This blog post originally appeared in Gigabytes of CRM in July 2011 and is reproduced here with permission.
Although advances in technology are very evident almost everywhere you look these days, you really begin to understand the impact of these changes when you are the parent of teenagers. With two teenage daughters, and what seems like hundreds of digital devices between the two of them, I know too well the dependence on technology in today’s home. I have made an effort to keep abreast of the latest gadgets and I am fairly competent when it comes to troubleshooting computer or network issues. Unfortunately for me, I now have a steady part-time job keeping my daughters socially connected in the home.
Up until now, I’ve been pretty good at resolving the technical “glitches” in my house. However, with rapid advances in technology, today’s products are becoming increasingly more complex. Most consumers do not have the technological chops to resolve these issues on their own. And for me (I’m probably not alone on this one), I have increasingly less time and inclination to deal with the growing number of technology threats and challenges in my home. As a result, businesses have seen a rapid increase in the number of consumers who have been forced to use their technical support services. In fact, the utilization of technical support services has more than tripled over the last few years.
In the future, as product innovation continues to be driven by more advanced technology, consumers will be increasingly more dependent on technical support services. And given the economic pressure that most companies are experiencing, I doubt we’ll see an expansion of product warranty coverage any time soon. Therefore, in an effort to enjoy these products and retain their sanity, most consumers will be forced to purchase extended tech support coverage, either at the point of sale or as an after-market service. And, if you’ve ever purchased a new product at “Best Buy”, you know much people resent that additional purchase after just spending hundreds of dollars on a new electronic gadget.
Some companies have already recognized that their customers would appreciate alternative options for technical support. Comcast recently announced that they will start offering a new technical support service that goes beyond helping customers with just their cable television problems. This service will range from $5 to $20 per month and will support customers on a variety of electronic devices, including cell phones, laptops, desktop computers and tablets. As consumers increasingly seek out better products with better support, companies striving to improve customer experience in the digitally-converged household will invest in similar end-to-end customer support solutions. The question is, will consumers be happier having all their products supported through their cable company? Only time will tell.
For me, I think I’ll stick to being the tech guru in my house for a little while longer. As much as it can be a pain at times, it is nice that my daughters still appreciate and depend on their father for something. Oh… gotta go now. I hear my daughter screaming something about her iPad being disconnected from Facebook during a boyfriend “crisis”. I’d like to see Comcast handle that one!