Thanks to the internet, just about everyone – and everything – is connected.
Not only is it easier and faster than ever to communicate with people and businesses all over the world, but the Internet of Things (IoT) makes it possible for smart devices to join in the conversations, too.
IoT is rapidly expanding, introducing new products all the time that can communicate with each other and transmit data to support teams. In fact, ABI research estimates that IoT will grow to include 30 billion connected devices by the year 2020.
As more products evolve into smart versions of their former selves, so, too, will the way businesses provide customer support. Smart customer service means recognizing and harnessing the potential of IoT devices – both to improve customer experiences in general and to deliver seamless support when things go wrong.
Let’s take a look at how IoT devices are already impacting and improving customer support.
One of the biggest impacts of IoT devices for customer service teams is an increased access to user data. Connected devices frequently collect and share data about how products are being used.
Although businesses already have access to tons of customer data, the expansion of IoT means more information is available from more sources than ever before. This gives customer service teams more data points that can be used to monitor how customers interact with their products and solutions.
Furthermore, the data collected from IoT devices is taken directly from the source, which makes it more reliable than information collected manually. For instance, rather than asking customers to complete a survey to learn about their experiences, businesses can simply refer to the data transmitted from IoT devices and products.
As companies learn more about how customers use their devices, they can use that information to feed into personalized service and support. And the more data businesses collect via IoT devices, the easier it is for businesses to understand and refine customer experiences.
By combining traditional analytics and omnichannel customer support with data from connected devices, support teams can gain a deeper understanding of every aspect of the customer experience. This enables support agents to provide hyper-targeted support based on real-time data at all points of the customer journey.
Maybe that’s why 70% of enterprises are already using data collected via IoT to improve CX? IoT allows customer service teams to create custom experiences, suggestions, and messaging based on a customer’s unique needs, preferences, and history of interactions.
One simple example is providing different options to customers based on their location. For instance, businesses can recognize customer location thanks to data shared from mobile apps, which allows them to tailor promotions and experiences when a customer enters a store, travels to a new city, or visits a specific site, attraction, or venue.
Technology monitoring and IoT remove the burden of reporting support issues from the shoulders of customers. Thanks to IoT, devices can speak for themselves when it comes to reporting errors and support issues.
When ‘things’ learn to reliably request support for themselves, customers don’t have to lift a finger. In fact, the end-user might not even notice the support issue before customer service pushes an update to fix the problem.
Whether it’s a drone in need of a software update, a printer low on ink, or a coffee machine that needs a top up on beans, devices can contact support teams directly – and support teams can interface directly with products in consumers’ homes.
A seamless repair process is a cornerstone of proactive support – and IoT makes it easier for support teams to deliver solutions that require little to no effort on the part of the customer.
Since smart devices can communicate directly to support teams when there’s an issue, IoT can reduce the amount of customer involvement in reporting and resolving issues. This opens up new opportunities for proactive support and real-time resolutions.
From preventative maintenance to software updates to bug fixes, IoT devices are less likely to experience a severe service failure because solutions can be pushed directly to the product. In many cases, a customer might not even notice or realize before the solution is implemented.
Part of creating the perfect customer experience is getting the product right. Because of the data collected and transmitted by IoT products, connected devices can help businesses improve their products, UX, and support operations.
Data from IoT can also be used to drive product decisions. This reduces the need for customer involvement and feedback in creating the best products and solutions possible.
Companies can develop better products based on the data received about how their customers use devices, what they struggle with, and which features are most popular.
Not only does IoT make it easier to find out what customers want, but it also allows businesses to ship the latest updates directly to the device. For instance, a new software release can be sent to a smart device automatically, which means customers will always get the latest version and newest features.
Customer loyalty can’t be bought – but it is something you can earn through exceptional user experiences. The more you know about how customers are using your devices, the more likely you are to come up with new ways to optimize their experience.
Considering that 3 out of 5 consumers will switch brands for a better customer experience, it seems clear that loyalty is directly impacted by support quality and consistency. Customer service plays an increasingly vital role in how likely customers are to remain loyal to one brand, store, or service provider.
IoT is revolutionizing traditional customer support. By providing access to accurate customer data, IoT devices allow support teams to understand how real people are using their products and deliver personalized support solutions based on that knowledge.
The best way to prepare for the continued expansion of IoT devices is to set up your customer service team for success today.
Getting ahead in a world of connected devices requires integrating IoT support into your current customer service operations. If you can successfully integrate your support services with the devices and products in your customer's homes, you can build a competitive advantage right into your customer support model.
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