How insurance (insurtech) and other industries are keeping customers engaged through smart-home technologies, remote IoT services, product warranties and client communications.

The one-time boring insurance business is teaching the smart-home industry a thing or two about keeping clients engaged through IoT … and paying for recurring services. The hashtag #insurtech is kind of a big deal these days.

More than three years ago, I wrote an editorial called, “A Failure to Communicate: How to Lose a Client.” I noted how independent security dealers were losing customers to ADT, Comcast and other mass marketers because long-time clients didn’t know their “security guy” could also automate lights, cameras and door locks.

In our industry, the problem of maintaining customer loyalty — and therefore repeat business and recurring revenue — is only getting worse. TV commercials, Internet ads, online stores, big-box retailers, mobile carriers, ISPs and cable providers all beckon consumers to buy smart-home products and services from them.

Lennar’s surprise decision to use Amazon Smart Home Services for home automation is just the latest salvo.

How can the little guy compete? The answer: Engage with your clients.

Keeping Clients through Engagement

It takes a lot of time and money to acquire a customer, so once you have them, you better keep them. How can you do that if you only talk to them when they have a problem?

Consumer engagement was a big topic of discussion at the recent Connections Conference, the annual IoT event produced by Parks Associates. The topic has always been a “thing” to the security industry, where subscription renewals are paramount and companies attach home-automation devices to engender “stickier” customers.
But now everyone wants to use smart-home technology to keep consumers engaged – from cable companies like Comcast to mobile providers like Verizon Wireless. The latter recently launched SmartHub, a device that uses 4G LTE cellular service for broadband, charging $40 per month for 4GB of data or $110 for unlimited.

There’s a smart-home component to SmartHub, but it’s extremely modest. Yet Verizon markets the heck out of it, assuming people will seek the wireless service because of its bells and whistles, rather than its primary task, which is to provide always-connected broadband.

Verizon is probably thinking: Broadband service isn’t memorable. Consumers will switch when the next deal comes along. Smart-home services, however, could keep broadband customers hooked for a long time.

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