IoT: The customer experience accelerator that you can’t afford to ignore

“Innovation must be part of your culture. Customers are transforming faster than we are and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble. ”
Ian Schafer, founder of Deep Focus – a global marketing agency

If you do not consider it IoT As an important component of your customer experience (CX) toolkit, you need to think better about your CX strategy – and fast. Why? Because CX is hard to do. We are coming very short, and we cannot afford to overlook something that could provide an advantage – especially as significant as effective use of IoT.

Despite the fact that most Forbes Global Fortune 500 company executives believe that CX is the primary competitive differentiator, organizations are hitting a plateau with their CX initiatives. Or worse. In its Customer Experience Survey 2018, Forrester studies found that not only did brand CX gains and losses cancel each other out, but more industries fell in the rankings than rose. And not a single US company that was classified as delivering “excellent” CX. Only 15 percent delivered “good” CX, and the majority, 62 percent, fell into the “OK” category.

How can companies improve the customer experience using IoT?

To improve them, companies need to do a better job of understanding their customers and using this knowledge to provide personalized, satisfying and practical experiences. This is where IoT can make a significant difference.

IoT represents a powerful source of data that, when combined with analysis, can provide insight into everything from behavior to emotion and health. It also provides opportunities for instant communication, enabling companies to provide contextually relevant responses and offers in real time. And the potential for detecting product failures before they happen has consequences far beyond the production floor, especially when used for expensive cars, electronics and smart components.

Knowledgeable companies are beginning to realize this. According to IDC, worldwide spending on IoT will increase by 15.4 percent from last year, hitting $ 745 billion in 2019, peaking at $ 1 trillion (US dollars) by 2020. And while manufacturing and production are top of the list of spending, insurance is , retail and healthcare are all expected to be among the fastest growing IoT growth industries, with many of the spending coming in areas that directly or indirectly enhance the customer experience.

IoT in insurance

In insurance, consider the impact that IoT-enabled telematics has on the parenting experience with teen drivers. To young people with more confidence than experience and insurance rates that threaten wallets if not life and limb, most are more than happy to install telematics systems that provide insight into driving habits while keeping prices low.

What’s more, IoT adoption is no longer exclusively for enthusiastic new technology adopters. Insurers like Traveler expanding their capabilities beyond telematics, partnering with Amazon to offer customers discounted home security kits, which include cameras, motion detectors, water sensors and Echo Dots. The Amazon Traveler Partnership will allow travelers to reduce damage costs, collect customer information (through dot interactions), and enhance the customer experience.

IoT in retail

Examples of retail IoT abound: Kiosks that let you sample clothes virtually; coupons that load on your phone when you walk into a store; and never-out products, such as printer ink cartridges, that detect when levels are low and automatically order refills.

My favorite example is how Kroger transforms the experience in the grocery store with its Kroger Edge and Bag, Scan and Go Initiatives.

Edge is digital signage technology that Kroger uses to make its grocery shelves smart. By replacing paper signs on the shelves, the digital signage displays ads and informs customers about prices and nutrition information. Eventually, the signs are synced with smartphones to highlight items on a shopping list and allow customers to ask questions, e.g. Which brand is on sale today or which products are gluten free.

Behind, Scan and Go allow customers to scan and pack groceries as they shop and use the self-checkout kiosks to simply pay and walk, eliminating the long, frustrating check-out lines. Both initiatives significantly optimize the shopping experience and also provide Kroger with valuable information about shoppers’ behavior that it can use in its world-class analysis and personalization programs.

IoT in health care

IoT is also revolutionizing health care. Garments, medical equipment, and sensors embedded in subjects such as pill boxes help with elderly care, diagnostics, hospitals, and clinical settings. Telemetry is changing how medical care is delivered, and clinical apps are beginning to include interfaces such as speech and / or gesture recognition and sensors as their primary data capture model. Supported by AI, these changes mean a significant increase in data volumes and quality.

There is no doubt that IoT is a CX accelerator. It’s packed with opportunities to elevate our CX beyond “OK” to gather significantly more information about our customers than we ever have before, and to adapt interactions to a level we’ve just begun to imagine.

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