I figured that given the support team is overloaded and myself and number of my London friends are having a very mixed set of experiences with our Smartthings it might be helpful for the community give them some feedback - and who knows, hopefully my experience is an outlier case! (In fairness, I’m curious!)
Why pick PCWorld/Currys as a partner?
They have a “when opened can’t be returned policy”, and won’t give you a refund unless you can prove it’s faulty within 14 days (hard when it’s say a cloud service issue).
Sure lots of people are fine with not having buyer’s remorse returns, but when it’s new and people aren’t always going to have a great experience or compatibility is an issue… it’s a real comforter.
(Amazon (returns policy) or ideally John Lewis (staff that are unfailingly knowledgeable and returns) would probably have been my preference)
Online - UK support has been variable, although really positive and upbeat, the perception is that they are un-empowered and fundamentally a window-dressing for the ‘real’ team in california. e.g. “Why don’t give them a bit more time, if we haven’t heard back by tomorrow morning, hit the reset button and start from scratch?” - two days later nothing… - it feels like the controls of the cloud service are very much out of their control.
In store: The Smartthings Reps in Smartthings ‘jackets’ (Tottenham Court Road i.e. Currys/PC World Flagship) who claim to be experts (who indeed I was told 'come back on Saturday the expert from Smarthings will be in): have zero idea - they are young and chatty, but aren’t even vaguely enthusiasts in the space - but they have no demo unit, have never connected a non-smarthings item, and have negligible training e.g. How does the moisture sensor detect moisture? Can you both the Philips Hue app at the same time as the Smarthings one, what degree of functional compatibility is there? - Answers included: “I can’t show you anything of the app interface despite holding this samsung tablet”, “why would you want to connect a non smart things switch”, “another customer has said you can connect a nest, but I wouldn’t know where to start”.
Now yes, I can google these, but what’s the point of a branded instore expert rep - who actually with bad answers puts you off purchasing? (I recently returned from living in the US - never had a problem like this with Best Buy in Union Square, Manhattan for IoT products!).
Note - I’m not trying to ‘hate’ on Smartthings here - only provide constructive feedback - I really like the concept and proposition, so would hate to see the firm fail in this market - I figured I can’t be the only one. While we’re of course a second tier market - this experience could give the mis-perception that this is how this fair isle is perceived by Smartthings!
(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy)
Ironically or facetiously… You’re lucky in the UK to actually have a brick & mortar retailer.
USA still only SmartThings online store and Amazon.
And I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon just due to their easy return policy.
I checked out your account and it got into a weird state with our new global infrastructure. We’re going to follow up 1:1 with some troubleshooting steps.
I will go 300 and Sparta on arguing that our UK support team is one of the most badass, well-trained, and best looking teams in England. However, there are certain layers of the servers and global infrastructure that cannot be touched by agents and have to be escalated. Normally turnaround time to get this looked at by an engineer is a day or two… but there has been a lot going on post-launch.
The US and UK retail experiences are definitely different. I (an American) had to return a product to a large (British) department store and was a bit taken aback by some of the hoops. The SmartThings products are still super-new to the floor associates, and not all of them are swimming in the SmartThings products every day so they have a different level of knowledge from our SmartThings online support team. However, we realllly appreciate this feedback because we are rolling out additional training programs for the retail partners.
My favorite way to test the moisture sensors is to lick my finger and touch the contacts on the bottom. It makes my coworkers angry… so I do it more.
Thanks for that - as for the Retail Experience for returns, but Currys / PC World are somewhat unusual with a zero remorse returns policy when opened - the staff don’t really know what to do when someone comes in asking for a swap when the device appears to work correctly, but the cloud service that controls is problematic. I’ve actually filed a complaint with the government trading standards, as while they are within the letter of the law, it’s consumer unfriendly behaviour. (also would reduce the support overheads on your team’s side!)
As for support and service, it’s actually less the time, but also the quality of communication - transparency and explaining why there’s a problem - really helps build patience and importantly trust when there’s a risk your going to ask users to repeatedly try things and have a box that does nothing for three weeks - being inundated is acceptable, but if you’re ever left thinking “what are they doing” - the extra five mins to communicate why (and then inevitably goes into Zendesk and can be used by others).
Again, intended as a helpful rather than inflammatory discussion.
I appreciate the thoughtful answer. I will discuss with the support team. My big qualifier is that when the support agents say I’m looking into it, that’s pretty much never a stall tactic. They are telling you “I am on the case” and then go looking through hardware, firmware, and cloud issues - and communicating (note: pestering with brilliant decorum) with engineers - to figure out what is actually going on so the next report will be a bit more informative. Sometimes the answer is a quick fix, but sometimes it’s is a bit more fluid and not entirely clear (e.g., C/F wonkiness, etc) and we need to start marshaling resources to escalate.For Currys, because of the way the SKUs work, they have to swap Kits as a whole (rather than individual devices). If there is one device failed, contact email@example.com and they can start processing the replacement.
You are correct that cloud issues are a bit harder for Currys to wrap their head around because they sold you the hardware that (usually) works perfectly fine. I have had a couple experiences returning devices from Currys (and other UK stores), which are often very different from the virtually don’t ask policies at US stores, I found that if you really explain the challenges, they get it and will take care of you. All of that said, I swear the cloud fixes are coming soon (see my 12.5 posts promising - but I wear its true)
Aaron. I wish you were right, but the reality in my experience doesn’t match up to your statement - “I am on the case” sadly in my experience means no update for the last 12 days, this whole debacle taking up silly amounts of my time over the past month - and about £350 of smart things items I can’t do anything with, and things only happening when I prod you over the community. Given your support team aren’t able to explain what’s going on, I’m only left to wonder. It’s actually really upsetting that I can read on this forum about users who haven’t paid getting support and working with their kit, where as when you have paid you seem to get silence. Just put yourself in my shoes
I’ve had a very similar experience, sadly it seems to have been a bit of a rush job for UK release and things just aren’t working correctly. I had a list as long as my arm with things going wrong in the first couple of weeks of launch which although the ST Support tried to help me with, they often had to wait overnight for things to actually be fixed.Even now, some issues are still not fixed, but if I’m perfectly honest I don’t have time to be constantly bugging them (that’s the whole point in me buying ST, I don’t have the time)
I agree that PC World/Currys has got to be one of the worst places to pick up ST (or anything else like this), they are just a ‘box shifter’ but lucky I ordered mine straight from Samsung and all went well (in delivery terms).
What also makes it more frustrating is the pure lack of devices of here in the UK, I’m hoping to changes in the near future so we can have the same experience as the US.
Aaron, While you (Insiders program) may have taken a security deposit its fair to say they’ll get that back on return (assuming the kit is in good condition). So Yes you have given away units for free. However Temporary that free is they get a no stress trial and will get their money back without issue on return of the product unlike some of us who will no doubt have to argue with the store staff of your companies chosen UK partner.