Retaining customers is becoming increasingly harder as markets become more and more competitive and dynamic. Customers expect better experiences every time they interact with a product or service. Good customer experience is about understanding customer expectations and meeting them at all points of interaction with a product or service.
A Gartner survey identified the Internet of Things, as well as AI and others, as one of the emerging technologies that will have a huge impact on customer experience. IoT is expected to grow quickly in the next decade and this rapid expansion will inevitably have a large impact on customer experience, both B2C and B2B. The rapid growth of the IoT is changing the marketing landscape as well, as many brands and marketers reconsider their strategies because of it.
We’re seeing growth in Enterprise IoT applications (E-IoT), where connected devices, processes, and assets, are implemented in business processes and applications to support informed and intelligent decision making, as well as reducing manual labour and increasing overall efficiency, which is bound to have a positive effect on customer experience. Here are a few examples of the impact of the IoT on Customer Experience.
Companies can provide better customer experience and support through the IoT’s ability to provide accurate real-time information. IoT applications can range from tracking product delivery to providing predictive maintenance, or even helping with product development. IoT based delivery tracking can provide real-time updates to customers regarding product shipment, improving customer experience.
Sensors placed on products can also help manage inventory levels automatically, reducing the cost of maintaining excess inventory. The same sensors could enable companies to monitor customer product usage and send reminders to place orders or automatically place them when necessary, saving customers time and effort.
Sensors on machines can be used to provide predictive maintenance based on usage and wear. The data collected through the same sensors can help optimise a company’s products as well. Usage data can help develop better products or add value to existing ones. Companies can help customers optimise their operations, as well as providing better timed, cost-effective, maintenance. This will improve the customer’s performance and as a bonus strengthen their relationship with the company.
Usage data from products can also help enrich communications with customers and provide related feedback to them. Companies can use this to their advantage sending personalised communication to customers. Sales and marketing teams can come up with relevant personalised messages. For instance, highlighting unexploited product features.
This data can also be used to find out which features of your product your customers are using the most, allowing companies to suggest other products and services to them which are similar or complementary. This can improve a customer’s experience as they’ll feel that a brand is invested in taking care of their needs. Companies should, of course, be transparent and inform them that they’re using these kinds of data, giving special care to ensuring customer privacy and security.
These kinds of applications of the IoT can of course be employed in B2C relationships, for example e-commerce operations. Companies can keep customers updated on orders, giving them time to prepare by staying home or arranging for someone to be. IoT can be used to give personalised offers and show customised content based on habits and behaviour. This could allow a company to market their products at the exact time a customer needs them, for example. Making it more likely they’ll convert and ensuring the best ROI on marketing efforts.
In synthesis, the IoT can help improve customer relationships by improving their overall experience. Giving companies the ability to easily predict maintenance needs, develop better products, send personalized communication, and more, ultimately improving sales and customer retention.