The Internet of Things! You’re hearing it pop up everywhere. But how exactly will if affect the Customer Experience you deliver for your customers?
You may have seen and heard the curious term ‘The Internet of Things’ (IoT) emerging quite a bit over the past few years and it’s no wonder, the internet is everywhere you look (and don’t look!). When it comes to customer experience, it’s no different… here is why.
When used right, the Internet is a powerful tool which can effectively connect business to brand, and in this day and age, it is quite simply something that organisations cannot afford to miss when it comes to adapting their CX. So, how can you implement IoT to improve your customer experience? Let’s find out.
What is IoT?
Let’s start off by understanding what IoT actually is.
Since the internet has become so widespread in our daily lives, the concept of the IoT has been difficult to define. The speed at which technology and internet technology has grown has led to an era where, in a lot of cases, our whole network is tied around the internet.
Think about it, when you use your phone to message your friends – you’re using the internet, when you print off a sheet of paper via a wireless printer – you’re using the internet, when you connect your heart-rate to a wristband – you’re using the internet. You’re even using the internet right now to read this very article. It’s everywhere and we can’t live without it (even our customers).
Our attitude towards IoT should be to transform the way in which users interact with a product or service, enabling them to tailor it to their own unique behaviours, routines and experiences. That’s where the importance of customer experience comes in. Customer experience is all about optimising your product or service to fit seamlessly into the lives of your users.
Why is the IoT good for our customers?
There are so many ways in which we can use the internet to benefit our companies. Just by introducing the internet into the experience, consumers will begin presenting us with an abundance of data in which to further understand our customer’s behaviour. With that information, we can modify our products to work for an individual’s own unique preferences.
This will improve the reliability for predicting the patterns of our customers, which is often difficult (if not impossible) to do. Customer experience is based on perception and without an understanding of their perceptions we’ll be forever making decisions in the dark.
With increased connectivity, we will be able to improve the user experience at an increasingly rapid rate by tapping into their behaviours and adjusting their experiences accordingly.
However, although this huge database of customer information is exciting for businesses, we must be mindful not to abuse it. As customer experience involves the entire journey and the relationship a customer has with a brand, the brand needs to be trusted to avoid negative customer experience. Therefore, it is vital that IoT is done securely.
How can IoT be implemented?
Implementing IoT into your process is by no means an easy feat. A lot of hard work needs to be put in to successfully create and adapt the software into your CX. Even then, to encourage customers to connect their devices up is a task in itself, but there’s no doubt that the rewards are worth it.
The key to persuading customers to do this and (in effect) change their shopping habits with you, is to consider how you can positively impact their lives.
For example, grocery stores could create a system that can be connected to customer phones that locates specific items and directs customers in which isle to find them. This will benefit the customer because it solves their problem quickly and almost effortlessly. It will also benefit the business by allowing them to capture data about their customers’ shopping behaviours – this is exactly what they’re after.
The system can then be personalised further to suggest the quickest route around the store to collect all the items a customer requires for their shop so that they avoid returning to the same sections of the store multiple times. Returning customers could also benefit from a personalised experience where their data has been used to predict their favourite items.
The expandability of the IoT into your process really can be endless. So too are the benefits for not just ourselves but for our customers. We’ve seen something similar happen with Amazon, who have created a store that is based entirely via the internet; customers shop on the go by scanning items and automatically paying as they leave the store.
If a business has been running for a decent amount of time and invested its efforts into learning their customers’ behaviours, it will be easier to select ways in which to introduce IoT to improve their experiences further and increase the likelihood of repeat custom and positive word of mouth.