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ISP Tech Support Self-help Tools Lacking, Survey Says

(Image credit: Future)

As internet-reliant consumers across regions like North America and Europe deal with broadband technical issues amid the pandemic, most (82%) are trying to fix things themselves without calling their operator’s customer support center, according to a survey of 600 U.S. and UK broadband subscribers conducted in May by Dublin startup Sweepr.

But most of those (70%) who did rely on their operator’s customer support tools find them not easy to find and/or understand.

According to the survey, in the previous 60 days, around 59% of survey respondent problems centered around slow broadband speeds or the inability to connect to the internet at all, while 27% reported router/modem issues and 20% said they and problems connecting to a specific service like Netlix.

The majority of those who experienced problems, 55%, could not fix their problem on their own. Of that group, 80% turned to customer support. And of that group that turned to customer support, 80% were able to have their issue resolved remotely. 

Backed with $12 million by investors including the Amazon Alexa Fund, Sweepr is trying to disrupt the technical support business. So the data isn’t exactly impartial. But it’s compelling. 

Another notable tidbit from the survey: A third of customers spent 90 minutes or more on the phone with their operator.

“Both consumers and service providers are at a critical inflection point when it comes to digital self-service, accelerated by the COVID-19 situation,” said Alan Coleman, founder and CEO of Sweepr, in a statement. “People want to solve their own home tech issues quickly, and service providers want to keep those customers happy while minimizing costs. This survey showed there’s significant room for improvement on both fronts, but also unveiled a powerful upside. If 80% of tech issues can be fixed remotely by a care agent, imagine the possibilities if more of that power was automated, simplified, and placed in the hands of consumers.” 

Updated 7/7/2020: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed how much investment Sweepr has raised.