Improving the usability of the universal remote control of philips

PHILIPS asked U-SENTRIC to assess the usability of their universal remote controls for television in order to improve their “first use” setup. Problems with this initial setup previously lead to frustrations, the need for additional Call Center support, an increased number of returned products and a negative impact on the brand image.

We were asked to pay particular attention to "technophobes" and seniors.


What did we do

We performed qualitative and quantitative research on a representative sample of customers, comparing different approaches for setting up a universal remote. We investigated where customers get stuck and/or frustrated.

We tested in a real life environment, mimicking a living room where the customers could sit relaxed on the couch watching television.  We filmed the facial and verbal reactions of the test customers.

Based on our observations, we were able to identify the different problem areas and propose solutions for each of them.

The outcome

PHILIPS implemented the more than 100 improvement ideas from U-Sentric.

As a result, the setup procedure for the remote controls became easier and faster. Customers consider the setup as easy and advise others that it is simple to set up a universal remote. Just seconds are now needed to set up the remote. More people succeed in the initial setup without calling the help desk or even returning the remote.

In turn this increased user friendliness and “universal use-age” of the remote control lead to a higher average revenue per user  (reduced churn rate) and to cost savings as less field interventions were needed.