Why Home Technologists are Still Struggling to Understand the Real Value of Remote Supervision?
We've talked to Home Technologists all over the world. Conversations with the very few of them who have tried remote supervision solutions is always the same: “Yeah, we tested some solutions, but they didn't really help us”. Here at Krika you can imagine that we'd be happy to hear this. We could use this feedback to develop a killer feature-set that would corner this elusive market. But if it was as simple as listening to these requirements, then coding the product, our competitors like Ihiji or Domotz would have already done that already. Wouldn't they?
Clearly it's not so simple. The more we hear Home Technologists explain why they don't regularly deploy remote supervision, the more we realize that the industry hasn't grasped what supervision is really for. The challenge has nothing to do with a lack of technical features and capabilities. After all, using only 10% of the features on any supervision device on the market would dramatically improve the life of any Home Technologist.
The challenge is a cultural one: It's a set of bad habits that have taken root over decades. Countless other professions in the world freely discuss the likelihood of regular system failures, taking them as an opportunity to sell maintenance contracts. These contracts give their clients peace of mind, ensuring that a professional will come to the rescue when there is a problem. Home Technologists on the other hand imply their solutions as “bulletproof”, with no need for regular maintenance. And when this need does arise they're afraid to ask for money, seeing after-the-sale service plans as shame, a disgrace, some sort of humiliation.
To escape this uncomfortable discussion, they resort to fuzzy and dishonest excuses. To illustrate what we mean let's look at some of the common objections we've heard from Home Technologists about remote supervision products...
-“Even if it does let us know of a problem we typically have to roll a truck anyways. So what's the point??” Sure. But why roll the truck blind? With remote supervision you roll the truck prepared. You likely know what the problem is. You can have spare parts on-hand. And this information will allow you to roll the truck once, not twice. Would a 50% reduction in warranty truck rolls help your bottom line? We thought so...
-“We install it, configure it, then monitor the UI and nothing really happens. So we stop checking the dashboard, and stop specifying it. Why pay for something that doesn't really do anything?” Maybe the UI makes you feel like some creepy hacker at the NSA. Or maybe it's just frustrating because it's unfamiliar and not something you'll use every day. But remote supervision isn't meant to be a “fun new toy”. Just plug it in, set it and up, and let it do its thing! It's like an insurance policy. You pay for it once and pray you never need it. Would you go to your insurance website daily to make sure your policy is still OK? Would you stop paying your car insurance, or drive without a seat belt after a year of never having an accident?
-“It doesn't come with a button that fixes my client's problems” You could give developers all the money and time in the world and this “easy button” would still never come to exist. Supervision devices cannot automatically (magically?) resolve problems on their own. They never will. But the vast amounts of data they can provide you with are like having an expert IT guy on-site, 24/7, logging every event. This information WILL help you resolve problems quicker.
-“We were getting too many notifications on systems that seemed to be working just fine, so we just ignored them” So a supervision device warns of you of some lurking problem, set to explode like a time bomb, and you don't like it? Today that system may not be suffering a problem. But what about tomorrow when some new device comes online that needs this service to function properly?
-“We are afraid our clients will feel like we're spying on them” But you already know everything don't you? You helped set up their accounts. You set up all their network passwords. You know their Apple Store login. Netflix. Amazon. You probably even have their credit card number. You know the name of their kids and the housekeeper. And the dog probably doesn't even bark at you anymore. You're practically part of the family. They trust you already.
-“We can't sell this service to our clients” Here is the real challenge - the inability to sell service. It's critical that Home Technologists be honest with their clients about the true nature of these solutions. Home technology systems are full of devices with bugs and incompatibilities. This is not some magical wonderland like their clients have seen on TV. Home technologists have to deal with this reality, and it's downright unfair to not get properly compensated for that. The solution is as simple as proposing a yearly or monthly service contract. But too many Home Technologists are hesitant to do it, so they'll never succeed with remote supervision, and in the long run will struggle to run a profitable business.
It's clear to see that these objections have very little to do with the supervision products themselves. It would seem instead that the industry is still struggling to understand the real value of remote supervision. No single product will solve all the needs of this industry. But a real discussion needs to be had about changing the way we think about remote supervision and client service.