The best customer experiences are smooth and relevant. Technology often underpins these experiences. Cloud-based technologies connect the channels that make up a customer journey to create cohesion; AI enables predictive, productive and personalized interactions.
For some organizations, whether B2B or B2C, integrating IoT technologies can also be a powerful way to differentiate and simplify the customer experience (CX). Currently, only a quarter of CX leaders say their organizations have implemented IoT capabilities for CX. An additional third have developments underway, according to a recent Genesys report titled “The State of Customer Experience.” Companies that take their customer experience-focused IoT projects out of the planning phase and out of the actual customer experience could gain a competitive advantage.
Organizations can deliver IoT-enabled CX in countless areas: remote monitoring (from manufacturing equipment to patient health), voice assistance, and smart home devices; smart energy management in commercial and residential premises; connected vehicles and smart parking; mobile apps and smart fitness devices. The list continues.
IoT-based customer experience in business applications is becoming more mainstream. For example, the global IoT market in manufacturing alone was valued at around $32 billion in 2020; it is expected to reach nearly $71 billion by 2028. Many organizations use sensors, devices, and other technologies that independently communicate with a company’s support operations. From manufacturing plants to smart retailers, companies are using IoT systems to self-diagnose, request parts or repairs, and provide maintenance and usage data that suppliers can then use to plan upgrades. related and other service needs, and provide proactive support.
The IoT has also taken hold in consumer products. Industry estimates valued the consumer IoT market at around $44 billion in 2020, and forecast it to reach nearly $154 billion in 2028. Consumers appreciate the ease, connectivity and proactive service it offers.
Thirty percent of consumers surveyed in the Customer Experience Survey said they were “completely comfortable” with businesses using IoT devices to provide proactive customer service, up from 20% in 2017. And they are happy with the experience. For example, although only 12% of consumers globally have used a virtual home assistant from providers like Amazon and Google to interact with customer service, almost half were “extremely satisfied”. This is a significantly higher percentage than those who are extremely satisfied with service interactions over the phone. As consumers and businesses adapt and appreciate these types of interactions, there is a clear opportunity to deliver a superior customer experience.
One of the key benefits of IoT-enabled customer experience is differentiation through proactive service. Instead of just selling a home thermostat, for example, a smart home provider also sells the service to optimize and maintain it. As the system learns its user’s preferences, it becomes easier to use. In addition, its self-diagnostics simplify service, enabling proactive intervention or remote repair and significantly reducing the number of service interactions across its entire customer base.
Likewise, some smart speakers aren’t intended for use in high humidity environments, so they include sensors that monitor the environment for humidity and self-diagnose issues. When a customer uses the speakers in a bathroom, for example, it triggers proactive awareness to let the customer know that the humidity level is too high for the speaker and suggest they move it out of the room. room. This self-management of the device avoids a service call or a complaint, and possibly a product return. This proactive service is also a “surprise and delight” CX moment that can improve brand affinity and customer loyalty.
The data these IoT devices provide to the vendor creates a virtuous cycle of better products and services, and smoother, more proactive customer service and support. With over 30 billion connected devices, each generating dozens of pieces of data, the potential for actionable insights is limitless.
Companies can use this information to improve customer journeys or reinvent experiences. IoT devices transmit data to analytics tools which process the information and send it to data monitoring applications. CX managers can then use the insights they uncover to inform and improve strategic and tactical decision-making, optimize processes, adjust customer journeys, and more. They can use predictive analytics to uncover and fix small issues before they become big ones, and to further personalize the customer experience.
Another advantage is the lower cost of service. When a device automatically communicates a problem to a vendor’s support team, that’s one less phone call from a customer to the contact center. In some cases, engineers can resolve issues remotely, saving the cost of truck trips, callbacks, and many other direct costs.
There is also the advantage for the top line. Why just sell a one-time purchase in-ground pool when you can also provide IoT devices that remotely monitor pool parameters and provide diagnostics, and earn a recurring revenue stream for ongoing maintenance? Using IoT in this scenario would ensure superior and differentiated CX that would not only retain a customer whose pool owner experience is vastly improved, but could also result in referrals, another top potential benefit. .
Dive, with caution
The benefits of IoT-enabled customer experience don’t come without some challenges to get started. There are a myriad of device types and various systems that lack standards; there are huge data streams as well as security and privacy requirements that you need to manage. And you need to be sure you’re choosing the right technology to support that diversity and data with agility, scalability, and simple edge connectivity.
But if IoT is right for your business, the long-term benefits of improved CX, lower cost of service, and revenue growth are well worth the effort. Take the first step and write your IoT strategy now while you still have time to implement IoT in your customer experience. And use it to differentiate your brand and create a competitive advantage.