Smart Home Service

Aug. 13, 2018
Even with DIY products, there is an opportunity for dealers and integrators to provide ongoing support

Automated smart home systems are a growing trend among mainstream consumers; in fact, according to Parks Associates, 48 percent of U.S. broadband households intend to buy at least one smart home device this year, up 66 percent from 2017.

This reliance on technology is increasing the need for support for smart home and DIY security systems. As more consumers integrate intelligent devices into their homes, security dealers and integrators are faced with a new opportunity to act as the homeowners’ trusted experts – but that means that they need to start thinking about how to service and support these smart home devices.

The average homeowner should not be expected to monitor the security of their device or to troubleshoot complex issues. Even tech-savvy early adopter consumers are frustrated, and many are abandoning efforts to link their technology together – potentially losing out on the full value of a connected home ecosystem. On average, consumers report spending two and a half hours troubleshooting between self-help and customer support, and speak with three different people to resolve an issue.

Some smart home devices from various manufacturers may work together, but customer support points the finger at each other for problems, leaving customers dissatisfied and frustrated.

In many cases, the perceived technical complexities associated with these devices serve as a barrier to smart home adoption. “Services that increase device reliability will increase consumer likelihood to purchase smart home devices,” says Patrice Samuels, Parks Associates Senior Analyst.

There are a few new entrants into the market focused on giving security dealers a new way to augment their offerings with an additional layer of customer service and support that doesn’t marginalize their time or resources.

Axius, a new smart home customer support platform, acts as a “technology concierge” – becoming an extension of the dealer’s support team and enabling them to free up time to grow their business.

Combining hardware that connects to the homeowner’s router, software to automate maintenance and alerts, and a team of experts who are available 24/7, Axius offers dedicated support via integrators and dealers. The platform enables remote updates of new security features, provides monitoring and management of all devices as well as proactive troubleshooting, branded customer engagement and a mechanism for dealers to generate additional RMR.

Axius is also creating a network of dealers and integrators to share job requests from their directory and marketplace platform – matching them with new projects in their area.

Also acknowledging the complex customer support needs of the smart home market, the Z-Wave Alliance recently introduced a tech support program for connected devices called the “ConnectedHome Expert” program, which is designed to help manufacturers assist their customers with troubleshooting and general product setup, resulting in an improved overall customer experience, reduced risk for customer attrition and increased brand loyalty.

These smart home device manufacturers are connecting consumers to security dealers and installers who understand the nuances of integration, installation and support of smart home products.

As customers become more reliant on the technology in their home, they will also likely become more dependent on their security dealer to protect, monitor and troubleshoot these devices.

It can all be overwhelming, but new monitoring tools and platforms like the ones mentioned will help to scale up proactive support and monitoring of devices by “traditional” residential security dealers and integrators.