5 preventable ways the holidays actually cost smart home brands money

Written by Erin Penney

The holiday season is coming—and on the surface, that looks like a good thing for smart home brands. After all, it’s great on the sales side: more sales, better device penetration, and higher revenue.

But under the surface, the seasonal rush we’re about to dive headlong into can end up costing your company money. Let’s look at how this happens—and how your business can avoid these costs.

Pro tip: Want some help getting ready for the holiday season? Be sure to download our ultimate survival guide for smart home brands—available here!

 

Higher support contacts

Did you know? According to our data, smart home companies saw a 20% increase in calls for WiFi connectivity issues during last year’s holiday season. That’s a massive spike, and when support contacts cost an average of $26, it adds up quickly.

 

Prevent this cost with: Self-service support options

You’ll want to set up your team to balance as much of the extra workload as possible—and part of that is deflecting a proportionate number of contacts. By implementing effective self-service support options like RouteThis Self-Help, you can deflect up to 30% of incoming contacts—without sacrificing the quality of their troubleshooting experience.

 

Seasonal staff hires

Typically, a support team’s first reaction to a seasonal spike in contacts will be to bring in extra staff. But this creates tons of extra costs for support teams, from salaries to training, onboarding, and the extra time new agents may need to spend on calls.

 

Prevent this cost with: More efficient methods for WiFi issues

Your team has a limit on how many customers they can effectively help in the time they have. But when you can cut down on the time they spend helping each individual customer, that translates into higher overall efficiency—which can put you in a position to avoid seasonal hires altogether.

Pro tip: Check out how RouteThis helps you cut handle times and increase your support team’s efficiency!

Agents found the platform very easy to use. We onboarded RouteThis during a Black Friday sale and agents were able to handle connectivity service requests despite the huge spike.

–Zachary Green, COO, Mysa

 

Unnecessary returns

Our research shows that 45% of issues with smart home devices aren’t the devices themselves; they’re the customer’s WiFi network. When this happens, customers will spend hours trying to troubleshoot, and one in four will give up on a resolution and return the device for a refund.

Between shipping, replacement policies, troubleshooting and refurbishing time, and then selling open box and refurbished devices at a discount, this gets expensive for smart home brands.

 

Prevent this cost with: Better access to support for customers

Recent data from Parks Associates shows that two-thirds of consumers like when support options can help them resolve on their own. By giving your customers access to support options they can use independently, especially ones that help them identify that the issue is their home network and not the device, you can avoid time-consuming troubleshooting processes that end in devices being returned.

 

Customer churn

Our data has shown that 29% of consumers who run into setup issues with these devices will end up switching brands. That’s problematic for smart home brands because smart home device ownership is on an upward trend, and homes no longer have just one or two devices—they have multiple. So when these customers churn, it’s no longer just a sale you’ve lost: It’s a repeat customer worth thousands in additional devices over time.

 

Prevent this cost with: Customer loyalty

Setup issues will happen—that’s just a fact of the smart home world. But your support experience is a valuable tool here, because studies have shown that 93% of consumers will buy again from companies with great customer service. The key is to support these issues quickly and effectively, because this proves to customers that there’s value in staying with your brand.

 

Your reputation

Customers who’ve had to return devices for perceived defects will often turn to leaving online reviews to warn other consumers about their experience. And because nearly 90% of consumers report being influenced by online reviews before purchasing a product, this can be incredibly damaging for your brand’s reputation—and your bottom line.

 

Prevent this cost with: All of the above

Ultimately, the best way to build and protect your smart home brand’s reputation is to deliver a top-notch customer support experience—and every prevention method we’ve outlined in this post is a core part of that experience. When you put the spotlight on delivering quality support, no matter the season, and use that to establish customer loyalty, you can attract positive word of mouth and online reviews that build your company’s overall reputation.

Ready for the holidays?

Download our ultimate survival guide to make sure your support team is ready to take on anything the season throws your way.