An IoT ready support automation platform can help businesses future proof their customer support process.
You receive an alert on your smartphone for your next car service. An alert that is generated by your car, based on information aboutyour last oil change and the kilometers covered since the last service. With the Internet of Things (IoT), this is entirely possible, and in the near future. The Connected Car Forum (CCF) predicts that more than 50 per cent of vehicles sold worldwide in 2015 will be connected either by embedded, tethered or smartphone integration.
Similar predictions exist about homes, offices and entire cities. IoT is changing the way that individuals interact with physical devices but there is plenty room for improvement – especially in the area of support. While businesses are busy charting strategies that ride on the growth of smart devices, one area that seems to be getting ignored – is the complexity that the billions of connected devices could create, and the challenge this will create in terms of managing the customer experience. Connections in the IoT ecosystem generally stop at device to user utility, missing out on the broader opportunities to deliver a better customer experience with centralised, automated customer service.
According to Gartner the Internet of Things will include as many as 26 billion units by 2020 offering unprecedented levels of access and visibility. But without a platform that unifies them, organisations could buckle under the complexities of managing and deciphering the data that these devices will create. Also, the lack of an adequate support infrastructure could make the experience worse for end users, than it is today.
An IoT ready support automation platform that is integrated into an enterprise’s IT infrastructure allows centralisation of data and its effective mining to generate customer insights, but more importantly it drives improvement in the customer experience through automated customer service based on that data analysis, and the intelligence built into the system to trigger appropriate actions. It also allows the device to interact with the support layer directly, enabling preemptive issue resolution. Basically, your smart car can place an order for an oil change itself, before it becomes an issue. This automated, pre-emptive action can lower support costs and improve the customer experience.
Here’s how the platform works. The platform allow companies to log all expected ‘event reports’ related to their product, and once done add an intelligence layer which enables the automatic handling of millions of such incoming events. For instance, let’s take a shoe company that fits its shoes with an IoT device to track how buyers are using its product. An administrator lists all the ‘event reports’ that are expected to come in regularly, and once this is set up, the users of that particular model then transmit data regarding the listed ‘events’ back into the platform.The Big Data collected is analysed on demand, allowing product owners to understand usage related issues better. The platform is also trained to send automatic alerts to congratulate shoe owners on completing fitness goals, or to remind them when it’s time to change their shoe. Or, if there is a complete breakdown, it places a new order for the same shoe at a discounted rate to create customer delight.This kind of integration with CRM systems is very real and can be done today.
IoT creates new opportunities for not just delivering an Internet enabled device, but a whole new range of services around customer support, and as we move towards an IoT world, organisations will have to implement such platforms to prepare their enterprise IT architecture for the future. An end-to-end platform that delivers synchronised customer intelligence, helping companies understand customer usage, and preferences better, and predicting what the customer wants before she even realises it, will provide new opportunities for cross-sell and up-sell, not to mention a chance to forge better customer relationships and reduce churn.
An IoT ready support automation platform can help businesses future proof their customer support process, and improve the customer experience.The technology options are available, enterprises just need to think ahead.