smart home thermostatA survey about attitudes toward connected devices conducted by IDC found a considerable lack of knowledge on the part of users about their devices. Less than one-third of respondents (31%) believe they’re taking full advantage of their connected devices, including IoT-related smart home devices and equipment. Less than 1 in 5 (16%) said they don’t know how to set up their devices completely, while one-quarter (24%) said they believed their connected devices had useful features they were not aware of.

Clearly, promoting adoption and use of innovative network apps and IoT services requires more than a ¨build it and they will come¨ approach, the results of a new IDC InfoBrief commissioned by TELUS International suggest.

In ¨Preparing Your Support Team for the IoT-connected Consumer,¨ IDC predicts there will be more than 2.1 billion fixed consumer entertainment devices alone connected to the Internet in less than three years. That includes connected TVs, digital media adapters, video game consoles and other Internet-enabled devices.

The lack of consumer awareness and usage, as well as increased need for technical support, presents brands an opportunity to provide ¨more holistic, proactive and technical customer support,¨ IDC concludes. Businesses’ contact centers will be the center point in capitalizing on this opportunity.

“Some companies assume that digitally savvy consumers can easily navigate IoT-connected devices and, with the related rise in self-help, will need less support from contact center agents,” commented IDC VP Customer Service and Contact Center Solutions and report author Mary Wardle in a press release about the research on attitudes toward connected devices.

“Our research finds that the need for support agents is not decreasing, and is in fact expected to increase between 10-50 percent to meet consumer needs according to respondents when asked what their anticipated agent growth would be over the next 2-3 years.”

Attitudes Toward Connected Devices
When it comes to IoT, customers will not only need to understand how to properly set up and use specific devices, but how they fit in and interact with other connected devices within their own and work-related product and service ecosystems, IDC points out.

Ensuring end users have a consistent experience across multiple channels of operation and hiring motivated, capable and friendly personnel are two key factors companies need to see to in this regard. “As IoT devices gain greater popularity and penetration, informed, holistic and technically advanced customer service support will become a key brand differentiator,” TELUS International CTO Michael Ringman was quoted.

Making good on this will require executives and managers to ensure that customer service agents have the capacity to address complex diagnostics issues, are well aware of security and privacy concerns and feel free to take the time necessary to address and manage customer service relationships well.

“Companies have a great opportunity to showcase their innovation, knowledge, product value and service excellence by finding a contact center partner that has skilled agents who can help consumers unlock the full potential of their devices,” Ringman said.

All that said, customers’ satisfaction with contact center interactions has been on the wane for the last two years, according to recently released research from BoldChat. Surveying consumers worldwide, the research results reveal that consumers believe resolving a problem with a business requires contacting them six distinct times. Surveyed contact managers believe it requires just two, BoldChat highlights.

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