Connected appliances are changing the industry for major brands like Amazon, Best Buy, and Sears. Their appliance functions boast ease and convenience for the consumer with features such as remote start and stop, pre-heating, and monitoring cycles from your smartphone or tablet, as well as push notifications about a completed wash, dry, or bake cycle. Although there may be more upfront cost, the smart applications can keep your appliance running its best by reminding consumers to purchase replacement filters or other accessories.
After a few years in the field, Kenmore was looking to redesign their entire in-app experience for the consumer and provide the necessary updates to support new appliance models and features. This was a huge project for Kenmore – they needed professional and creative software engineers, so they reached out to us at Lab651.
What the customer wants
The combined product and engineering teams at Kenmore and Lab651 first started the project by conducting customer interviews. One of the main focuses was finding out what features their customer’s found most important and brought those to the forefront. Throughout the project, we continually pushed ourselves to ask, “Is this really the most important feature for the user?”.
What makes projects like this equally interesting is that we have to support multiple appliances! Showing the features of a refrigerator is very different from an oven or a dishwasher. Thus, the interface that was designed had to take that into consideration.
From 1.5 Stars to 4.3
Before Lab651 began working on the project, the Kenmore application was doing poorly on the app store(s) with an average star rating floating around 1.5 stars. The low-star rating was due to customer complaints such as: confusing and failing onboarding process, clunky design, and failure to connect and notify. Our job at Lab651 was to give a new and fresh approach to the user experience, handle new features in the 2019 and 2020 models, and create a much more user-friendly and rock-solid experience when onboarding new appliances.
This was done flawlessly with an architecture that allows for capabilities for each appliance to be pushed down from the cloud to the mobile device. Careful thought went into revamping the process the customer uses to get their appliance online, making it simpler and easier. The result is that the app doesn’t need to be updated on the app store. Instead, it updates as each new feature is added to the customer’s appliance, and also works for each new appliance the customer chooses to add later. The output, I can happily say, was that we saw an increase in customer satisfaction by more than 200% percent since the relaunch of Kenmore Smart appliances app to close to 4.5 stars!
These are exciting times for companies that provide connected products to their customers. An entirely new revenue stream of selling consumables (filters, dishwashing tablets, detergent) and even more interesting, data usage patterns is what is are features that are going to set companies like Kenmore and other smart appliance manufacturers ahead of their competition by decades.
A Competitive Edge
While some argue we are still early in this journey, it’s those companies that invest today that will reap the data rewards of tomorrow—and it has just begun! Now that we are getting data from end customers, our team of data science experts is going to work using use TensorFlow and other DeepLearning tools to better understand and predict how products perform in the field, how customers use their appliances and then provide them better services and improved product experience.
We have been blessed to work with products such as Craftsman and their Smart Tractors and now working on Appliances in the home. Please reach out to us at Lab651 if you want to learn more about how we can help you and your team build better experiences by creating smart and internet-connected products. We have the knowledge and experience to make the next generation of your products a reality.
“Thanks, Justin. We couldn’t have done it without you and your team’s help!” ~ Tom DeSalvo, DVP Product Development for Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard