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Smart Home

Self-Service Support: Improving Home Automation

Consumers want a smart and secure home that “just works.”

Unfortunately, 54% of US internet households experience technical issues with their home networks, and most smart home device owners report technical problems with their devices. The ability to quickly resolve networking and product issues is critical to making the connected home seamless and enjoyable, but providing that experience means increasing support costs for internet service providers and device manufacturers.

New technical support solutions aim to both improve the user experience across the connected home and bring down support costs with next-generation self-service support tools. Tools that proactively monitor network and device status can detect and alert users to potential issues and guide them through problem resolution. Providers can use self-service to help overcome staffing shortages while also providing technicians with more accurate data. That, in and of itself, will allow them to resolve issues more efficiently.

Retail Purchases for Smart Home Devices Dominate

Consumers buy smart home devices through a variety of channels but buying at retail — either in-person or online — dominates for almost every category. Devices purchased at retail are commonly self-installed.

Self-installation removes costs associated with hiring professional help and gives consumers the ability to connect and use certain devices right out of the packaging. However, DIY setup is not immune to problems; consumers report facing difficulties with device installation. The degree of installation difficulty varies widely based on device type. For example, only 23% of smart thermostat self-installers say the installation was “very difficult," compared with 55% of smart sprinkler system/controller self-installers.

As a result, many DIYers turn to professional support services for help.

Consumers are likely to seek support for help with smart door locks, smart water leak detectors, and water shut off vales. DIY consumers having difficulty setting-up devices often turn to manufacturers for support. The second most often cited support source is the retailer or other organization that sold the device.

Whether at installation or later in the life of the product, technical problems will arise and smart home device owners need paths to resolve product issues that are quick, clear, and effective. At the same time, device manufacturers and service providers need to both keep support costs down as well as to reduce product returns. A new generation of self-service tools aims to serve both the user experience and industry needs.

This whitepaper, published in partnership with RouteThis, addresses support needs across the connected home at the network and device level and strategies to address technical issues. We welcome comments and feedback on our research. Thanks for the continued support..

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