We believe that many trends from the last few years will continue and intensify in 2023. Companies are investing in innovation and digital transformation to increase efficiency and customer loyalty as consumers become more pragmatic and frugal. The following trends will impact hardware product support in 2023:
Trend#1: Further rise of AI adoption #riseofai
While AI hype is nothing new, if you aren't actively involved in technology, you might not realize how ubiquitous it is. It isn't going away anytime soon, and product support will continue to be a key application of artificial intelligence. The application of technologies such as Natural Language Understanding (NLU) has become a regular practice, and almost boring as most self-service tools nowadays provide it, although to varying degrees of quality. Of course, Mavenoid will continue to invest in our core Intent Recognition engine in order to better tailor it to the requirements and wants of hardware customers.
Another area of investment will be in content scalability; this is where the real magic is expected to happen, thanks to recent breakthroughs that harness the creative power of AI generative neural models to produce entirely new images, sounds, or other types of content that never existed before. As a result, knowledge creation and maintenance costs can be drastically reduced. AI can be programmed to perform not only routine but also creative tasks. We already use these technologies at Mavenoid in Flow Advisor, our AI-assisted content improvement tool. More exciting developments with generative models are expected in 2023, so definitely keep an eye on this space.
There's one more trend we mentioned in our 2022 recap, and we believe it's here to stay: as the complexity of hardware products and their support grows, content scalability will become more important to hardware product manufacturers.
Here are a few ways we anticipate businesses will be optimizing their support content scalability this year:
- Choosing tools with robust collaboration capabilities to help streamline the process of creating and updating support content
- Increasing personalization to provide more targeted and relevant support content to customers rather than creating and maintaining generic manuals and FAQs
- Implementing solutions that use natural language processing to understand customer inquiries and provide relevant responses, increasing the efficiency of support interactions
- Using AI systems for knowledge management to organize, maintain, and update support content, as well as analyze customer feedback and identify common themes or issues, allowing for proactive problem resolution and improved support content quality.
Trend#2: Standardization of smart devices and IoT #smarterthings
Household devices are becoming smarter over time. Over the next year, home appliances will become more "smart" and able to communicate to and connect with each other in more useful ways. The smart home market will reach $53 billion. Integrating with these devices opens up a lot of options for proactive customer care, like warning customers about a possible problem while it's still easy to fix. These integrations used to be time-consuming to set up because each IoT platform has its own API, so building every new integration required starting from scratch – but not anymore.
Matter, the 'USB-C from the smart home world' protocol, went live in late 2022, allowing IoT devices from different manufacturers to communicate with one another. This project, which was started by Google, Amazon, and Apple, now includes over 400 companies, including Samsung, Xiaomi, and many others. By unifying standard IoT APIs, it will be much easier in the future to use telemetry data to send hyper-relevant, personalized alerts and instructions to customers. This will result in much higher efficiency, customer loyalty, and cost savings for brands that use platforms like Mavenoid. For example, one of our clients has an app that sends a notification when the IoT-connected lawnmower gets stuck, instructing their customer to open the Mavenoid Assistant for solutions to that error. If there isn't a specific solution, the customer will be sent to a general support flow where they can get help from an expert.
Trend#3: Continued #globalization and remote work
There is a consensus that remote work is here to stay and will increase into 2023, resulting in even more global and diverse support teams. This will help accelerate the transition from traditional on-premise to modern cloud tools that team members can access from anywhere.
Globalization will be another trend. We've been seeing consistent year-over-year growth in non-English conversations since 2020, thanks to the global nature of our customers and their support staff located all over the world, and anticipate this trend to persist in 2023. More investment in multi-language support powered by AI will make both customers' and team members' lives much easier.
Trend#4: Focus on real #sustainability
Another non-negotiable tech trend that will take center stage even more in the coming years is ensuring that technology is environmentally sustainable. More customers and brands will be looking for green credentials in 2023. It entails not only recyclable hardware and energy-efficient devices but also "greener" support processes. Just think about the piles of paper manuals that are discarded or remain unused in the warehouse, or all the technician visits that could have been handled via remote self-service, chat, or video, and all the devices that are discarded but could have been repaired. Luckily, changes are on the way, both technological and regulatory. We are keeping a close eye on two major initiatives. The first is The Right To Repair, which should provide free access to repair and maintenance information to independent repairers and consumers.
The first is The Right To Repair, which should provide free access to repair and maintenance information to independent repairers and consumers.
The second is the EU Commission's initiative to reduce the legal requirements on the availability of manually printed manuals, which will result in a massive effort to digitize existing manuals and make them available and easily searchable online. We are already seeing impressive results from our customers—like B/S/H decreasing field-service bookings by 16% – and can’t wait to see the impact Mavenoid will drive in 2023 to companies running their self-service product support on our platform.
Trend#5: Recession impacting customer service #smartcostcutting
In order to save money, consumers and businesses will most likely try to extend the life of their existing hardware in 2023, which will increase demand for hardware support services. In their turn, customer support leaders may feel pressure to provide high-quality customer experience while remaining cost-effective.
Maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction will be critical in order to retain business and build loyalty. To continue improving the customer experience, it will be necessary to invest in new technologies, including support automation, proactive support, and extensive training programs for support staff. At the same time, brands will be looking for ways to cut costs wherever they can to remain financially viable during the downturn. This could be accomplished by leveraging analytics to make better data-informed decisions, streamlining processes, and automating routine tasks as much as possible.
Which trends do you think will have an impact on hardware support in 2023?
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