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MSOs Should Make the IoT a Specialty

As the “Internet of Things” grows in complexity, consumers’ support requirements follow suit. Adapting to the latest innovations within the connected home or business can positively impact public perception and the bottom line. Service providers have a choice: Say “yes” to technical questions, or say “no.”

Consumers are investing and relying on devices, applications, software and services, but don’t understand how to take full advantage of the technologies. Service providers and device makers are missing out: Imagine improving adoption, reducing no-fault returns and building loyalty by saying “yes” to installation, interoperability and ongoing support. Organizations need to simplify their customers’ technical lives by supporting a broader set of complicated needs, even if it means supporting another brand’s products or services. Those that don’t will miss out on increased adoption and the chance to generate new revenue through selling more products or services.

It doesn’t need to be heavy lifting. Here are three ways to adapt your strategy, increase adoption and drive positive experiences:

1.) Move to continuous support: If a product breaks, customers expect you to fix it. But that’s not enough. The winners will be those who drive a strategic support agenda throughout the customer lifecycle. They can put a force field of care around consumers — starting with pre-sales guidance, installation, setup, configuration and connectivity, and continuing through usage and ongoing support. When service is wrapped around products or services, you’re differentiating what you’re bringing to market and your entire organization.

2.) Leverage access inside the home network: Providers have the opportunity to reach the consumer through the existing billing/ product relationship, but there is a gap in strategy if specialized services aren’t wrapped around core products, available with the product in a bundle, and merchandised both at the point of need and point of purchase. Because consumers rely on providers for products and connectivity, there is a significant opportunity for regular touch points of value exchange that ensure customers are optimizing their tech environments. This will enhance the customer experience and lead to greater loyalty and lifetime value.

3.) Embrace everything: According to Parks Associates, 64% of U.S. broadband households have at least one Internet-connected consumer-electronics device. With that number dramatically on the rise, according to Gartner, it is essential that providers that sell, touch and/ or offer software through devices can respond to any and all inquiries.

Providers that serve and sell in the IoT can increase adoption, improve customer satisfaction, strengthen customer loyalty and build new revenue streams by providing support services that are much broader than the traditional break/fix. While consumers aren’t yet shouting for “all service, all the time,” the long-term use and success of new products will be largely dependent on thoughtful installation, training and ongoing support.

Paul Weichselbaum is executive vice president of PlumChoice, a specialized technical services provider for manufacturers, retailers, telcos, MSOs and software companies.