Originally Posted by Satch Man
This should have been about creating a new IPG for the benefit of the customer.
Says who? We as customers certainly would wish this is about a better IPG... but any such thought is just wishful thinking or simply implied from the marketing materials that TW is putting up in front of the switchover. While customer satisfaction is important to some degree, I do not believe that there is much incentive for TW to build a new IPG for the benefit of the customer. (At least not right now.) After all, they had working guide systems already deployed and while they had different features and might not be "state of the art" from the customer's perspective, they worked at least "OK" in most circumstances.
If TW's goal for this rollout was to benefit of the customer, I agree that surveys could have been helpful in identifying issues earlier and they could have reacted to those issues. However, I'm willing to bet that they know what the big customer problems are without any surveys. We all know from reports on this forum that Navigator has been in the market for at least 1 year already in some areas (perhaps longer). We also know they've had plenty of feedback on Navigator already (a lot of it negative). So, the surveys you describe (at least for the more recent deployments) would likely not reveal any new information. In fact, it might be worse for TW because they would have appeared to care what you think and then probably deployed Navigator in its current state anyway.
What can be confusing here is that every corporation markets any and all changes they make as "better for the customer" (or at least "better for the shareholder"). They have to say something after all. No company is going to say they are going to make changes that make it better for them and worse for the customer. And "better" and "worse" are relative terms. For some, "worse" means "intolerable" and "better" just means "different".
I believe there is a LOT of incentive for TW to create a new IPG... but not to make customers happier with the IPG itself. If they get a few customer brownie points for an improved feature set, then so be it. They have a wide variety of set top boxes already deployed. They have different software running on them with different contracts for software licensing and support. They are running out of bandwidth and need to deploy SDV so they can add new channels... especially HD content. They have the CableCard mandate from the FCC. All of this brews up to a nasty mess for TW to address.
I believe that the driving force behind the Navigator rollout has nothing to do with benefits for the customer from an IPG perspective. I believe it's all about deploying a single IPG package to all systems and that they will have complete control of the software feature set top-to-bottom and end-to-end. As such, they won't have to negotiate with different vendors to update the software or licensing fees to deal with. Also, they can go ahead and deploy things like SDV (in theory) sooner rather than later and at less cost. The sooner they get SDV deployed, the faster they can add new channels and new interactive services. New channels means fewer customers leave for satellite/FIOS and new interactive services means new revenue streams.
Yes, this all assumes that the system that they can build on their own is "good enough", that the box will be stable, and the IPG alone won't cause customers to defect. The success of this effort so far is debatable... but how many people have actually left cable for satellite/FIOS as a result of the IPG? I haven't seen any numbers on this and it might be hard to determine exactly how many of those people actually left because of Navigator.
Personally, I miss some features of Passport. I really did not like Navigator when I first got it. I still don't like some of it. But am I going to leave TW and go to a different provider? No. So what do I do? I change my expectations and viewing habits. After all, it's just TV and it's not worth the stress of worrying about it. I'd do much better if I just unplugged it and went for a walk instead. Don't get me wrong here, I'm completely addicted to my DVR. I stopped watching TV altogether for months when my first child was born. (Watching TV was just too frustrating because I'd miss something whenever the baby cried.) It was only through getting the DVR that I started watching TV again.