Opportunities follow consumers
The recent pivot towards remote work has opened up a treasure trove for service providers as consumers spend more time in the comfort of their homes.
That said, the gold within is not so easily claimed. Customer Service Providers (CSPs) have to dig deep to impress consumers looking for a bespoke smart home experience.
This blog post discusses the challenges that have emerged in this space and the opportunities and tools CSPs need to capitalise on the wave of consumer demands and expectations and, ultimately, conquer the smart home market.
Redefining “Smart”: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Smart Home
Since creating the smart home in the early 2000s, the definition of ‘smart’ has changed several times.
A smart home used to be just about automating simple household tasks, like a refrigerator alert when low stock is detected or lights using motion tracking and heat sensors to automatically changing modes.
With the pandemic outbreak and consumer lifestyle shifting to activities within the home, the expectations set on smart homes have increased. Suddenly, work, school, gym, sports and all aspects of life have invaded people’s homes and personal space. The phrase “work from home” boasts the most searches and traffic on the internet today!
However, consumers have been quick to adapt, and so has the market.
Plume Design CCO, Tyson Marian, shared that large businesses rationalized their real estate investments concerning productivity by considering the cost of an employee working in an office instead of working remotely. They discovered that employees could be as productive, if not more, from home, so long as they had a clear means of online communication.
With organizations normalizing work-from-home, the demand for fast internet connections and high-performing devices has increased. CSPs need to acquire more data from consumer smart homes for CSPs to keep up.
It’s now less about the devices and more about the data these devices produce to create customized experiences.
More Than Just Functionality: Consumer Expectations and Demands
On average, Australians pay a minimum of $150 per month or $1,800 per year to stay connected — streaming services, mobile plans and internet connections.
It’s understandable for consumers to expect more from their smart home system when they pay a significant amount of money for it. It’s not enough that a thermostat can adjust the temperature automatically. There’s got to be more to it!
More than the added value of additional functions, consumers also want a bespoke experience, which is the hardest challenge for CSPs.
Because it happens within the consumers’ homes, the experience must fit their liking. Consumers expect CSPs to know the following to make diagnosis easy and fast — who they are, what devices do they have, what those devices comprise and how each device works.
Consumers won’t care whether their devices have the latest technology or not as long as there’s added value to the overall digital experience on issues that matter to them most, such as cyber security, parental control, sensorless motion detector and health applications.
Opening the gate: The Key to Meeting Consumer Expectations and Demands
There is no secret to this. The key to a quality and cost-effective smart home experience is to go cloud-based.
Why? Because cloud technology caused the digital transformation.
For example, telephone booths have transformed into powerful smartphones with an entire range of functionality — Communication? Food Delivery? Calculation? Scheduling? Flashlight? Device control? Check, check, check!
Smartphones gave customers access to solutions and services right on the palm of their hands, AND in an instant!
Going cloud-based has revolutionized how people do things and dramatically reduced costs. The cloud has enabled CSPs to transform the way people acquire services and reach out to more people at a much faster pace.
Take Netflix, for example. No more lining up at the cinema to purchase a ticket, reserve a seat and watch movies projected on a big screen – the cloud-based video streaming service brings not one but an entire spread of movies onto smartphones for a subscription plan that costs just $4 per month.
With a cloud-based tool (software) that can link and monitor all the devices in a home on a single access point or system that can collect and store millions of user data, CSPs can provide a better digital experience and navigate the following:
- Monitor the whole smart home system
- Track the root cause of the problem — whether it’s hardware, software or the connection
- Utilize the data to improve functions, such as cyber security
- Resolve issues or offer solutions before the customer reaches out
- Configure and optimize bandwidth on certain areas of the home
- Provide a bespoke experience fit for the smart home setup
Bring it home: Roadmap to success
Much inertia is undoubtedly required to compete with giant service providers, especially offering the same kind of services but focusing on incremental changes will do the trick.
Solving small problems could lead to a bigger solution that can help more consumers. CSPs would have to rely on cloud-driven data to provide new solutions to be on top of the competition. At the end of the day, CSPs have to think about the value they provide their customers.
Offering more options, value, and flexibility to provide a bespoke experience will result in a stronger customer relationship — a feat CSPs would be able to accomplish much better than any big tech company.
Lastly, CSPs need to partner with other service providers to create bespoke service packages. Partner with other CSPs and win together!
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