Smart home, we have a problem

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01/31/2018

The rise of the smart home has generated a lot of attention among security dealers lately, as it has disrupted the way potential customers look at and are willing to pay for security.

But it comes as no surprise that all is not golden in the world of the smart home. It turns out, more than one in three U.S. adults experience issues setting up or operating a connected device, according to data released from the Customer and Product Experience 360 (CPX 360 ) Survey by iQor, a global managed services provider based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

With the number of smart home devices being connected in the home today—security cameras, smart locks and sensors of all kinds—it is inevitable that there would be a few hiccups along the way. In fact, Gartner reports that IoT-enabled devices will reach 20.4 billion globally by 2020, almost doubling from an estimated 11.1 billion in 2018.

Traditional security dealers, who have been challenged to offer smart home services and devices, in addition to security, have been saying all along that when homeowners struggle to figure out how all of these smart home gadgets work and connect, that they will be there to pick up the pieces. Well, it looks like they could be right.

According to the CPX 360 survey, consumers report having to take more than eight steps to resolve a technical problem or issue with a smart device. Further, consumers are spending, on average, close to 1.5 hours of their own time resolving these issues and one hour working with customer service. Nearly one in four consumers (22 percent) couldn’t resolve the issue or simply gave up, and returned the product for a refund.

Throughout the customer and product service journey, the CPX 360 survey reports consumers dealt with an average of 2.1 companies, over 2.7 sessions and with 3.1 different people as they attempted to install and engage with new connected technology in their home. For 17 percent of respondents, the challenge was even greater and involved dealing with five or more people when trying to resolve an issue.

According to the data, the inability to provide a seamless, frictionless experience across all support channels creates frustration and confusion for the consumer as they interact with multiple people and companies in the resolution process. Throughout this process, only about one in three indicate their information was always retained between customer service steps. Among those whose information was not retained, 81 percent indicated this delayed their resolution and 85 percent found it to be somewhat or extremely annoying.

“Adoption of connected devices is on the verge of transitioning from early adopters to the mainstream as popularity and integration of IoT expands and homes become smarter,” Autumn Braswell, COO, LinQ Integrated Solutions at iQor, said in the study. “It is crucial that organizations streamline and improve the support process now to reduce the number of steps, people and brands required to unlock the intended value of the connected device and ensure that the customer service challenges are addressed before mass adoption.”

So, this should be a call to all security dealers about how important it is to offer a full suite of smart home services and devices beyond just security, and be that single point of contact that creates the smart and safe home people are clamoring for.

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