I was recently honored to be one of the thought leaders interviewed for SAP’s “Focusing Forward with IOT” report. Along with the other technology leaders included in the study, I believe the Internet of Things (IoT) holds huge potential for society, especially when it comes to customer experience (CX).
The fact that the IoT can help businesses gain so much information about their customers is incredibly exciting to me. But how they begin to use that information to transform the customer journey is where the real power of the IoT lies.
If you’ve shopped anywhere, or purchased anything, in the past few weeks, you know there is still much room for improvement in the CX sphere. Most companies right now are somewhere in the middle of their digital transformation—starting to implement chat bots, trying out smart beacons, creating apps to fit their customers’ mobile lifestyles. I’m not going to lie: CX is a bit messy at the moment. As we try to create omni-channel experiences in the midst of change, it’s going to be. But I have all faith that things will settle down for the better in the next few years, and that’s where the IoT comes in.
The IoT is the strongest tool we have to bring coherence to our omni-channel CX strategies. For one, it has the power to show us what customers really want, when, and how they want it. Second, it holds tremendous potential for engaging customers 24/7—where they work, live, eat, and move. There has never been a more exciting time to work on creating a powerful and consistent CX. The following are a few ways the IoT can help you build an airtight customer journey.
Reach Your Customer Intelligently 24/7
It used to be that the biggest incentive we could offer customers was an emailed birthday coupon, or a discount off their next visit or purchase. All of that has changed with the IoT. The technology can keep you connected to your customers 24/7, be it via mobile coupons, text alerts, or invitations and incentives specifically sent when a customer is near your location. Even better, you can personalize these notifications with their favorite dish or product, based on their IoT-connected ordering history. One expert in SAP’s IoT report gave the example of a coffee shop texting a customer, “Shall we have your usual waiting for you?” as soon as they step off a nearby train. Mind-blowing, right? Even better: all of it is done automatically, saving you tons of time and energy.
You Can Make Life Easier
Just as technology is speeding up the transmission of information and data, it’s also speeding up the pace of our lives. Customers today have tons of information flying at them every minute—on their phones, TVs, tablets, and one another. IoT can help you bring calm to the storm by offering a helping hand to your customers when they need it. You can instantly message reminders about items that need replaced or restocked, maintenance that needs to be performed, or any number of odds and ends that could easily be forgotten—or sourced to a different provider—without your smart and proactive outreach.
You Can Improve Your Products
The IoT can help you gain instant insights about how your customers are using—or not using—your products so you can improve them proactively, or gather insights for future upgrades. Even better, you can get this information in real-time, allowing you to fix issues more quickly and prevent customer mutiny.
You Can Keep Them Safe
The IoT isn’t just about smart, targeted marketing. It also holds tremendous potential to keep your customers safe. For instance, by connecting a patient’s phone with their insulin monitor, both patient and doctor can be automatically notified when the patient’s blood sugar becomes too low. The same could be said for blood pressure levels, or even missed dialysis appointments that could put the patient’s life in jeopardy. The IoT can work for wellness, just as it works wonders for big business. The potential is unlimited.
Perhaps the best part about the IoT is that you get to understand your customers. And the more you understand them—and the more consistently you serve them—the more loyal they will be. Now that’s a reason to get excited about the IoT.
Additional Resources on This Topic:
Machine Learning Can Give Us Greater Customer Insights
The State of IoT Management
IoT and AI: Improving Customer Satisfaction
This article was first published on Forbes.