Self-install kits (SIKs) have many benefits to both broadband service providers, and subscribers. They can help reduce operational costs and subscriber fees, and can provide more flexibility for doing the installation. But with this convenience also comes complications if the installation is perceived as being too hard or complex.
The products shipped in a self-install kit vary by service provider, but an SIK for a new set-top box could include a coax jumper, a set-top box, a power supply cord and instructions for the installation, for example.
There are many reasons why service providers send SIKs to their subscribers, so here we’ll discuss a few describing why they can be great and situations when a technician appointment may be a better option.
Reasons why self-install kits are beneficial
When subscribers are receiving the SIK at home, they are able to install it on their own time. Not every consumer is available for an installation appointment during the day, and many would prefer flexibility around their personal schedule. With an SIK, subscribers don’t need to align schedules or wait for a technician to come to their home, while it may only take a few days for the SIK to be delivered.
Sending a self-install kit to a subscriber’s home means the service provider can avoid sending a technician initially. If the provider sends 100 SIKs to subscribers per week and all of them are successfully installed, that would mean an annual savings of $390,000 (based on the average $75 per truck roll). Although subscribers may not see direct savings after receiving an SIK, a decrease in operational costs could keep prices lower for consumers over time.
With the right pieces in the SIK, the installation could be fool-proof. With more innovative technology in recent years, loose connectors aren’t as much of a problem as they once were. It’s always important to make sure a coax connector is finger tight on a port, but that doesn’t always happen when a subscriber is installing the jumper him or herself. QuikTight™ connectors with SignalTight® technology establish ground contact prior to center conductor contact with the port and maintain ground contact with the port even when loose. This eliminates noise from entering and leaving the system, which can degrade network performance for both the subscriber and neighboring homes.
Situations when technician visits are necessary
While many consumers are technology-savvy, there are many who are not. All SIKs should come with detailed instructions, including pictures if possible, to help the subscriber with the installation. Many subscribers are capable of installing their kits with proper instructions, but there will be cases when a technician is necessary. It’s important for the customer service team to talk with the subscriber first to inquire about their comfort level with an SIK. In some cases, it may be more beneficial to send a technician from the start to avoid any frustration for the consumer.
Customer service should also understand how many CPE (customer premise equipment) components the subscriber needs to install to determine the difficulty of the installation. A SIK may not be the best option if a consumer needs to install 3 set-top boxes and a gaming console, for example. This installation could require additional equipment like splitters and cable. This could be too complicated and allow for a higher probability of improperly-installed connectors. In instances like this, it would be more cost efficient to send a technician to do the installation right, rather than sending an SIK initially, then scheduling the truck roll at a later date anyway.
In our opinion, subscriber self-installs are beneficial to both service providers and broadband subscribers because they can help reduce costs, can be installed at a subscriber’s convenience and can include pieces that make the installation fool-proof. While SIKs are great in most cases, there are some instances when a technician is needed for an installation, such as when a consumer has several pieces of CPE or if the subscriber is not comfortable with an SIK.