How IoT is Changing Customer Relationships

Date : 6-13-2018

IoT Impact on Customer Support

The rise of IoT in costumer service can either build opportunities or be slightly challenging.

Voice assistants gave many people their first taste of the Internet of Things (IoT). They can order a pizza, a taxi, or a new paperback with easy voice commands.

Such simplicity affects the way we interact with our favorite brands. It’s predicted that 50% of internet searches will come via voice by 2020. This voice interaction affects the user experience (UX) between the user and the brand.

However, according to Gartner, 89% of brands will use customer experience (CX) as a marketing factor. IoT devices are well-placed to enjoy this focus on CX. Users interact with them in a different way.

Let’s look at how the IoT is changing customer relationships.

Companies are Using Data to Improve the Customer Experience

Pre-IoT, companies spent time gathering data about how customers used their products. Companies now have ready access to information by combining sensors and Big Data. That gives them more time to use it instead of collecting it. Which leads to better solutions delivered faster to customers.

One use of data from IoT applications helps improve experiences in the real world. With connected devices, companies interact with customers using beacons. Customers get smartphone alerts about special offers on favorite brands in nearby stores.

Data from IoT Solutions Can Improve Customer Support

The brand’s customer relationship extends beyond the point of sale. At the bare minimum, IoT devices can connect directly to support teams. Roomba owners know customer service will access their vacuum’s data if they need to call them. Manufacturers can predict problems and contact the customer to offer a solution.

Carbon, Inc. makes 3D printers and swears by preventative support, rather than reactive. Their service team tracks data from the printers. This lets Carbon provide what Heather Miksch calls “predictive service.” The company mantra is “customers love us and our products.” For Carbon, asking for a product serial number offers no added value to the customer. Instead, their connected printer contacts Carbon before the customer has to call. They’ve shifted their focus to predictive service rather than response time. That means they “see problems before they actually happen.” So there is no unplanned downtime in production. Miksch sums it up by saying “we’re gathering the data, now let’s do something useful with it.”

Using Data to Improve Products

As Miksch says, it’s up to companies to use the data they gather. Tracking data from IoT devices lets companies change what they offer. It guides future product or service updates. IoT companies can fix current problems while anticipating their customers’ future needs.

Companies don’t need to rely on customer surveys that might not be accurate. Brands can access data about the product and how it’s used. They can even phase out product features that no one uses based on the data.

Some IoT devices aim to smooth the customer experience by removing parts of the process. Your smart refrigerator notices you’re running low on your favorite products. It adds them to your smart shopping list, so you buy them when you run to the store. Other models connect to services like Amazon Dash and order them for you.

This automatic ordering is helpful for office supplies. But not all customers want to hand such control to their IoT applications. It’s important to meet customer needs without taking them out of the equation. But it’s also useful to see the possibilities for smart home automation.

So enjoy using your devices with your smartphone, using a tool like the SURE Universal Remote app. And now the data they collect will benefit you and your loved ones.

Over to you – how do you think IoT will change the way you relate to companies?

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