Curbing Customer Challenges With New Tech

Bringing new tech to your customers is an exciting and important part of innovative selling. Sales of smart devices have been climbing since 2013. Customers are curious, interested, and often motivated to buy smart tech.

But, as with most things that are new, smart tech comes with a lot of issues that frustrate customers. Being prepared for these hindrances can win customer loyalty as you help them successfully integrate new tech in the home and office. Informing your customers and anticipating their frustrations may be more essential in the area of smart technology retail than in longer-established markets.

That’s the secret to keep up with retail—getting the right information to the right customer at the right time.

Steve Wilson, MarketSource

Customer Frustrations with Smart Technology: An Opportunity

Average-intelligence customers and smart technology make an interesting mix. Along the buyer journey, awareness leads to consideration, which leads to a decision. Many retailers are focusing more on awareness than on the consideration and decision components. Because of the advanced nature of smart technology and the variety of smart devices available, customers have more choices than ever.

This is where an informed and helpful field staff comes in handy. In The Future of Wearable Tech Sales, Brian Conley describes the importance of field staff who understand and explain the tech they’re offering. He suggests the following for field staff:

  1. Make sure consumers get more help than that which they find on the box.
  2. Qualify that their lifestyle needs match the product.
  3. Show how your product differentiates.


  • 5 Customer Frustrations with Smart Technology

  • Connectivity issues

The selling points for many smart tech devices lies in their ability to connect with other devices. Questions customers need to be considering include:

  • How often does this product update its app? As Apple and Android update their operating systems, older apps sometimes fall by the wayside.
  • What is the product’s customer service like? As connectivity can be a complex issue, customer service is often needed for set-up or troubleshooting.
  • Is this product the best fit for my lifestyle?
  • Price barriers

Smart devices typically cost 30-50% more than their “dumb” counterparts. Routinely, as price drives many decisions, customers will need to understand whether buying the smart version will make financial sense in the long run. Therefore, field staff or online content can break down metrics like:

    • If you use this device every day for a year, how much would the increased price cost you per day? In other words, are you willing to pay X amount per day, week, etc, to have the features this device offers?
    • Many smart devices for the home and office are centered around energy efficiency. How much will customers be likely to save on their electric bill if they can turn off all the lights with one click of a button when they leave the house?
  • Other smart devices focus on safety. Without using manipulative language, field staff can help customers compare the price they will spend to get the smart device with the safety value they’re receiving.
  • Is there an ongoing charge or activation fee associated with this product? 
  • Data privacy

In their annual survey of Millennials and Gen Zs, Deloitte reports that 25% of Millennials “have curtailed consumer relationships” because of companies’ inability to protect their data.

Due to a deep distrust of big business, the younger generations want upfront communication about how their data will be protected. This information is often hidden from customers within a complicated EULA with which they must agree after they’ve already bought the product. This is an area where prior research by a salesperson could gain for a customer real added value from shopping in your store.

  • Durability

Many customers express frustration over expensive smart tech wearing out over a period of time that’s too short for the price they paid. Entire franchises are built around smartphone repair, which is notoriously costly. Therefore, it is imperative to help your customers know which brands are more durable and which warranties are most helpful.

  • Learning curves

The “smart” in smart technology is supposed to refer to the tech, not the consumer. The iPhone is so complex that Apple now offers classes in its stores to teach people how to make the most of the device’s functions. This is innovative and helpful, but it also speaks to the complexity of their phones. How hard will it be for your customers to learn to use their new device? What support is offered if they’re having trouble?

How Can You Reduce Customer Frustrations with Smart Technology?

Be smarter about smart technology than your customers are. If you’re going to bring new tech to market, make sure your field staff knows their stuff. You will stand out from the crowd of retailers who know just enough to fake it.