Getting Consumers Onboard with the Smart Home

by Patrice Samuels | Oct. 8, 2015

I recently cohosted a webcast with Support.com titled Behind the Scenes – Support Strategies for IoT Success. We discussed current consumer experiences with new connected devices and new models of support that can improve customer experience and drive product adoption in smart home and other IoT industries.

The market for smart home devices and systems has been gaining traction over the past few years, due, in part, to a broad range of companies that offer a myriad of products in the space. For products that offer such strong value propositions, growth in the market has been moderate—with adoption growing from 13% in the second quarter of 2014 to 18% in the second quarter of 2015.

One of the most salient lessons coming out of the webcast is the importance of proactive approaches to support in IoT industries, emphasizing that the most effective support strategies will involve building support considerations into products from product inception. While the webcast discussion addressed troubleshooting support activities, the same holds true for onboarding support services.

Providing only reactive onboarding support for new technology products can be costly. The following factors impact the cost risks involved.

No-fault-found returns - Consumers may return a product because it is too difficult to set-up, the product was not a good fit for their home environment, and other reasons that are not related to a product defect. When restocking costs are considered, these experiences are costly to the brand.

Missed sales opportunities - Customers may avoid purchasing a product because they are overwhelmed by perceived complexity of the product or they do not have enough information to make a confident purchase.

Declining brand loyalty – Customers are less likely to purchase other products from a brand, if they have a poor experience with their current product.

Seamless and intuitive device set-up is ideal, but this may not be possible in the short-term, given the interoperability issues plaguing these industries. According to Parks Associates consumer study 360 View: Supporting the Connected Consumer, approximately one-half of smart home device owners experience problems setting up their devices.

Providing onboarding support such as sales consultation, pre-purchase information, and proactive assistance with device and system set-up and installation can be costly, but necessary to move these industries forward in terms of adoption.

If support needs are considered at the early stages of product development and design, providers can both equip themselves with knowledge of product compatibility or design products to ensure compatibility with popular products on the market. Either strategy can be leveraged to provide a more seamless onboarding experience for customers.



Next: A Few Considerations for the Smart Home Journey
Previous: Tech Support is an Integral Part of the Customer's IoT Journey

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