Technological advancements, better internet, and spending more time in our homes are all contributing to the growth in usage of smart devices. But the ultimate force behind this surge in uptake can be summed up in just one word: Convenience. Consumers want intelligent devices that make their lives easier.
Unfortunately, the set-up and general usage of these devices can detract from this promise. And when a complicated issue with a product arises, many customers will not hesitate to abandon the device — or the brand, for that matter.
So, the question is: How can smart home brands ensure the setup, onboarding, and troubleshooting of smart devices are less of a hassle?
In this article, we explore why connected devices have unique needs in terms of support, how they can address this, and why positive experiences are key to cultivating smart home brand advocates.
From selling to serving: Why CX is the most valuable currency in the relationship economy
In this landscape, driven by online reviews, word-of-mouth and always-on competition, effortless experiences and exceptional service is the gateway to accelerated growth. Concentrate on service first and sales will follow. In fact, every positive support interaction will set the stage for continuous customer loyalty, advocacy, and repeat purchases.
This became clear when we surveyed 1,500 smart home device owners based in North America. 74% responded that they would buy more products from a brand after receiving a good support experience and 84% would go on to recommend the same brand to their friends and family. Conversely, nearly 70% said they would not recommend a brand after a negative support interaction.
In addition, the nature of modern-day business is increasingly changing from linear to circular, i.e., a focus on subscription services and upselling rather than one-off sales. For this reason, the customer experience (CX) after the initial sale becomes an even bigger priority.
Homes are getting smarter but more complicated — and so is support
Setting up a connected device can be much more technical than customers are prepared for. As a result, negative experiences can start taking hold before the product is used. Moreover, installation, troubleshooting, and common issues can quickly detract from the (intended) convenience of adoption.
That’s why it is paramount for all IoT brands to realize that connected devices have unique support needs. Three factors in particular make support for connected products more complex than non-connected products:
1. Continuous technical advancements:
Connected devices are advancing in leaps and bounds. The downside? A wider variety of potential issues to solve when things go wrong. And, unless comprehensive and easy-to-use support is provided, this can mean a more complicated solution is needed to solve a given issue.
2. An ecosystem of products and connectivity
A study by Deloitte revealed that the average US household has 11 connected devices. The connectivity linking these devices is what makes them so helpful to the owner. Concurrently, support delivery is getting more complex for the very same reason. Supporting one connected device often entails supporting an entire ecosystem of connectivity, synchronization, and communication between products.
3. Ambiguity for customers: Who can fix their problem?
When an issue occurs with smart home products, it isn’t always clear (a) where the problem stems from or (b) who is responsible. Oftentimes, customers do not know whom to call: The internet provider, the retailer, or the device manufacturer.
Effective self-service must match the purchase intention of IoT and smart home products
Our research revealed that 73% of customers buy connected devices for the product’s promise of convenience. Creating support experiences that mirror this purchase decision will play a foundational role in retaining the customer and, ideally, creating brand advocates.
Considering the factors above, smart, connected, and simplified support for complicated queries is fundamental for IoT brands. Always-on and easy-to-use self-service support is how brands can align the customer experience and the intention for adopting connected devices.
But not all self-service is created equal. A wall of text, static PDFs, endless FAQs, or a slow-loading page that doesn’t fit customers’ mobile screen couldn’t be further away from their purchase intention. Instead, companies must aim to break down complex instructions into interactive, step-by-step tutorials, replace excessive text with intuitive supporting visuals that simplify setup, troubleshooting, and general maintenance. Moreover, by giving customers a clear path to issue resolution from a simple Google search (voiced or typed), smart home brands can support the actual lifestyle the owner aspires to have — and not just the device itself. Learn more with the Self-Service Handbook, a practical guide to improving online support.
Intelligent products need intelligent customer support to deliver the convenience customers want. Anything else will risk a high product and perhaps even brand abandonment rate, as well as negative reviews. Cultivating an intelligent support journey can therefore have a major impact on your brand’s bottom line.
In the relationship economy, the goal is not simply to acquire new customers, produce more sign-ups, or put all your efforts into generating a one-off sale; rather, it is to keep customers satisfied so they continuously return for more. By putting your CX first, you are investing in the most valuable currency in the relationship economy: Your customers.