U.S. streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, with their ever-growing range of on-demand services, are permanently changing the way users watch television. Declining viewer numbers, especially among younger target groups, are putting pressure on linear television. To keep up with strong competition from overseas, European platforms must also up their game in terms of usability and flexibility. For example, an important component of user-centric usability is that users can easily manage their own subscriptions. This is certainly no secret, but still many TV platforms lag behind in this regard. One solution that is helping TV platforms catch up in terms of usability is the Visual Customer Center: an app that allows users to book, manage and cancel channel packages directly on the set-top box. There are five important factors that platforms should consider when creating a Visual Customer Center.

1. direct availability

First and foremost, a key requirement for a smooth user experience is a quick response from the product. Therefore, the content offered by a Visual Customer Center should be directly postable on the set-top box. Avoid users having to wait a long time for content. As a rule, a new purchase should be possible without delay, but with a maximum waiting time of 30 seconds.

2. optimal navigation

The major streaming services have raised the bar in terms of usability, and the TV is no longer the only device for watching movies and series. As more and more people use laptops and tablets, users have become accustomed to the easy and intuitive way of navigating on these mobile devices. It is therefore all the more important that platforms adapt to this new user behavior and enable users to reach their destination easily and with just a few clicks using the remote control.

3. all information up-to-date and in one place

Intransparent, confusing or even missing information hinders a good user flow in the bud. That's why it's important that the Visual Customer Center consolidates all information about prices and terms of use, such as cancellation periods, in a single, easy-to-find location. It is equally important that booking information is always up to date and that the movies and series most relevant to each user are shown with appealing preview images.

4. flexible booking options

Good customer service is important, especially for users who have encountered a problem that they cannot solve themselves with the help of a Q&A on the web. However, users naturally prefer to spend their time in front of the TV rather than on the phone with a help desk operator. A good Visual Customer Center should therefore offer users the option of managing the packages they have selected themselves and booking them directly online on the box rather than in writing or by phone.

5 Smooth interaction of back-end components

A visual customer center for TV platforms is often based on highly complex technical infrastructures. In order for a user to be recognized in the app by entering his PIN and assigned to his account, the platform's booking systems must be connected to the app. This happens in the background, through the interaction of backend systems and APIs. This interaction tightly connects the Visual Customer Center to the output of various technical components, often developed and operated by multiple parties. Ensure that the various backend components are live and working together smoothly. This way, the user is not prevented from buying due to technical conflicts.

Unitymedia: Best example of a successful Visual Customer Center

Visual Customer Centers should have been standard long ago, but they are not. To compete successfully with OTT offerings, platforms need to adapt to changing user behavior in television. A well-functioning Visual Customer Center is essential and promises higher average revenues per customer. For Unitymedia, we have developed a solution that acts as a hub, bringing together all the components and ensuring they function properly. This means that the app is responsible for absorbing the complexity of the systems involved in such a way that it provides the user with the high level of usability and ease of use that makes the TV experience much more attractive. We are pleased that we were able to successfully support our partner Unitymedia in this way.