In today’s increasingly wireless world, technology has paved the way for the rise of the Internet of Things, or IoT. This technology can best be described as when the internet is connected to physical objects, rendering them “smart objects” with the ability to sensor, process, and act upon data. Many household objects are already equipped with sensors that promote safety or alert us to a problem, but IoT takes such technology to the next level by offering a solution to the problem or even solving issues before they arise. The rise of IoT is therefore set to transform the customer experience and revolutionize the contact centers that deliver this service. But just how will the Internet of Things impact the role and actions of contact centers?
IoT will enable smart objects to communicate problems directly to the manufacturer before a problem actually arises, turning customer service more proactive. Brands will be poised to deliver stellar customer service when smart objects’ data are properly analyzed and addressed, and customers and companies alike will no longer need to spend time troubleshooting issues which may have been prevented in the first place. Companies may also analyze data to proactively monitor devices that may prove problematic and ultimately demand the most customer service, once again enabling brands to diagnose issues before they arise.
Agents may already be trained in customer service skills and thoroughly understand a brand’s products and services, but the Internet of Things will demand that they develop more specialized knowledge. Agents will need to be trained for highly specific cases—the malfunction of a household appliance, for example—as IoT will demand that they provide solutions to highly technical problems.
Customers nowadays have the option to contact brands on many channels, and IoT will be a challenge for contact centers to consider when integrating smart object contact into the customer service experience. Brands will need to clearly define how customers can continue to experience excellent service on their preferred channels when their IoT products are making contact with call centers on their behalf.
One of the great benefits of IoT will be the sheer volume of data contact centers are set to gain concerning the efficiency of brand products as well as consumer habits. If technical issues arise often for the same products, brands will be able to improve what isn’t working and increase customer satisfaction. As for products which reveal consumer behavior—such as cars or health devices—brands can reach out to customers with marketing approaches properly aligned to customers’ behavior as well as better, more proactive service that can help customers use their products better.
IoT is one way in which self-service will continue to expand its presence in customer service. With smart objects diagnosing their own issues, customers will need to contact customer service less frequently and reduce costly call volume on the voice channel. However, when customers do feel a need to call, it’s likely that the detailed nature of technical issues will increase average handling time as agents will need to understand the details of an issue and offer a detailed response.ABI Research found that by 2020, more than 50 billion additional devices will be wirelessly connected to physical objects, with experts predicting that the sensor market will be worth $29 billion by the same year. The Internet of Things could have huge implications for the contact center, enabling businesses to deliver proactive service, and to be better prepared at the moment of engagement. The move to a more proactive approach will enable large enterprises to offer tiered levels of support – and will provide a great business opportunity to add value to standard service offerings. The Internet of Things will also transform contact centers by enabling them to gain more control of customer service by providing them with new streams of information that is integrated in to their existing infrastructure. The impact this will have on the level of customer service delivered is huge. Customers will not have to wait in long queues, go through time-consuming security questions or try to explain complex faults to the agent. From a business perspective, the level of customer service is greatly increased, agents are more knowledgeable and productive and the business should experience cost savings through a more streamlined, proactive way of working. Those organisations that successfully integrate IoT-initiated proactive care into their customer journeys will quickly find themselves with a critical service differentiator.As consumers continue to expect quick and efficient customer service, companies must consider the potential for capitalizing on IoT in their contact centers as a tool for delivering excellent customer service. Learn about Vocalcom contact center software solutions for optimal customer service .
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