3 Technologies for Technical Support in 2017

by Patrice Samuels | Dec. 31, 2016

A major business disruption stemming from the increasing connectivity of consumer electronic devices is the growing need for ongoing support among consumers. The resulting business challenge is that many companies that had not previous developed capabilities in this area find themselves in a position where providing such services is inevitable. Many are now preoccupied with how to accomplish the following:

  • Increase support efficiency
  • Minimize the use of support resources
  • Improve customer and support experiences

Emerging consumer technologies have promising applications for improving technical support experiences and managing support resources. Some of these new technologies include:

Big Data Analytics - Solutions and support providers are leveraging tools and technology that increase their visibility into the connected home and, consequently, their ability to capture and analyze data about devices and device use. Data captured from consumer home networks are analyzed in an effort to preemptively identify and address potential problems and to generate insight that engenders better service to consumers.

Voice Control - The growing popularity of voice control interfaces for technology products is reducing consumer effort when controlling and accessing smart home and other connected products. Amazon, through its Alexa technology, is largely driving growth in the use of this technology in broadband households. Other tech giant’s like Apple, Google, and Microsoft have virtual assistants which are creating conveniences for consumers by helping them to access information and to execute commands to household devices more efficiently. When voice control technology matures, this interface is poised to become dominant among users of connected technology. Brands must prepare to integrate support capabilities with voice control technologies and enable consumers to receive self-help information and support using voice commands.

Augmented Reality - Augmented reality is technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, allowing the user to see, and to interact with a composite image. Hyundai’s innovative use of augmented reality to provide customer support for newer models of the Sonata can be a game changer if applied to tech support for the connected home. Hyundai released a virtual owner’s manual app. To use this app, owners simply point their phone or tablet to the area of the vehicle about which they are interested in finding out more. The app will then overlay a picture index with labels for the different parts of the vehicle shown on the screen. The customer then clicks on various labels for details on what the part does, how to use it, and how to repair/maintain it—if applicable. The app provides details in text, video, and step-by-step demonstrations.

Even though many support and solutions providers have utilized a variety of automation technologies to improve support service delivery, consumers are still not satisfied with the efficiency of support processes or the level of effort they have to expend while receiving support services. Parks Associates study 360 View: Supporting the Connected Consumer indicates that only 47% of consumers are satisfied with the speed at which their problems are resolved and only 37% are highly satisfied with the level of effort required to get to a support agent that can solve their problems. Self-help support options, in particular, have traditionally been demanding of consumer effort. Newer technologies such as voice control and augmented reality show potential to improve the self-help experience dramatically; support solutions providers must embrace this opportunity. The ability to verbally ask and receive answers for technical problems from a virtual personal assistant device or technology will create improvements in self-help support. Instructional videos have been very helpful in improving self-help support. However, the use of augmented reality for self-help can move progress a step further, with the ability to demonstrate the steps for problem resolution in the actual support environment (where the support is needed). It is critical, however, to leverage these technologies in support only when they are mature enough to be reliable. Using immature technologies for support has the potential to further aggravate consumers.

Further Reading:

Next: Customer Support Needs in Connected Healthcare
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