AR-Powered Virtual Troubleshooting

April 22, 2024
Guardian Protection is leveraging browser-based Augmented Reality software to revolutionize its customer support

This article originally appeared in the April 2024 issue of Security Business magazine. Don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter if you share it.

Security companies have made huge strides in the customer experience over the years, from providing easy-install smart home technology to digital self-service resources; however, many times when customers need expert support with their security setup, they have to get it the old-fashioned way: with a phone call.

As many residential integrators know, a phone conversation tends to be a clunky way to troubleshoot physical security devices. At best, customers and agents spend forever trying to pin down the problem at hand. At worst, they do all that and still don’t figure out the issue, much less a solution. The all-too-common result: a costly onsite service dispatch that leaves everyone frustrated.

The rise of browser-based visual customer support software leveraging augmented reality and image recognition has led to a vast improvement in troubleshooting, and it may prove a game-changer for security integration companies; in fact, Guardian Protection is using it to provide support for more than a quarter-million residential security end-users.

How it Works

Why do phone calls often prove ineffective for customer support? Because agents can't see the security device in question. A customer can try their best to explain what is going on with a smart lock or doorbell camera, but without eyes on the problem, the agent has to go through a circuitous troubleshooting process that can feel like guesswork at times.

With visual support software, integrators can equip agents and customers with the right tools to solve problems faster. Here’s how the tech works:

An agent sends the customer a video-call link via SMS – no app download needed. The customer can then use their smartphone or tablet camera to show the agent their security device, and the agent guides the customer through troubleshooting over video, using augmented reality (AR) markup tools to circle key device features, such as an IP camera cable or a reset button.

When it comes to troubleshooting complex security systems, video is the best medium for the job, with AR making the experience more user-friendly. With an app-free model, customers and agents do not need to waste time and storage on a single-use download; in fact, they can connect in a matter of seconds.

Since Guardian Protection rolled out app-free virtual appointments for residential customer support, the company has shortened its average call time to 24 minutes. That means more time for agents to power through the rest of their queue, more satisfied customers, and fewer truck rolls.

More Efficiency

Short calls only matter if customer’s problems actually get fixed. Unfortunately, many agents are under pressure to lower their average handle time at all costs – even if the cost is issue resolution. As a result, an agent might order a replacement security device or dispatch a technician to the customer’s home simply to avoid a lengthy call.

Video and AR make customer support far more precise, which not only speeds up troubleshooting, it also makes it easier to find a solution. When agents and customers can see the same device, they can leverage that shared understanding to solve the right problem. Back-end AI tools can help the agent by using historical call data to suggest effective troubleshooting steps – further accelerating issue resolution.

Guardian Protection reports that 93 percent of issues are resolved by the end of each call.

The Cost of a Truck Roll

Onsite service dispatches can be a massive drain on any integrator’s budget – especially when they are a regular occurrence. Each truck roll means fuel expense on gas or EV charging; carbon emissions creating a direct climate impact; time spent commuting to and from individual customers; and vehicle wear and tear, with more mileage resulting in more frequent maintenance.

But when integrators use app-free visual support software, they can avoid unnecessary truck rolls, reduce carbon emissions, and protect their bottom line. In Guardian’s experience, there’s also a bump in customer satisfaction. When customers can solve device issues over video, they don’t have to take time off work for an in-person appointment. They value the flexibility and respect for their time.

Rama Sreenivasan is co-founder and CEO of Blitzz, a remote video support and inspection platform.