How to Overcome Smart Home Hesitancy

Snap One CEO John Heyman offers some insight into how to sell the concept of smart homes.

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How to Overcome Smart Home Hesitancy

Builders and homeowners today are increasingly interested in installing home technologies, and for good reason: integrated smart home systems are more capable and easier to use than ever before. For professional smart home integrators, every home buyer and home builder is a potential client.

Pros know, however, that knowledge about smart home technologies varies widely, from those who envision a plethora of automated systems all working together on a custom schedule to those who believe asking a voice-activated device what the weather’s like is the height of technological innovation.

So how do we convey the message that a truly useful smart home system requires professional design and installation when potential clients can buy something like a $100 smart lighting kit at a hardware store? It all comes down to explaining the real-life experience, instead of praising technical features.

Everyone Wants To Be Comfortable

User experience is the most important aspect of any purchase, and it is especially important for items intended to be used for years or decades. For smart home systems, user experience includes everything from aesthetics and reliability to overall functionality and options to upgrade or expand in the future. To determine what experience they want, we must identify specific features or activities the client wants to invest in, whether it’s lighting, climate controls, AV, security, access or the ability to use voice control in every room.

If they express interest in gadgets from big box stores, a few simple questions can highlight the drastic differences from professional smart home systems. Do they want each room to require multiple remotes or apps that don’t work together, so they constantly have to switch between security, garage doors, lights, music, etc…? Or do they want a seamless experience where one app controls everything, every room has the same controls and functions, and all the different systems communicate perfectly with each other?

Technology Should Just Work, Every Time

Delivering an optimal user experience requires working with an integrator whose expertise ensures proper system design, installation, user tutorials, maintenance and troubleshooting. Again, it’s all about experience. Do potential clients want their home to be outfitted by a trusted professional with vast technology experience, or do they want to do their own research and try to cobble together a few basic products from big box stores?

The hope is that showing images or videos of past projects, or giving a demo or showroom walkthrough, can help clients recognize that the power of a fully integrated system overshadows what’s possible from DIY solutions. Even if the client only wants a smart doorbell and a couple security cameras, we should make sure they know that in the future, that system may be incompatible with other systems, and that an integrated solution will be better if they have any interest in adding more technology down the line.

Connecting with the clients’ specific desires is crucial to demonstrating the full value and power of integrated solutions. Whether they are music or TV buffs, host a lot of parties, travel a lot or absolutely love voice control, we can specify exactly how a professional smart home system will enhance their home experience, and explain the limits and complications of DIY solutions if they ask.

These Aren’t Your Parents’ Smart Home Systems

For clients who have prior experience with smart systems, the recent advances in capabilities, reliability and ease of use make these conversations and demos even more important. In short, past experiences do not reflect the current realities.

To win over sceptical clients, we can rely on the experience they desire, explaining how a professional system ensures that controls are consistent from room to room, that the home can be operated through a single mobile app or wall controls, and that we know how to make everything work together seamlessly. Currently, there is no DIY solution that provides easy, consolidated control of disparate systems with any reliability. We can also stress the importance of using trusted manufacturers that won’t end product support unexpectedly, and convey our personal ability to provide ongoing maintenance or troubleshooting, just like an electrician or plumber.

Physically using a professional system interface versus a DIY interface can be a lightbulb moment. This gets to the core of the homeowner experience and allows integrators a simple way to show how much better and more reliable a professional solution is. It can be as simple as opening a smart home app and letting them quickly navigate to lights, TV, security and climate controls, then giving them a more basic DIY app and noting the limitations and separate apps needed to have the same level of control.

Dispelling the DIY Myth

If a client isn’t sold by hands-on testing and insists that a DIY system could work for them, it’s worth offering a comparison. If the client tried to build their own laptop with individual components and no assistance, would it end up being as good as a leading model designed and built by professionals?  Would it be frustrating to constantly troubleshoot? And if a component didn’t work correctly, would there be anyone to help fix it?

If all a client wants is to add remote control to a single light switch or install a video doorbell, one-off solutions can do that. If they want all the lights in a room to be scheduled and controllable together, however, or to view their doorbell camera on their TV and have intercom capabilities through their phone, a consolidated solution is required to ensure smooth operation.

Integrators must strive to provide the best experience possible for every client, and one way to gain their trust is to express their own professional experience with the systems they trust. The more we talk about the user experience in the home and our professional experience installing successful, reliable home systems, the more we can help potential clients understand that these are complex installations, just like other core infrastructure systems. We can acknowledge that DIY solutions exist while noting their severe limitations, and then pivot to explain how easy and capable a professional home automation system is. By demonstrating the superior user experience our expertise enables, we can dispel the DIY myth and help clients achieve their smart home dreams with unprecedented power and reliability.

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