The Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer a cool buzz word; it's ingrained in our everyday life.
We use connected devices to track health stats or manage our home energy usage. Vehicles can now alert us to potential problems, and common household items prompt us about upcoming maintenance. It's estimated that by 2025 there will be 30.9 billion IoT active connected devices worldwide, producing 79 zettabytes of data.
So how can brands apply the data and insight provided by IoT devices to deliver better customer service interactions?
The benefits of IoT for today's businesses
When implemented the right way, IoT can help resolve and even proactively prevent many customer service issues. Companies can use it to create new value-added service offerings, such as remote diagnostics, preventative maintenance, or automatic resolution. Brands can help customers self-solve or even address an issue by communicating directly with the device, reducing their own costs and increasing efficiency in the process.
It’s a very appealing premise. What business wouldn’t welcome less customer returns, fewer truck rollouts, and the ability to offer an overall better customer experience?
How it works
A connected IoT device transmits telemetry data, which is then used to gain insight into its condition and other aspects of its operation. As data is captured and processed in real time, for example, from an industrial HVAC unit, assembly line sensors, or an automobile’s engine, the system can begin to detect anomalies or other performance indicators that may require attention. Once an alert is raised, the system uses the data to analyze the state of the device and determine the next step to take.
Engaging the right resources at the right time is absolutely key for a fast, successful customer service resolution, and these connected devices open up even more options for reaching customers the right way. The best plan of action might involve a service agent sending a knowledge article to the customer on how to quickly install a replacement part. Or you may be able to remove the customer from the equation entirely by bi-directionally communicating with the device to alter its configuration settings or completely reset it.
It’s all how you design and configure your system. But no matter the plan, should these new self-service or remote access assisted options fail to resolve the issue, a field service employee can be dispatched to address it on-site.
Introducing the IoT channel
When an IoT-enabled device raises an incident, Oracle Service treats it as a new customer service channel—an IoT channel. The telemetry data from the machine helps proactively create a service incident without the need for human interaction. In many cases, the device owner isn’t even aware there’s an issue.
You can choose how to incorporate these interactions into call center operations by following our six-step IoT-enabled time-to-value approach.
Step 1: Registration
Create incentives for customers to register and help you get to know them better.
Step 2: Increased visibility
Use data-driven insight during inbound engagement to reduce customer frustration.
Step 3: Enriched self-help
Empower customers with self-service tools to enable analysis, discovery, and resolution.
Step 4: Automatic engagement
Use device interactions to proactively offer notifications, education, and assistance.
Step 5: Automated self-solve
Align automatic service responses with users' defined needs for a personalized auto-fix.
Step 6: Prevention
Monitor data and drive preventative engagement to avoid product or service failures.
Each value step presents new ways to respond to an IoT interaction. In forthcoming blogs, I’ll break down each approach with examples of how your business can incorporate an IoT channel into your customer service experience. You can easily accommodate the changes needed to embrace the world of IoT and make IoT data actionable and accessible within your customer service organization.