Survey: Consumers want integrated tech support

Buyers contending with an increasing array of electronic gadgets would like a single source to help manage and support them, according to a survey from Accenture.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

People flustered by all the technical gadgets and gizmos cluttering up their homes and lives are looking for a savior in the form of one company that could help manage it all.

A study released yesterday by technology consulting site Accenture found that consumers would be happy to turn over support of their home and mobile devices to one company that could provide integrated tech support.

Targeting the poll toward users of both computers and mobile phones, Accenture specifically found that 63 percent of the "super users" questioned are looking for a single company to manage everything from home and mobile electronics to broadband and cable services. A super user in this case is defined as someone who owns and uses 14 or more different consumer gadgets.

What are the issues that seem to vex today's consumers?

When asked about the type of support they want, 68 percent said they'd like help in reducing the the potential computer problems that put their data at risk or cost a lot of money to fix. Sixty-seven percent expressed a need for better security from viruses and malware. Sixty-two percent want their computers to run faster, especially when surfing the Internet. And 57 percent are simply looking for a helping hand in tracking down the latest software updates and security patches.

Looking at the possible support options, 36 percent of those polled said their top choice would be to work with someone remotely to resolve an issue, e.g., chatting, talking on the phone, or e-mail. But 33 percent said they'd be okay with tech folks remotely accessing their PCs during down times.

Asked which types of companies might best serve as their primary source of support, 34 percent of all users pointed to a company that they pay on a monthly basis, such as a telecom provider or cable company. That number jumped to 52 percent among super users. But among smartphone owners, 58 percent said they'd opt for their wireless carriers as a technical source for their various devices.

"Although consumers we surveyed are concerned with computer-related issues, our research shows that they are recognizing the value of integrated support to help manage their home and mobile devices, ranging from in-home support, including remote access, to live call-center and Web support, to e-mail," Kurt Hogan, senior executive for Premium Technology Services at Accenture, said in a statement. "We expect this concern to broaden, especially as people integrate their business hardware into the home network environment and use smartphones much the way they use computers, to browse the Web, pay bills, play games, and more."

To conduct its study, Accenture surveyed 3,886 consumers online across 21 countries in November and December 2010.