Two Key Questions Customers Ask about Smart Products, Programs and Technology.

Posted by Lauren Bell on March 10, 2016 at 4:53 PM

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Customers will not buy or participate if they have questions on a product or program.

They have to understand their investment in order to value it, much less spend time and dollars on it.

This week, we hit the streets and talked to customers about connected technology: their understanding, their concerns, what they value, and the experience they need in order to buy.

Whether you are a manufacturer, retailer, energy, security, telecom or software provider, you are facing a lot of questions right now as it pertains to the future of smart technology and connected homes.

But customers have a lot of questions too. And all of that added convenience you’re offering only adds to the list. How are you ensuring that you’re answering these questions? Every. Single. Sale.

What we heard over and over again:

  • “What do I do if something goes wrong?”
  • “What do I have to do to set up?”
  • “What do I do if I lose my phone? Will it still work?”
  • “What is the benefit for me?”

WHAT DO I DO…

While the product may showcase convenience and an easier life, customers don’t necessarily trust it. They can’t believe that the technology is so easy that they won’t have to do something. And the general perception is that when something goes wrong, they will have to do a lot more to fix it, than with a traditional, “dumb” (as many customers pointed out) product.

Who do I call if it breaks?

Because of the convergence of technology, the things that are familiar to us… no longer are. Can my plumber fix my washing machine? Or do I need to call the Apple store? The Geek Squad?

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR ME?

Customers are still skeptical. It looks cool and sounds good, but will those features really benefit me? Will I really use them?

“I’ve lived without them for a long time…”

We have a marketing problem, people!!

These are big questions that anyone with stake in the connected home game needs to be answering. And they need to be answered throughout the entire customer experience.

I recently purchased a new car. (More on her here – What products are an entry point to smart homes for customers?) And in that process, I was walking through the lot of endless vehicles. At each one, I would stop and look at the “window sticker.” The amount of detail provided was incredible. But the only two things that mattered to me were: Price + Mileage.

The cylinders, torque ratio, you name it… These are things that did not affect my purchase. The smart features and safety capabilities that did affect my purchase were shown to me by the dealer. And only after I had already made some cuts. (That, again, were made based off a sticker I couldn’t understand.)

What would have been helpful? A sticker that talked less about torque, and more about tangible benefits – the WHY this product is perfect for a family of 4. Or two. Or ten. Reassure my concerns on the questions that start with “But what do I do…”

Think about that for smart home appliances and technologies. Make it harder for customers to doubt and question and go with the cheaper option… And easier for them to want and buy and upgrade.

We’ll be sharing a lot of insight over the next few weeks, including customer videos. Stay tuned!

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Interested in our latest research-based insights? Get in touch.

Lauren Bell / Senior Engagement Strategist / lbell@ksvc.com / 212.366.4000

Topics: Customer-Centric Marketing, customer demands, Customer Insight, connected home, Energy Wire, Home Improvement, Intelligent Efficiency, IoT, KSV research, marketing, Shopping Experience, Smart Home, smart products

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