One new smartphone, 10 new problems

Do you remember the first BlackBerry circa 2004? Or when the iPhone launched a few years later? Some of you probably think back to that time with nostalgia. Back in the day, a "smart" phone's main purpose was to make phone calls and manage email. Learning how to operate a new device was fairly straightforward.

Over the last five years, however, the nascent smartphone market has transformed into a highly complex industry. True to Moore's law, smartphone manufacturers are now able to cram more and more features into thinner and thinner devices. With each new phone or software update, apps and functionalities are added, renamed, moved, or eliminated.

Apple is a great example of that evolution. With the launch of iOS 9, "Proactive" (similar to Google Now), "News", and "Android Migration" will debut. On top of that, the Notes app will get a facelift, Apple Music will change considerably, and Siri will become even more intelligent. While loyal followers yearn for the September launch date, most mobile operators get a headache when they think about the early fall.

Complexity increases exponentially with each new device or software version. That complexity drives support needs because your customers have trouble operating the new phones. It also impairs your reps' performance because they are unfamiliar with the new features and often don't have access to physical devices to resolve issues effectively. And, to make matters worse, you usually do't have the time, experience, or resources to keep your digital device support tools up-to-date and relevant.

The result is dissatisfied and angry subscribers, unsure and unsuccessful reps, and a huge strain on your organization.

When in doubt, outsource!

On the bright side, all mobile operators, no matter the size, struggle with managing the chaos of device and software launches. In almost all cases, it will make sense to find a reliable partner that can provide you with a comprehensive device support platform and help you handle complexity successfully. However, not all vendors are the same. Here is what you should look for:

Timeliness is the key to success.

Find a partner that is able to deliver always-up-to-date device support tools. Current and easy-to-use self-help and call center troubleshooting tools decrease call volume, reduce call time, and improve customer satisfaction.It's all about experience. Complexity management is, for the most part, about knowing what you are up against, and anticipating needs. You want to find a partner that has worked in the wireless industry for many years. They have supported several hundred device and software launches and know how to deal with the chaos effectively.

Scale matters. Infrastructure is huge. Even the most experienced partner will struggle with device complexity if it doesn't have the right infrastructure in place. Look for partners that have well-established clients with large subscriber bases. If the vendor can support the Verizons and AT&Ts of the world, chances are high that it will be able to support your organization, too.

Data analytics complete the picture.

The smartphone market is constantly evolving; your device support tools should, too. Your partner should have deep knowledge of data analytics, allowing it to constantly optimize its tools based on common device issues, frequently asked questions, and customer behavior.

Multi-channel to reach all your customers.

Device support tools will only be instrumental in reducing complexity if they reach your entire customer base. Look for a partner that offers tools for each of your support channels: online, call center, and retail store. This will guarantee effective support for all your customers, no matter how they prefer to get their issues resolved.

There is no doubt that the ever-growing complexity of today's devices put an immense strain on your organization. But if you partner with the right vendor today, device and software launches like iOS 9 will become a lot less nerve-racking in the future.

Are you struggling with device complexity? Let us know how we can help. Contact us.