The Internet of Things

Will a more direct sales cycle between the customer and service or product impact the way we need to provide customer support?

The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is a term you may have heard mentioned a lot recently, concerning the next generation of digital and advanced technologies. Simply explained it’s where physical objects or ‘things’ are embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity, to collect data that can then be shared between devices, the manufacturer and the user, to improve performance and service.

The most obvious exshutterstock_231456817ample of this is cars with built in sensors that inform the manufacturer or dealer when servicing is required or when things need replacing. The functionality of IoT has become almost ubiquitous and increasingly we expect our devices and products to offer a level of ‘intelligence’ that informs us when things go wrong or need attention. Wearable Tech is one of the more recent incarnations of the technology that enables users to track and monitor a multitude of activity via a product worn on the body.

With the growth of products or ‘things’ performing a level of automated customer service and self-support in situ, will there be an impact on customer service and the role played by human operatives?

A recent report by Gartner Research stated that in 2014 60% of customer service interactions neededshutterstock_164604434 human intervention but forecast that by the end of 2016 this will reduce to 30% due to self-service, online communities and device-managed interaction. Gartner also highlighted however, that even though automation and intelligence agents are reducing the number of interactions that humans need to solve, most industries would still have to retain a well-trained core of human agents.

The gathering and analysis of data based on customer activity and interaction via digital tech is crucial to understanding markets and behaviour, helping to inform best practice and improve service and support efficiency. But we believe there will still always be a need for human observation, analysis, judgement and engagement with the customer that technology cannot replicate.

So, when the car next tells you that it needs a service, even though you know you’ve just had one, it’s still reassuring to know that you can call and speak to someone who can explain why and offer reasons and resolutions.

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