By Adam Wilkinson
The internet of things (IoT) is nothing new, in fact it dates back to the early 1980s, but the recent growth in the number and variety of smart devices has made it a household phrase.
It is also a household reality, with consumer devices like central heating systems and appliances including fridges, washing machines and ovens all connecting to the internet.
This expansion brings with it huge possibilities for CRM providers, who should be considering how connected devices might give them the opportunity to enhance their service and offering.
Here are some of the ways we can see IoT transforming customer service in the near future.
Customer service will be proactive
There are predictions that, within the next few years, up to 5 per cent of customer service interactions will be autonomously initiated by connected devices.
This means contact centres will be aware of issues with connected devices and systems before the customer in many cases, and will therefore be able to deliver proactive rather than reactive customer service.
This could range from simple things like reordering refillable items such as printer ink, to ordering replacements for parts that have broken to offering to repair major malfunctions.
In all of these cases the contact centre will have the opportunity to offer a great customer service experience and improve customer loyalty.
Customer service will be smarter
For many customer service providers, the main benefit of IoT will be the vast amount of customer data it will allow them to collect as connected devices regularly gather and transmit information.
This will provide a valuable insight into customer behaviour and trends that providers can capitalise on.
Using this information intelligently will allow providers to reach their customers more efficiently and effectively, letting them know about tailored offers and promotions, for example.
This will improve the customer experience and, ultimately, their satisfaction.
Agents will become more specialised
Despite the increased automation there will still be a requirement in the process for customer service agents.
And while there may be fewer agents in total (because there will be fewer customer interactions), those agents will be more highly trained and specialised.
When they engage with customers they will already know about the issue they are being contacted about and have the knowledge needed to deal with it.
Many of these opportunities are available to us already thanks to Oracle Service Cloud.
For example we can use Service Cloud’s product registration functionality to track non-direct sales of products and better segment these customers into upsell or cross sell campaigns.
If registering customers provide their social credentials we could also start to identify brand advocates via the likes of Oracle’s Social Relationship Management platform.