How customer service needs to evolve to cover the needs for the connected home market
by Mårten Olsson
During the last few years, the connected home has grown and become increasingly more complex with more smart devices and a larger need for stabile connection. So how does this affect the communication service providers’ (CSP) customer services? In this article we take a closer look at the new challenges and opportunities that customer service is facing.
More calls to customer service as the connected home grows
The eco system of Internet connected products in people’s homes are getting more and more complex. Even though the end customer’s Internet connection might be strong, their Wi-Fi setup might not be. The more services deployed in the home, the more calls to operators’ customer service departments are to be expected. Although the operator might not be responsible for the wireless connection inside their customers’ homes, more calls will undoubtedly lead to longer hold time for the customers, which in turn leads to increased dissatisfaction.
There are of course ways for the operators to prevent trouble with Wi-Fi inside the customers’ connected homes. One solution is to provide the end customer with hardware and additional services for a strong Wi-Fi network. However, many operators are now so concerned about the added workload that increased customer service calls might lead to, that they choose not to provide such services and products – thus also missing out on added revenue streams. Instead, the retail industry seizes the opportunity by offering “smart home Wi-Fi solutions” – making it even more difficult for CSPs to ensure that their customers get the coverage they actually need.
Support for the connected home – what’s new for customer services?
So, what are the alternatives for the CSPs customer service departments, besides having customer service agents take calls as usual?
One of the upsides for CSPs offering hardware and additional managed services for Wi-Fi is more efficient troubleshooting. If the customer service agent knows what Wi–Fi solution is installed it is much easier to figure out what might be causing the problem. With managed services, the service agent also gets an insight into the connected home its devices and therefore get information and overview of what is happening within the Wi-Fi network. This way, assisting customers becomes much more efficient.
More and more CSPs are also starting to offer more intuitive ways to solve customer problems. Troubleshooting can now be carried out by means of automation and AI and the more data the system receives about a particular type of problem, the more it learns and is able to solve problems quicker for future customers. When these types of interactive tools are integrated with service provider’s internal management and support systems, customers can often solve their problems through self-care, reducing pressure on the customer service department.
Chatbots is one example of future possibilities for the customer to interact with a system and solve issues without involving a physical person. With artificial intelligence, the bots have gathered “knowledge” from previous troubleshooting. There are now also more advanced voice–based capabilities that can help end customers solve a problem by asking Alexa or Google, for example. These type of self-care applications make it possible for customers to solve the problem themselves, instead of having to call a customer service line.
Self service improves quality of service – but make sure to keep cost down
Though AI chatbots are not yet deployed by operators, many are now realizing the benefits of better self-care functionality. End customers are no longer limited by the opening hours of the customer service department and are experiencing an increased quality of service information.
Operators will soon also be able to get more proactive notifications and information if there is a problem, so that it can be rectified before the customer even discovers it. In terms of self-care, customers will also be notified and asked to act themselves to solve a potential problem.
More and more self-care functionality is being developed, and in order to minimize investment cost, it is important for operators to find a customer care solution that is flexible enough to easily integrate with new self-care tools. Thereby allowing intelligent, easy, and efficient self-care whilst keeping cost down.
Do you want to learn more about how the ever-growing connected home is affecting the business of CSPs? Download the CSP guide to creating increased customer value below.
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