Today there are smart doorbells, smart thermostats, smart door locks, smart speakers, smart… well, you get the picture.
Within the next five years, smart home devices are expected to race past $100 billion in sales. Nearly 40 million of us now own at least one smart speaker says TechCrunch (that’s about 1 out of every 8).
The good news for contractors? All that smart home device installation work is going to keep you very, very busy.
The not-so-great news: Installing the next generation of smart home devices isn’t always as fast and easy as it should be. That can cost you time on service calls. And lost time means lost dollars.
Lay the Groundwork
How, then, should contractors approach smart home installations with new customers?
The ideal initial installation would start with a couple of customer questions. For example: “Have you ever used a device like this before?” “Do you use a smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Echo Dot?” “Are you familiar with operating a smart device from your smartphone?”
These answers will help you set the right expectations and minimize surprises that could trip up your customer after installation. An informed customer is a happy customer.
In addition to understanding your customer’s experience with smart devices, getting familiar with the features and schedule templates of the lighting control you’re installing can help ensure appointments go off without a hitch.
Many smart lighting controls, such as the Wi-Fi enabled Ascend™ Smart 7-Day In-Wall Programmable Timer, are accompanied by a wealth of video tutorials and online FAQs.
Moreover, if you know your customer requires a specific schedule to be programmed, setting up a calendar template in advance can allow you to hit the ground running once you arrive at the job. Less time per service call can mean more service calls per day.
Making a Connection
Different smart devices require different types of communication channels and network connectivity. This can be a deciding factor when selecting or recommending a new smart control.
Many smart devices are dependent on access to a Wi-Fi network or require a proprietary smart home hub for installation, which can pose challenges for both homeowners and contractors. However, that’s not always the case. Solutions like the Ascend Smart offer a variety of communication options, including peer-to-peer communication, which allows contractors to fully install and configure the timer without a Wi-Fi connection or smart home hub.
Working overtime to make certain a new type of smart home device would delight contractors as much as homeowners, Intermatic focused on streamlining the installation process and providing convenient, tech-forward features with its new Ascend Smart. Ideal for automating routine lighting schedules, Ascend Smart allows users to view and configure lighting schedules from any smartphone or tablet, as well as at the device through a bright LCD interface.
“Ascend allows contractors to fully install the device and pass control to the homeowner in minutes. No network connection or smart home hub required,” says Kimberly Durkot, segment marketing manager at Intermatic. The company estimates each installation saves contractors five to 15 minutes.
The initial install is one thing, but heading-off costly callback questions is another. Intermatic has the contractor’s back with a U.S.-based technical support team equipped to handle most customer issues with no contractor involvement.
In a world that is fast-becoming smart-this and smart-that, creating a product with both the end-user and contractor in mind is a lesson contractors hope all smart home device manufacturers learn going forward.