whether the hiring of 5,500 new customer service workers, as well as three U.S.-based customer call centers in Albuquerque, N.M, Spokane, Wash., and Tucson, Ariz., will solve what is described by some outsiders as an endemic problem of corporate culture.

However, Herrin--a former X1 product manager--has strength in engineering. Since Herrin--labeled a "rising star" by none other than Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts himself--was assigned to specifically address the MSO's sagging service rep in September, he has already introduced one popular service-tech product, Tech Tracker, which allows customers to track the arrival progress of service technicians. 

"New features like Co-Pilot and Tech Tracker are part of our efforts to be more open and transparent with our customers," Herrin blogged. "We want to share as much information with them as possible, and we want them to be able to share what they are seeing and experiencing with us."

For more:
- read this Comcast corporate blog post

Related links:
Report: Comcast demands customer sign nondisclosure agreement to resolve billing dispute
Comcast to hire 5,500 new workers, spend $300M to bolster customer service
INTX keynotes: Roberts debuts X1 voice control, while Powell officially kills the word 'cable'

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