Gartner estimates that as many as 20.4 billion IoT devices will be deployed by 2020. Everything we touch is becoming more connected and customizable, with the goal of making business operations more intelligent and real time. And the opportunity across industries is huge — from smart homes and energy to healthcare and retail, every customer service company has a stake in the IoT game.
Yet, the proliferation of connected devices and new technologies, including machine learning and IoT, is creating new customer demands and challenges. This is especially true in the realm of customer experience, a key success metric across all industries. Today’s modern consumer expects personalized, omnichannel experiences when interacting with brands — and most of all, they demand quick response times. However, despite this fact, today’s companies are slow to adopt this new technology and thus are still delivering impersonal experiences, irrelevant information and long wait times. This begs the question: How can companies use IoT for a smarter customer experience that gives consumers what they are so badly craving?
Don’t be afraid to integrate technology — and fast
Machine-to-people interactions and IoT might be the double-edged sword of customer experience. On one hand, it has the potential to provide more personalized customer experience, but if done poorly, it could be the catalyst for negative brand perceptions. That said, don’t be afraid to use IoT for all the goodness it offers, as it supports the positive experiences and personalized interactions that consumer want.
Find the balance
In order to reap the benefits of IoT, your company needs to find the balance between technology and human interaction in your communications with customers. To do so, you must first automate where you can and then determine which interactions truly deserve a human element for improved customer experience. This might seem like a daunting process, but once you categorize these touch points by those general interactions that are easy to automate and the more technical interactions that require a higher level of education and a human touch, it becomes digestible.
Deliver proactive customer experience
Historically, self-service was very rapid. Customers came in or chatted with a company, but the whole benefit of IoT is that you’re tapping customer use and behavior to deliver a proactive customer experience. The end goal when using IoT for this is to deliver the information that customers need before they even know they need it. If internet providers, for example, have a way to send customers notifications on their device usage and automatically send payment reminders, they are delivering this kind of proactive experience enabled by IoT. Automation in this instance truly uses the machine learning aspect of IoT and, ultimately, better services your customers.
Overall, organizations need to look to IoT to improve customer experience — this technology will foster a competitive advantage and help build brand loyalty. With IoT, brands can deliver personalized, omnichannel interactions that up-level customers’ experience tenfold. If you haven’t already, consider integrating IoT into your customer experience — but be sure to find the right balance between using the technology and adding a human touch.
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