One of the unique new challenges that the Internet of Things (IoT) presents to service providers is its integration with customer experience. IoT devices are becoming an important part of the customer experience because they introduce voice control, facial recognition, biometric security and other new forms of customer interaction. As a result, IoT devices should help create the next generation of customer experience.
The IoT can help service providers deliver an optimized customer experience with the five capabilities highlighted below:
The digital era has substantially raised expectations for visible and on-time delivery of both digital and physical goods. The IoT’s presence in the supply chain, sometimes coupled with augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), is already a critical means of streamlining logistical processes and ensuring highly visible, precisely predicted and communicated delivery information.
Native and partner retail stores continue to provide productive channels for service providers. The IoT plays a near-term role in making clicks-to-bricks transactions more seamless and self-service oriented. A good example is when a customer places an order online via a mobile device, receives a QR confirmation code, then scans the code at a store to pick up a new, activated mobile device.
The IoT plays a long-term role in creating immersive, personalized retail experiences that bring the convenience and responsiveness of digital self-service to physical environments. This may involve providing AR, facial recognition and remote product demonstrations via voice command. AI would help utilize these IoT components to facilitate an adaptive experience for each customer.
Voice-controlled digital assistants are already becoming automated retail agents; they can build shopping carts with simple voice commands. It seems logical that voice control and direct communication with a customer’s personal digital assistant will become capabilities that consumers will come to expect in the near future.
One of the immediate downsides of the IoT is that it poses a large set of questions and potential support issues. The IoT product catalog is likely to become expansive, diverse and exposed to an increasing pace of innovation. To create an effective, digital customer support experience in this environment will likely require AI-powered self-service portals that benefit from machine learning, making it easy for customers to find answers through ready-access to partner product experts.
The IoT opportunity is a digital one and requires a modern approach. Because IoT devices tend to operate in data collection and customer-input roles, they create a rapid feedback loop where the data they generate helps the improve device usability or associated processes and outputs. Agile and DevOps methodologies are designed to facilitate this sort of data-driven, incremental approach to solution improvement and are likely to be key parts of any IoT initiative’s success.
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