March 24, 2015 | By

“Support of Things” (SoT): rethinking support of today’s connected customer



After a decade of watching consumer behavior drastically change because of mobile technologies, we’re in for an even wilder ride with the Internet of Things (IoT). And yet many companies are still relying on old models of support; models that will break under the weight of this new consumer reality. In an attempt to keep pace with this exponential change, companies are looking to re-invent the way they support their customers. This idea, sometimes referred to as the Support of Things (SoT), is a new way of approaching support. Although, as the name implies, this approach is tied closely to the IoT, it is not limited to only supporting connected products. Here’s why companies selling all kinds of products, connected or not, will begin to embrace the SoT:

    (PCs, Smartphones, Tablets)

As a longtime provider of remote support technologies — our Rescue remote support solution is used by nine of the top ten technology companies, dozens of the world’s biggest telcos, as well as famed service companies like Geek Squad — we’ve had a front row seat of how connected device companies are beginning to take a SoT approach. These companies have the benefit of having customers using connected products, which can make diagnosing and sometimes fixing problems easier. But what if the problem can’t be picked up through the Internet connection? Or what if that product won’t power up or can’t connect? Here is where new forms of support are needed; forms that give technicians the ability to be there virtually through video-aided support. Our newly launched Rescue Lens solution aims to do just that.

Here then, is one important pillar of the Support of Things:
Companies used to servicing smart devices will need to find ways to solve issues that can’t be solved through their remote connections; issues you can normally only solve by being there.

    (Lighting, thermostats, watches etc.)

Consumers are used to a high level of support with connected PCs, Smartphones and Tablets. But what if the thing you’re supporting doesn’t have a screen? Many connected products, like the Nest for example, don’t have a screen so the customer interface is a mobile app. Support will therefore often need to be facilitated through the mobile app, the real “face” of the IoT. Here’s where tools like mobile chat and mobile remote support will be crucial.

And so a second important pillar of the SoT is the following:
Connected “thing” companies will need to rely heavily on mobile device support tools since the mobile app is their real face to their customer.

    (Appliances, Machinery, etc.)

While just about every company selling physical products is exploring ways to connect their products to the Internet, some are not there yet. For these companies, they don’t have the benefit of having information streams from the product itself – streams that help diagnose issues. While these companies are exploring ways to connect their products, they need solutions that give them insights about customer issues. This is where video-enabled support solutions providing real-time feeds from the customer or field technician will be critical.

And so a third important pillar of the SoT is the following:
Companies selling products that are not yet in the IoT, will need to find ways to get closer to their customers, without having to send field technicians or repair personnel to evaluate every problem.

All of the above are just some of the aspects of the Support of Things that represent a huge change in customer support. Over the next several months, we’ll be sharing what we see from our customers, as they begin to re-invent the way they engage with customers and embrace the SoT.

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