Article : When IoT Meets Technical Support
In this article Hagai Shaham, Marketing Assistant with TechSee explores the IoT (Internet of Things) effect on tech support and how Customer Service operations should prepare.
IOT (Internet of Things) is here, and growing in popularity. It hasn’t reached mass markets yet but that is just a question of time. Probably not much time. Business Insider estimates that the IoT will grow from around 10 billion devices connected now, to between 28 and 34 billion connected devices by 2020. This presents a huge potential and great challenges for businesses, with an estimated spend of more than $6 trillion on the IoT over the next five years. With this many devices demanding support and that much money at stake, the need for scalable tech support is an urgent one.
Tech Support in the IoT Era — why you need to start now
Businesses need to think carefully about how they’re going to support this enormous growth in the number and complexity of devices. Providing effective self service as well as fast, expert customer service for installing, using, and troubleshooting these devices will differentiate you from your competitors. Make IoT support accessible and simple, and you’ll have a tremendous advantage.
There are several unique challenges in supporting IoT devices, here are some of the key issues your customer support area might face.
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Challenges in supporting IoT devices:
The diverse range of IoT devices
In the near future a service provider will have to handle support for a significantly larger number of different devices, often made by different manufacturers.
The sheer number of IoT devices
The average broadband household in the US already has eight connected devices, and that number is likely to increase significantly. This rate of growth is going to create a big increase in customer support demand.
The complexity of the IoT ecosystem
Your customer’s experience with your IoT product is not impacted just by your product, but by the technological ecosystem as a whole - this includes the network, other connected devices, communication channels between the devices etc.
As IoT grows, more devices will act together to accomplish more complex tasks for your customer, as it happens the difficulty of troubleshooting and resolving issues increases exponentially.
The use of new and immature technology
Much of the technology in IoT devices is being rushed to market and hasn’t been extensively field-tested.
Security is likely to become a significant consideration when choosing an IoT framework and products. The risk of getting your life hacked into grows as you increase your technological footprint and exposure.
Maintaining high security standards while providing remote support is just one more obstacle support centers will have to face.
Enhancing the way you support IoT
The possible solutions come down to two key approaches:
- Make your support easily scalable.
- Improve your insight and visibility into the technical ecosystem and solve the vast majority of your customer issues remotely.
Scaling your support
Self Service which is the most scalable support solution includes:
- Detailed FAQ and knowledge-base
Provide an easily searchable knowledge base and support system that approaches fixes from the customer’s perspective.
- Bots and automated support
AI and machine learning (who said Chatbots???) will eventually lead the support automation revolution we may experience.
- Video tutorials
Visual solutions are quickly rising as the "go to" platform for self service tech support. Customers prefer to be shown how to complete their own fixes.
- Interactive manuals
You can build manuals into your apps and other areas of your support structure. Customers can answer specific questions to guide them through to a solution. You can even add a layer of Augmented Reality to make the process easier on your customer.
Other scaling solutions include technologies that increase agent productivity, shorten training and make it easier to recruit agents. But those has limited effect on your support overall scalability compared with good self -service solutions.
Improving visibility into the technical ecosystem
Remote support is already a mass market technology. It’s been primarily used in the context of a single device to which an agent can get remote access and fix a problem from afar.
There are multiple solutions that are rising and give a remote agent visibility into the customer environment beyond the single device. Augmented visual assistance uses a customer’s mobile phone to broadcast live video from his home to let an agent understand what the complete situation at the customer’s home is. It allows the agent to see exactly what the customer is seeing, and it gives him simple tools to guide him remotely in a clear and efficient way.
Another solution is network monitoring technologies, those give insight across multiple devices, interfaces, and networks to enable better understanding of the complete technological set up on the consumer’s end.
Looking to the future
Technology is growing exponentially and changing the way we get through our days. To keep the connected world up and running support operations need to scale and adapt. Each business is its own universe, spend some time now thinking about the new challenges the IoT will bring to your customer service and how you’re going to meet them.
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About Hagai Shaham:
Customer Service and Call Center Expert. Focussing on technologies.
TechSee is a SaaS providing Visual customer support for call centers.
Published: Friday, March 3, 2017
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