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IoT is changing the way we improve customer experience


Put yourself in your client’s shoes. Is making a customer service request too onerous a task? Do you dread having to answer seemingly endless questions confirming identity, location, and eligibility? As customer experience becomes ever more important, so too does the need to simplify how customers connect with vendor support and to decrease average vendor response times. But, providers must deal with the escalating costs to improve service efficiency with faster response times usually associated with additional people resources.

To minimize live support costs, support forums and knowledge management systems are used as call avoidance measures so that customers can solve issues without logging incidents. However, these systems fail to address complex issues and hardly foster improved customer experience (CX). Recent technological advances are shifting the focus from preventative maintenance to predictive maintenance models that use IoT sensors to flag impending equipment malfunctions.

Surveys show that CSAT ratings are a function of customer support. Imagine if customers could pre-empt vendors’ IVR systems, call centers, support forums and other systems and incidents could be logged seamlessly based on sensor reporting? Or, will IoT add another layer of technology that has to be tested and mapped to processes and business rules before it pre-empts other systems? IoT would also add a layer of opportunity to improve service metrics—from response time and the all-important first-time repair rate to improved CSAT.

What if your device could use IoT to self-report a defect or advise customer support of an impending problem? Traditionally, that’s what preventative maintenance visits were for. However, if a live sensor in an HVAC system could notify the service provider that a compressor was losing power, the costs of a predictive repair would be far lower than a down system repair, monetarily and from a CSAT perspective. This is what we can now do for many consumer and industrial devices where IoT sensors are integrated with case management systems. In addition to reporting the incident, they can log a case, indicate any parts needed, and identify a technician who can fix the problem before the customer ever knows anything is wrong.

Capgemini demonstrated this capability in the Campground at Dreamforce ’17. It featured a model train embedded with sensors on train car doors that triggered a service call if the door was ajar or malfunctioning while in service which could be catastrophic if shifting cargo went overboard during transit. While hypothetical, this demonstrates how simple, yet high risk situations can be avoided with IoT integration with case management tools. The demo goes on to locate the nearest qualified field engineer and identifies any parts needed to remedy the malfunction. Think of the lifesaving possibilities if medical devices like MRI and EKG systems could proactively report service issues before they were discovered mid-procedure? The same can be said for transportation systems, utilities, or any large, mission-critical system that is heavily relied upon by a business or the public.

Of course, none of this can be implemented seamlessly and without testing. But, is it any worse than existing manual case management or self-service processes? I have pointed but a few use cases for IoT integration for customer service. What cases and applications did I joggle in your mind? If this has intrigued you, stay tuned for my next blog on how Artificial Intelligence can save cycles for both end users and customer support organizations.