Rather face a dentist’s drill than hold for customer service?

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Welcome to the age of the smart home.

When John Martin wakes up each morning, his pre-programmed morning routine kicks into gear. The lights go on, the shutters go up, the heat turns on, the music starts and the coffee pod kicks into action. When his new smart thermostat arrives by drone delivery – together with a lengthy installation guide – he can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a smarter way to make his home smarter.

According to Gartner, Inc., consumers are the largest users of connected devices with 5.2 billion active units in 2017, representing 63% of 8.4 billion devices in use worldwide. This number is expected to reach 20.4 billion by 2020. As the IoT continues to mature, and the range and complexity of connected devices multiplies, there will be an increasing need for assistance with installations.

Self-installation delivers ROI while smoothing the path to IoT adoption

Self-installation has emerged as a viable solution for both enterprises and consumers — providing self-reliance and flexibility to the consumer, and scalability and profitability for businesses. The service has become the focus of many market segments, providing a clear ROI in multiple service categories. To gauge consumer sentiment about self-installation, a comprehensive survey was conducted to learn more about consumer experiences and preferences when installing new home electronic devices.

75% chose self-service as the preferred method of device installation

The results indicate that self-installation – the process that enables customers to install home electronic devices without requiring the help of a technician or a contact center – was preferred by 3 out of every 4 survey respondents. Going one step further, 67% reported a willingness to spend over 15 minutes of their time trying to self-install in order to avoid contacting a call center for assistance. Even more telling, 70% would rather visit the dentist than fail at self-installing and wait for technician!
According to the data, this willingness has already been translated into action. 2/3 of consumers have self-installed home electronics in the past 12 months, highlighting the fact that market adoption is growing rapidly in this nascent market.

Complexity is a barrier to self-installation

However, despite the consumer desire to self-install, they did not find the process easy, with 30% of consumers having to give up mid-process and contact a customer service agent for assistance after failing to self-install successfully. Baby Boomers are even more challenged by self-installation, with a telling 87% reporting that they did not find the process easy. Consumers encountered the most difficulties in hardware aspects: cabling/wiring (28%), hardware configuration (16%), and component identification (12%).

Consumers want mobile visual guidance for self-installation support

The survey further explores consumer sentiment toward new guidance tools, including visual guidance and AI-powered virtual assistance. Visual guidance emerged as the solution of choice for 71% of customers, with the majority of respondents indicating that they prefer to receive instructions via their smartphones. In fact, 28% of consumers already prefer self-installation help via interactive conversational virtual assistance through tools such as Alexa, Siri, and chatbots.

With Gartner predicting that by 2020, 85% of the consumers will manage their brand interactions without a human, and smart agents will facilitate 40% of mobile interactions, the need for advanced self-service solutions – such as AI-driven mobile visual guidance services, processes and tools – is more important than ever for enterprises wanting to provide automated customer support at scale.

More information on this recent survey, as well as a related infographic, can be found here.

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