From our home security to work and leisure activities, we live in a ‘smart’ world where pretty much everything can be connected to our phone–even a toaster. Every tech product in the market is branded with the term ‘smart’ these days. However, often when we encounter issues with onboarding, tech support, or connectivity issues with these devices, we see them as anything but smart. When any of these issues occur, we often say, “this stupid thing isn’t working!”.
Welcome to the modern state of consumers who are digitally focused and connected to everything and nothing all at once. We can have all of our smart devices connected to each other, but once we experience issues with them, we stop using it and move on to the next brand. For example, when you get an Apple TV, or any new smart gadget, setting it up and ensuring that the expensive device works the way it’s supposed to is where customer experience issues are born. When we experience connectivity issues that have no easy path to resolution unless we pick up the phone, it becomes almost useless. This is where the IoT industry runs into its biggest problem: Building a customer support organization based on digital demands.
Since technology is a fundamental part of our life, when something breaks or a malfunction occurs, it drives us crazy. The first CX challenge is the type of customer support available for smart products.
Although we’re glued to our phones (checking it up to 80 times a day!), it’s ironic that we don’t like talking on the phone–especially if it’s for tech support. Harvard Business Review reports that 81% of consumers across all industries attempt to take care of an issue on their own before picking up the phone to call customer support. From my experience in working with tech companies of all sizes, I see that most are not appropriately staffed to answer questions because they hire the wrong people for support. As a workaround, companies create support forums but these tend to make people dizzy due to the lack of agility and endless scrolling that has to be done to find your identical issue. This is the antithesis of what every consumer wants–quick and easy routes to a resolution like chat.
The second challenge is that IoT companies are providing a service that is very technical and hard to support in the first place. It is especially difficult because companies are supporting a broad demographic with multiple variables involved. Since tech companies have to continuously innovate to stay relevant in the market, they tend to roll out new features so fast that it becomes hard for the consumer to keep up and understand the new capabilities.
The third challenge is building a strong community. This is a critical but a difficult challenge because IoT companies are reliant on users to be their biggest promoters and advocates. When smart companies fail to have tech support readily available on their website, the consumer becomes agitated and dreads calling support out of sheer inconvenience. As a result, they stop using the device and it becomes a topic of frustrated conversation with friends and family (I once made a company’s connectivity issues a dinner party topic). This impacts brand and customer experience negatively.
On average, 86% of consumers will pay for a better customer experience, so adding digital customer support services for your customers is a no-brainer. The struggle with this is that most companies don’t have the bandwidth or hiring practices to get the right people in place. So how do you build a customer support process that helps to drive knowledge about your technology?
Find a partner to help you do it. This is the most hassle-free, cost-effective approach to creating a great customer experience that enables IoT companies to focus on what they do best: building and selling products. Want proof? Check out this story about how an eCommerce tech company dominated the industry with the perfect partner while also increasing their CSAT score by over 20%.