Customer Connect Blog
Rethinking customer support in a connected world

How Smart are Smart Homes?

Cost, complexity and support issues are threatening the Smart Home promise

broken-CoverDespite another wave of Smart Home devices and services entering the market following CES 2016, growth in related consumer demand is slowing, a clear indication that there are significant challenges to mainstream adoption. The complexity of securely and properly installing and managing all of these new devices – along with the lack of adequate support at the early stages of customers’ experiences with this technology – is threatening consumer adoption and breaking the implied brand promise of an easier, more automated home.

To gain a better understanding of these challenges and explore possible solutions, surveyed more than 3,000 U.S. consumers, examining the perceptions, experiences and concerns on the part of both Smart Home owners and potential buyers. The resulting report uncovers key insights across the entire customer experience – buying, installing, using and troubleshooting Smart Home devices and systems – and uncovers consumers’ needs at each of these stages for self-support and guided assistance from technology brands, device manufacturers and service providers.

The report, entitled, The Smart Home Customer Experience: Repairing the Broken Promise, reveals four key issues threatening Smart Home uptake:

The complexity of installing and configuring Smart Home systems is already frustrating users and causing hesitation in potential buyers. The survey found that one in three (31 percent) of Smart Home owners struggle with the complexity of installation and ongoing support of Smart Home systems.

Despite the enhanced value to a home, the perceived cost of Smart Home systems is a deterrent for many consumers. 67 percent of potential buyers in our survey say the cost to buy, set-up and maintain Smart Home devices and systems is the number one barrier to purchase.

Service and Support
Our survey data shows that 61 percent of Smart Home owners want to fix issues on their own and are frustrated if they can’t. And 49% of potential buyers are concerned that they won’t be able to fix issues on their own. Additionally, because of the disparate nature of Smart Home devices available from multiple manufacturers and service providers, both owners and potential buyers are unsure where to turn for service and support. 43 percent of potential buyers are concerned they wouldn’t know which company would be responsible for support.

The lesson? Device manufacturers and service providers need to mitigate these risks to adoption by employing customer support strategies that accompany customers from purchase and install, through use and troubleshooting, all the way to upgrade. Instead of focusing only on the cool factor of the technology, we need to shift our focus to customers’ experiences with it. Doing so will ensure happy customers and allow brands to reap the benefits of reduced returns and increased brand loyalty.

Download the full report for the entire set of survey findings. To learn more about our software and support strategies for Connected Support of IoT and Smart Home customers, please see our IoT and Home Automation site.

How Smart are Smart Homes?
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How Smart are Smart Homes?
Cost, complexity and support issues are threatening the Smart Home promise
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Elizabeth Cholawsky

Elizabeth joined as President and CEO in May 2014, and was elected a member of the board of directors in July 2014. She has over 20 years of experience as an executive in technology industries, and she is an award-winning product thought leader who has grown businesses through organic innovation and acquisitions. Most recently, she was GM and VP of IT Support and Access at Citrix. During her time at Citrix, she held executive positions in the Citrix SaaS division, with leadership roles spanning product management, general management, global client services and the contact center. In her time at Citrix SaaS, Elizabeth revitalized product development and client services, grew customer satisfaction and retention to their highest levels, and expanded key products to a broader market, all while continuing their uninterrupted streak of #1 in their markets for 5 consecutive years.

Elizabeth has been frequently recognized for her business leadership, including receipt of prestigious Stevie Awards in 2010, 2012 and 2013. She has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, and a BA (Phi Beta Kappa, cum laude) from Franklin & Marshall College. She is a weekend triathlete and a volunteer with Exceeding Expectations, a non-profit that encourages at-risk children to move their lives in a positive direction using the sport of triathlon as the vehicle.

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