The internet is not just how we consume media, talk to family members, browse websites, and play games. With the rise of remote work, an internet connection is now tied to people’s livelihoods. Although we’re starting to see the end of the pandemic, 74 per cent of professionals believe that some form of remote work will become the new normal. This means that people will need stable and reliable in-home networks to survive in an increasingly connected world. Having such stability isn’t always easy.

In-home networks are often overloaded. As the Internet of Things (IoT) proliferates, the average home is expected to have 50 connected devices – far more than the average WiFi router was designed to handle. Computers, phones, TVs, smart speakers, refrigerators, and even toothbrushes want to connect to the network. The more devices fighting for bandwidth, the less reliable a network becomes – often leading to the need for troubleshooting efforts by the ISP’s technical staff.

In-home troubleshooting typically goes as follows: when a customer calls into a support centre, the agents collect all possible data about the situation and the customer’s in-home network. The idea is that more data should yield better results. Instead, the more data that the agents get, the more data they have to interpret and understand for nuanced differences between diagnostics. They can misinterpret the data and miss the real problem.

This is compounded because, often times, an in-home network is comprised of components from various manufacturers, not all of which “speak the same language” as an ISP’s diagnostic tools. A user’s WiFi router, modem, signal boosters (if they use them) and other items could all be from different makers, and if any one item doesn’t play nice with the ISP it can create an “unsolvable” problem for traditional troubleshooting techniques. We believe the best solution in this new, connected landscape is customer empowerment.

Empowering users through hands-on troubleshooting

New solutions are emerging that encourage customers to become involved in their own troubleshooting. Customer service agents can share information, graphs, and technical concepts directly to customers personal mobile devices to assist tech-savvy – and non-tech savvy – users to understand and solve the problem. This reduces call centre calls, as customers have access to previous solutions on their own device, leading them to solve the problem themselves before a call to an agent. In an era where it’s important to always be connected, customers may not have time to wait on hold for help — and by empowering them to understand the issue, they won’t have to.

The key to it all is having a way for all of those different devices to communicate in one place – a universal translator of sorts. Luckily, such technology does exist. Using a third-party service to gather and “translate” data from every device in an in-home network and present it as on easy-to-understand dashboard is essential for empowering users to troubleshoot their own network problems.

Remote work may not be going away anytime soon. This, along with increasingly connected homes, has put pressure on consumers’ internet — and pressure on customer service agents. Customer empowerment can educate the new generation of workers to understand their internet service and possible solutions, leading to fewer call centre calls, and yielding quicker solution results.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
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Jason Moore
Jason Moore is the co-founder and CEO of RouteThis, a platform that transforms tech support by using in-home consumer devices and machine learning to empower ISPs in solving internet disruptions remotely.