One in three smart home system owners struggle with the complexity of setup, configuration and ongoing support for their devices, according to a Support.com survey of more than 3,000 U.S. consumers.
The survey looked at both smart home device owners and potential buyers and found a disparity between the needs and wishes of early buyers, who tend to be more affluent and more tech-savvy, versus the majority of consumers who need to see better value for price in order to buy, and will likely require more comprehensive customer care and support.
For instance, 42 percent of owners surveyed said that smart home devices were too expensive to buy, set up and maintain, but this number rose to 67 percent of the potential new buyers for smart home devices.
At the same time, more than a third (37 percent) of owners installed all their smart home devices on their own, and 61 percent of owners wanted to fix issues on their own, while 43 percent of potential buyers were willing to pay a one-time fee for professional installation.
"The survey points to a strong market need for brands to change the way they support consumers of smart home devices in order to increase uptake by consumers," Alex Poulos vice president of marketing at Support.com, told eWEEK. "They need to move away from the existing support to a connected support strategy."
Poulos said this means manufacturers need to provide support to customers all the way from purchase of their products to the point of upgrade, through all the stages of the customer experience with the devices and systems.
Additionally, 43 percent of potential smart home device buyers said they are concerned about the complexity of installing and configuring smart home systems.
More than two-thirds (67 percent) of potential buyers said the cost to buy, setup and maintain a smart home system is the number one barrier to purchasing connected home devices or systems.
"The smart home market will evolve with more devices being introduced, but more companies will move beyond features and functionality to focus on the entire customer experience," Poulos said. "Smart homes are the most mainstream manifestation of the Internet of things."
He explained the inherent complexity in connected devices is going to be the trigger that forces companies to redefine the role that support plays in customer delight.
"Brands will need to solve the issues that early adopters were willing to tolerate, and create a positive customer experience from purchase through installation and setup, all the way to maintenance and device or system upgrade," he said.