Click. Tap. Push. Voila! What you wanted is only minutes away, be it a pizza, an Uber, or to enter your home with the heat already on, lights already glowing, and music already playing. From the way you bought your smart device to the way you buy on your smart device, consumerism is all about the one-click fix. Such instant satisfaction has been handed to humanity at an unmanageable pace, as companies are struggling to keep up with growing demands for equally quick service.
Gartner predicts that 20.8 billion “connected things will be in use worldwide” by 2020, and by 2022, a single family home could contain 500 smart devices. Homes are smart, cars are smart, phones are smart, and even cities are becoming smart. The rapid production and distribution of such devices creates a massive need for customer support and people are getting impatient with the long waits, inconvenient appointment times, and expensive costs. There is an undeniable gap between the availability of consumption (on-demand, one-click, p2p) and the unavailability of service.
Smart Service for Smart Products
When you “call” (tap) for an Uber you know exactly who is driving you. You know the cost, you know the exact time you will be picked up, and you know how other customers have rated your driver. It is all about trust. You pay for the service provided, and if the driver messes up, you no longer have to pay. Because such service exists and is so accessible in our everyday lives, people expect all service to follow. But time and again, service for the vast amount of smart devices seems to fall way behind the expected standard. Wait times on the phone can last for hours, and at-home appointments are often scheduled between too large a time gap, “anywhere between 8am and 5pm,” and usually fall on a work day. Pricing varies, and often the technician has to return for various reasons. But why should a customer have to pay at all, let alone twice, for an already paid for device to be fixed if damage was not caused by the consumer?
With technology advancing at such a rapid rate, customer expectations are rising.
Retailers are embracing same-day deliveries, apps rid us of waits, and we can stream just about any show or movie within seconds with companies like Amazon, Fios, Netflix, and other on-demand services. We are hyperconnected humans and a loss of connection—whether it be a slow internet, a broken sound-system, or a glitch in an app—seems devastating. Instant gratification has caused impatience in people, but are companies not creating their own nightmare? They produce and produce, but can’t seem to keep up themselves.
With everything becoming smart, people also want service to be smart. The reason people order services is either because they are at a loss as of what to do to fix a problem, or they simply don’t have the time. Through research and technology, companies should (sooner rather than later) be able to predict the needs of each consumer and each product. Through scanners, pictures, and other technological advancements, maintenance needs should be both acknowledged and anticipated so that the service knows what the customer needs fixed, not the other way around. Additionally, 24/7 availability from tech’s has become a benchmark to the point where it is surprising to come across companies without this invariable option.
Standards for service are higher than ever before. Consumer expectations have increased immensely due to technological advancements in what and when a product or service is available. These days, it seems that everything but customer service is at our fingertips.