The top five broadband industry trends to expect in 2022 

Broadband has been making headway for major investments and expansion in recent years. If one thing is for certain, 2022 is the year of broadband. 

With this evolution comes an even greater need for reliable and consistent broadband support. This year, broadband providers can anticipate a surge in household access to broadband, an increase in competitive customer support, integrated self-serve resources, adaptive work environments and virtualized experiences.

If you’re interested in learning more about the top five broadband industry trends that will influence your customer support goals in 2022, keep reading below.

Increased accessibility

In May of 2021, the U.S. Congress allocated $3.2 billion to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to provide low-income households affordable broadband and connected internet services and devices. 

Further, in February 2022, the FCC has declared its plan to fund an additional $1.2 billion into the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to increase rural broadband accessibility across 32 states. Additionally, the FCC announced the Rural Broadband Accountability Plan, which is set to enhance transparency of broadband and internet services, including speed and latency reviews.1

With a surge of connected communities and more households with access to broadband comes a greater number of customer onboarding requests, support inquiries and agent-assisted interactions. This has the potential to overload contact centers and field technicians and increase costs for companies to answer every customer question that enters the queue. Device activations and initial home network setup are some of the most common (and costly) support inquiries for broadband providers. 

In just one year, over 1.3 million broadband households were established, with over 538,000 rural homes added to the bunch as well.2 In 2022, broadband providers can expect to see the number of connected households swell along with the demand for reliable support.

Competitive customer support

As the broadband market has gotten more and more competitive in recent years, so has the tech support sector. With connected home and internet devices becoming increasingly advanced, your customer support teams should be equipped with robust, advanced resources that can direct simple support interactions into low-cost channels.

At this point in time, end customers expect their providers to offer the most comprehensive support and often will end up switching providers or expressing their frustration with their provider to others, whether it’s on social media, via review sites or not recommending it to others.

In today’s day and age, customers expect immediate and accurate answers whether that’s when speaking to an agent over the phone or seeking out answers through your digital channels.

One of the most effective ways to provide competitive support to customers is with omnichannel support experiences. Whether it’s support for your agents within the contact center or your customers accessing self-serve options, having optimized, up-to-date answers that are available 24/7 through every digital channel is critical for agent competence, customer satisfaction and ultimately, customer retention. 

This leads us to another major broadband industry trend for 2022: self-serve

Self-serve integrations

Self-serve support is now one of the most used forms of customer service to date. Whether it’s opting for self-checkout at the grocery store or self-check-in at the airport, self-serve support has entered the mainstream for millions of individuals nationwide to complete their tasks or answer their own questions efficiently and effectively – and it’s not going away anytime soon. 

In one 2021 webinar with Broadband Communities, Ozmo found that 43% of broadband providers use text-based articles, static PDFs or basic frequently asked questions for self-serve support to their customers. 43% of respondents also said that they don’t offer any self-serve support resources. 

Self-serve support is one of the key ways that broadband providers in 2022 can expect to improve their customer service while exceeding customer expectations. 

Some optimal self-serve integrations include adding an easy-to-implement self-serve API or embedding a robust self-serve experience directly into your website or mobile app, without the hassle of complicated coding or hardware expertise. This ensures that no matter where your customers turn for answers, they’ll have access to accurate and up-to-date information 

Ready to enhance your support this year? 

Adaptable work environments 

Adaptable teams are workforces that are able to resiliently face change and adversity. Whether it be fully-remote workforces or hybrid teams, broadband providers are going to see next-generation work environments continue to make up a significant portion of the job market. 

Support centers in 2020 had to make the tough decision to transition their agents into hybrid or remote work environments while reducing the number of in-home setups achieved through truck rolls. Even now, agents are still in need of comprehensive support resources. In September 2021 alone, 67% of employees in traditional white-collar jobs reported working from home, either exclusively or in a hybrid setting.3 Providing your customer service teams with support that serves fully remote environments is the path in which tech support is trending.

So what does this mean for support agents? With more agents working from home, it’s essential that customer service teams have access to reliable, consistent and up-to-date digital resources to answer every customer question, regardless of how complex. 

Lengthy instructional articles and search engine results can only do so much to educate your customers and your agents. What agents are really looking for in 2022 is a robust contact center support platform that can place every answer directly into the hands of your teams, wherever they may be working. Moreso, when customer service teams have access to a single source of truth, this helps provide more consistency of answers, therefore removing the possibility of providing conflicting answers to your customers. 

Virtualization 

Virtualization within tech support is also one of the many broadband industry trends that experts are seeing today. Virtualization is the process of creating a virtual version of real items or experiences, including connected devices. Virtual devices and apps are digital, freeform representations of their physical counterparts that function just as if a person were to use the technology in their hand. Virtualization within the customer support space is becoming increasingly ubiquitous.

Virtual devices and apps can be an ideal solution for remote or hybrid support teams who don’t have access to physical devices to answer their customers’ inquiries. Whether it’s resetting their routers, accessing their account through their providers’ app or more, virtual devices equipping apps can empower agents to confidently guide their customers to success. In fact, empowering agents with virtual devices and apps has been proven to improve first call resolution rate and customer satisfaction.

Not to mention, the virtualization of devices and apps for customer service has the potential to save your business significant resources. The cost to purchase, upkeep and insure contact center devices is one of the leading costs for many customer service teams.

Implementing an omnichannel support platform that offers thorough support with virtual devices and apps can close the support gaps that your team may be experiencing without breaking the bank for your business. 

Want to improve your support? Download our 2022 goal setting worksheet to set your team up for success this year.

Bypass the competition

With new changes in broadband systems comes new support trends and advancements within the internet, connected home and business voice industries. 

It’s critical that your support team has access to the resources that are necessary to stay ahead of your customers’ needs and your competitors’ service. Without doing so, churn rates could increase as broadband customers care not only about the price of their service, but also how seamless all of their support interactions are. Keeping customer retention rates high will also prevent your organization from losing revenue and instead direct resources to growing and scaling your business.

If you’re looking to expand your business’s offerings based off of these broadband industry trends while enhancing your customer support with proper goal setting, get started here.