It’s a big day for Jane. Her dream project gets underway today and she can’t wait to get to office. A major roadblock, however, forces her out of her reverie. Her car refuses to start after repeated attempts. If only Jane knew sooner that her car battery was failing at a rapid pace, she could have avoided the hindrance and could have been in office with all her energy and optimism intact. What Jane experienced could have been avoided with a ‘Connected Car’.
A connected car can not only tap into the internet for access to navigation and cloud-based music, but also share alerts on issues like fuel replenishment, battery power reduction etc. With Internet of Things (IoT), the car can be monitored and warnings can be provided beforehand to avoid any runtime failure. Customer experience benefits for an IoT-powered car can mean not getting stranded in the middle of nowhere. If warnings are missed, the contact center, which has the predicted information, can call the customer proactively to ensure that the required changes are implemented. Thus, the car company can go an extra mile to assure delivery of exemplary customer service.
The benefits of IoT in delivering amplified customer experience is exciting and intriguing. From enabling personalized content and customized offers, omni-channel customer support, and proactive customer interactions, to enabling self-service, the possibilities of IoT are endless.
This story of amalgamated interests can extend to a lot more than the example mentioned above. Take for instance the boundary-less possibilities at home. Imagine a gas leakage alarm which sets off and notifies the contact center agent about it who in turn calls the customer to alert or to seek approval to power the gas button off using his computer. In a myriad of contexts such as these, IoT can be lifesaving.
Redefining customer experience with IoT
Human-machine synergy is increasingly being governed by intelligent interaction with exchange of enormous amount of data. For the business world, where the need of the moment is customer centricity, companies are constantly looking for ways to deliver seamless and memorable experience to the customer. Superior customer experience built on IoT-enabled solutions can enhance the predictive capability of customer issues and enable proactive reach out to customers to resolve issues even before they have occurred. As per research firms, there are already over 5 billion IoT devices in use worldwide and this number is expected to grow ten-fold in the next 3 years. Most businesses that have invested in IoT have already seen positive returns on their investments.
The implication of IoT-enabled solutions is predicted to be massive for contact centers. For starters, the amount of data that will now flow into contact centers will increase multi-fold, because of the manner in which the IoT ecosystem works. In addition, there is also going to be a massive change in customers' expectations, because from their perspective, everything in the IoT ecosystem is automated and instantaneous - including customer support. The key, however, is to exceed these expectations and go beyond just 'instantaneous'. A customer needs to get what he wants, even without asking for it.
What this means is, the increasing adoption of IoT is actually bringing about a drastic shift in the way contact centers function – it is making them proactive, rather than being reactive. IoT-enabled devices can self-diagnose problems and alert support centers before the customer calls in. This will trigger an outbound call alerting the customer about an issue he is likely to face. In some cases, support teams can even go ahead and fix issues for the customer, even before the customer takes cognizance of the issue.
Let us visualize Jane’s car which is now running smoothly, and let us assume her car is now a connected car, which has the ability to relay its data back to the contact center. This means that her support team now has a constant stream of data flowing to them, and they monitor and alert Jane whenever her vehicle needs attention. Jane will never have to face a day like the other. This is customer experience - unparalleled.
Connecting with the connected consumer
IoT is at the front-end of things, and to ensure that this technology is leveraged optimally, there is an imminent need for next-gen technology for back-end functions like support as well. The current requisites are platforms that can capture the data that IoT will deliver from various sources and draw analytical conclusions to help understand the customer better. These platforms can present the insights from the data to the contact center agent in a single view that can be understandable and actionable and depict a 360 degree view of the customer. In addition, technologies with predictive capabilities that provide personalized 'next-best action' prompts to resolve customer issues, will play a major role in this paradigm shift of customer experience.
Delivering customer experience using IoT data can drastically transform the way customers interact with contact centers. Customer support, as we know it, can become completely proactive from the organization’s side. Contact centers would need to evolve and match the accelerated rate of expansion of IoT to deliver to the expectations of the connected customer.