According with Tom Raftery, It’s hard to overstate the value of delivering an excellent customer experience. For many customers, a huge majority of the buying experience is based on how they feel they are being treated. Some would even pay more for a better customer experience. Considering the proven value of loyal customers and the high cost of acquiring new ones, it only makes sense to keep them happy. The Internet of Things (IoT) can help.
With hundreds of millions of interconnected devices, appliances, wearable technologies, processes, and systems, the IoT offers the opportunity to tap into new data sources and glean new insights. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, the chance to use these nuggets to improve the customer experience can be a real differentiator.
Innovate Using IoT Insights
IoT-based insights can help you communicate more effectively with customers, better understand their needs or desires, and make personalized offers that quell frustration and reward loyalty. Logistics companies can use sensor data to notify customers when a package will arrive. Contextual information – such as how consumers click through a Web site or walk through a store – can tell retailers what attracts and repels potential buyers. And many hospitality and entertainment firms use wearable technologies such as wristbands to monitor waiting times and offer discounts to related activities. But as IoT data becomes more varied and widely available, winning enterprises will take these basic applications to the next level. Coupons issued by pharmacies and grocery stores are common in most parts of the world. But what if a business collected data from a consumer’s smart device or wearable and used it to respond to an urgent medical issue?
Rapid insight and response can also provide opportunities to improve the overall customer journey. Imagine an airline that recognizes a flight delay and instantly offers frustrated travelers free Wi-Fi service on the flight itself. Or a coffee shop at the train station that texts nearby commuters with an offer to prepare their favorite beverage. By proactively reaching out to people in a personalized way, organizations can demonstrate how much they value their customers.
But how can businesses make this a reality? Devices that have long been connected to the internet, such as computers, printers and mobile handsets, have benefited from remote repair and servicing for several years. Translating this across to less complex connected items needs a similar approach, based upon the three principles of: reliability; scalability; and security.
- Reliability – the item or device needs to be continuously connected to the internet as any break in uptime could lead to faults being missed.
- Scalability – the manufacturer needs to ensure they have, or can have access to, the infrastructure that will grow alongside their sales. This requires a network that can go from 1 to 100,000 or more connections remotely overnight. Only then will there be certainty that all devices can be monitored as soon as the customer is using them.
- Security – the IoT relies upon large quantities of data being transmitted and stored between devices and the servers of manufacturers or service providers. Therefore, it is paramount to have end-to-end security and effective data protection policies in place. This includes using TLS and SSL for communications channels, and implementing API keys to ensure only authorized people can access information.
To fully take advantage of the IoT, businesses need tools that allow them to consistently and safely pre-empt device issues. Only then will they be able to have a truly proactive customer service model and all of the benefits it brings.