Customer Service and The Internet of Things

Customer Service and The Internet of Things

By Nathan Rockershousen

June 7, 2016 - The customer service space is constantly searching for more proactive methods to better understand and respond to target markets. Utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT - connected devices) can seriously improve customer relationship management (CRM) and facilitate a truly advanced system of customer engagement. It is important to tap into the power of IoT as a means of striving for improved customer service.

Market research firm Gartner estimates that there will be 6.4 billion connected "things" (devices) will be in use in 2016 (up 30 percent from 2015). These devices aren’t just limited to mobile phones. They include televisions, cars, washers/dryers, thermostats, refrigerators and more. The embedded sensors in IoT technology allow the collection and analysis of data that can subsequently help companies understand and respond to technical problems. Thus, there is an immense opportunity to utilize the vast amount of data that is collected from Internet-enabled technology. This means more readily accessible maintenance information and faster solutions to customer issues.

Collected data is not only used for resolving customer issues with certain IoT technology. It also provides companies insight on the features that customers are enjoying and what they actually want to see in their products. This eliminates the “trial and error” of product development, allowing businesses to efficiently update features based on the data they collect. The trends in the data can even lead to improved future product development.

In addition to collecting more relevant data, IoT technology improves customer engagement through expanded marketing and advertising capabilities. IoT technology opens doors to engaging with consumers socially. Collected data provides perspective into consumers' purchase behaviors, habits, uses of specific technology, and even (in some cases) their locations. This data enables more targeted and real-time advertisements to customers. Marketers can create unique promotions based on consumer preferences and behaviors. A fuller understanding of the target market can even help companies determine specific price points for their products at certain times of the year. Customers no longer need to be separated into large, vague demographic-based groups. Different products and services can be specifically tailored to target individual segments of a company’s customer base. 

The way customers and companies interact is changing dynamically with data collection and the Internet of Things. CRM is improving because products are created and upgraded based on the real-time needs and desires of the customer. Marketing, advertising, and product development are all becoming more efficient due to a better understanding of the target market. IoT devices are just beginning to show their true potential to transform and maximize efficiency in customer service.

About the Guest Author

Nathan Rockershousen Nathan Rockershousen is a technical writing major at the University of Minnesota with a strong background in writing and communications. Specializing in information technology with a minor in leadership, Nathan is spending his summer working closely with the marketing and sales teams at Grid Connect (a local networking and Internet of Things-focused company) creating in-depth technical documents and customer-facing white papers on hardware, software, and current technology trends.

You can find Nathan on LinkedIn.