The Internet of Things (IoT) will be introducing significant changes in our day-to-day lives. A wide array of devices will be equipped with intelligent functions to support humans without drawing attention to the objects themselves. For service centers, this phenomenon will translate into the automation of simple processes, efficient management and analysis of the unending deluge of data. In brief: it means equipping your business for the future.

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The IoT has already advanced considerably, with part of it having become a reality in our lives. Devices are given a unique Internet address (URL) to communicate and interact with other systems via the Web. A few examples here:

  • Cars can be diagnosed over the Internet, or a vehicle can still be opened even when someone has forgotten the keys.
  • Customers who purchase high quality cameras want to achieve good results with their images. This requires a specific set of skills as well as correct operation. When the camera is connected with the Internet, images are sent to a producer who can support the photographer as needed. This provides companies with an opportunity to better understand their customers and customer needs.
  • A toothbrush connected to the Cloud can provide a user with tips on how to clean his or her teeth better. The data collected could then be of assistance at the next dental appointment.
  • Fitness wearables (such as Fitbit) address the desire people have to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Always online, these wearables transmit data to the Cloud. Intelligent training programs assess the data and can provide the owner with specific consultation; if wanted, it would even be possible to engage a personal trainer via video diagnosis. Or, when entering a fitness studio, the equipment would adjust to the training program of the person with the wearables.

Intelligent devices require proactive customer serviceWhen devices are unable to run seamlessly, they automatically report a precise error message. The days when customers were unable to describe errors with sufficient detail are now a part of the past. Objects now perform tracking proactively, which means customers won't have the necessity to contact customer service in the first place. Thus, errors will be resolved for users without distraction, or a ticket will be resolved directly with the respective customer service expert as needed. Should the expert not be capable of resolving the problem, then an on-site appointment would be scheduled with a technician.This change obliges businesses to deliver not only persuasive products, but also especially intelligent service solutions in order to improve customer satisfaction:

  • Support: efficient troubleshooting
  • Product development: prompt feedback from consumers
  • Cross-selling/up-selling: Potential for selling additional services, enhancement to value creation chain

What effects will IoT have on service centers?Simple processes will be automated, and errors will be diagnosed and resolved without drawing attention. While contact volume will subside at contact centers, the amount of time spent with each contact will increase because the average query time will increase. The result: service centers will have fewer generalists and more experts.Intelligent objects will exponentially increase customer touch points. Companies will have a transparent perspective on how their products are being used. They'll know the customer journey from start to finish.This is the dawn of a new age for CMOs. They'll have to learn to analyze the endless flood of data in a targeted manner. The intelligent use of data mining leads to a shift from reactive to proactive customer service.This transparent insight into the customer's situation makes it possible to anticipate a query and forward it to the best service representative possible. The representative can then process the case and/or perform cross- and up-selling. The same applies for outbound, and therefore for specifically personalized campaigns.A modern service center focuses on the following points:

  • Omnichannel: With IoT, a new channel is added. The reports sent by "things" are analyzed, automated processes are initiated, and employees are integrated across media platforms.
  • Omnichannel integration into the CRM solution constitutes the foundation for consistent and efficient business processes.
  • Video is implemented as a service-supporting element (for fast troubleshooting, initial contact in online banking / insurance, physician service, etc.). These high quality services will now be provided by experts at the service center instead of by call center agents.
  • The Cloud should be viewed as an open platform on which data is collected, exchanged, and analyzed.
  • Data security: it has been demonstrated that data mining is largely accepted by customers as long as it takes place to their benefit and in a transparent manner. However, data security must be guaranteed.

Bucher + Suter is a system integrator that has been specializing in implementing and servicing multi-channel contact centers for many years now. As a Cisco Advanced Technology Partner and registered Cisco Developer, b+s provides system and CRM integration for improving contact center productivity.

Written by J. Schick, Director Sales, Bucher + Suter AG