The Internet of Things (IoT) is likely to change the way business is managed by companies today. As billions of ‘things’ get connected- the complex interplay of technology and devices will make it difficult for the companies to live upto the service expectations of the consumers. But IoT can also help businesses transform the customer service experience through a proactive approach and data driven insights, says Inder Mohan Singh, VP-Software Engineering, iYogi, which leverages the IoT to monitor and manage customers deployments. The important thing is that companies need to use IoT intelligently, and create the service support experience that balances technology with people. Excerpts:
CIOL: What is IoT enabled customer service and how does it work?
Inder Mohan Singh: IoT enabled customer service is one where the devices themselves help manage the customer service process. The key difference between customer service in an IoT world and the traditional model is the level of proactivity it enables, allowing companies to anticipate and address customer concerns exactly at the point of need, or even before the need arises.
While traditional customer service models are more reactive in nature, and dependent on the customer requirements. In an IoT driven customer service model, the big data collected while independent devices, or constellations are in use, is analyzed and the intelligence that is derived, guides the creation of automated support services.
Product companies or service providers can tell exactly what creates the most trouble, what causes these issues, and when malfunctions are likely to happen – based on which companies can develop a proactive service model which impacts customer satisfaction levels immensely. There’s enough research available which proves that high service satisfaction levels are directly linked to repeat business from the same customer. To make this happen however, an IoT ready support automation platform is essential.
CIOL: What is the scope of adoption for IoT enabled customer service in countries like India, where businesses tend to rely more on human intervention?
IS: The one reason people value human intervention is that it can be more personalized. The problem however, is that there is a limit to how much people can be expected to do and deliver – especially since the level of complexity in our lives is increasing. An individual cannot be expected to be available 24X7, or have all the answers that are needed, and this impacts the customer experience negatively.
Globally, and in India, we are now reaching a level of consumer maturity, where as long as the support service remains personalized, is available to them when they need it, and addresses their problems, people don’t care who offers that support, or how they receive that support.
CIOL: What are the different application areas for IoT enabled service and the benefits incurred?
Internet of Things enabled services can impact every area of a business. From product design and production, and from marketing and sales to after sales support – it provides businesses with a never seen opportunity radically transform different processes.
Also, the service does not necessarily stop when the customer leaves the shop. For products that need maintenance or after-sales service, the IoT can make the effort more efficient. For example, OEMs when they should visit their customers for preventive maintenance, as well as what action will be needed before it the system fails. It’s all based on the analysis of sensor data gathered from the engine via the IoT. Analysis of all that data can also help in the design of product improvements.
CIOL: Could you please tell us how does your solution help enterprises meet the customer services needs?
IS: iYogi’s Digital Service Cloud is a unified IoT based customer management platform, which intelligently monitors, services and manages heterogeneous devices, enabling service providers to manage large-scale customer service deployments and redefine end-user experiences. It can transform service delivery, enhance the customer experience, and generate new revenues through support automation.
Enterprises building IoT devices can use Digital Service Cloud, so that each of the embedded sensors can send data directly to the platform. With this, device manufactures can stay focused on designing and enhancing the core sensor capabilities instead of focusing on the data generated and analytics. With Digital Service Cloud capturing all the sensor information, it can also be used to create rules on top of the sensor events. So an email can be sent to a customer when it is time to service an AC or an automatic support ticket can be generated if the refrigerator compressor malfunctions.
Moreover, analytics and trends are offered directly through Digital Service Cloud on the basis of all the data that sensors transmit across the entire customer base. Based on that information, they can direct R&D efforts towards extending and enhancing product features.
Additionally, Digital Service Cloud also provides apps to end customers to see usage information of their devices. These apps are platform agnostic and can be run on Android, iOS, Mac or Windows to showcase usage trends and give hints to the consumer on how to best utilize a specific feature. Customer service teams of device manufacturers can also use the platform to see the usage trends and offer support to users in a better way.