Harnessing the IoT to create a Total Experience
IoT (Internet of Things) products are changing the competitiveness of companies and reshaping their internal organization and business processes.
The IoT represents an important opportunity for companies in all sectors. Indeed, the concept is changing the way digital products are designed and used. These changes relate primarily to the way customers interact with businesses and their products – interactions that form what we call the customer experience. Companies are constantly improving the value of their offerings through connected devices to create a “total customer experience”.
A positive customer experience from the point of view of the user – not of the company providing it
A successful customer experience involves delivering an experience so unique and of such high quality that customers want to relive it over and over again.
To build such an experience, companies need to understand the points of contact (offline and online) between their customers and their organization, in order to know how and where to enhance the experience they deliver.
The essence of the customer experience is found at the touch points between people, processes and products. When customers interact with these touch points, they have either a positive or a negative experience. It’s the positive experiences that will make them loyal customers, while a negative experience will push them to a competitor or an alternative product.
There has always been a significant gap between a business’ perception of the experiences it offers and the customer’s view of those same experiences. This is called the “experiential perception gap”.
Use the IoT to close the experiential perception gap
The more IoT networks grow, the more valuable they become.
Metcalfe’s law represents a theoretical law of the lattice effect. This law posits that as the number of users in a network increases, the more the value of the network will increase proportionally.
In terms of the IoT, this means that the more touchpoints there are in a network, the more the value of that network will grow. In addition, visibility on the network will also increase. This increased visibility allows algorithms to adapt and improve their predictions and recommendations in near real time.
Companies that wish to bridge the “experiential perception gap” should: Develop a customer-centric experience strategy. This strategy can be combined with IoT technologies that focus on improving the touchpoints between people, processes and products.
Human Contact Points
IoT applications that collect behavioral data about customers are an example of how IoT can improve customer experience. The client acts as a data provider, with data captured using IoT sensors. The company can then organize, store and analyze the data related to these interactions to improve their customer experience. This allows a company to capture data from touchpoints that involve human interactions between company employees and customers.
IoT platforms that use artificial intelligence and the analysis of emotions (positive emotions vs negative emotions) through Machine Learning allow companies to measure the quality of the human interactions they generate, and to improve them. This activity also allows the client to make informed decisions on the changes they would like to see in their organization. This type of customer input is often referred to as the “Voice of the Customer” and is a powerful tool for businesses seeking to improve their customer experience.
The Voice of the Customer
The Voice of the Customer is a marketing technique that studies the market. The purpose of the technique is to provide brands with a comprehensive understanding of the needs and wants of their customers. Voice of the Customer brings together data collected from various sources, centralizing it into a single voice. The voice can reveal:
- The Client’s intentions.
- The Customer’s wishes.
- What the Customer dislikes.
The near real-time decision-making capabilities created by an IoT platform enables employees to make decisions based on predictions and recommendations that are refined as interactions accumulate. By allowing their employees to make decisions related to past customer behavior, chances of giving them a positive experience are increased substantially.
Additionally, studies have shown that the most knowledgeable employees are those that are also the most engaged in their daily work, which in turn correlates with lower staff turnover rates. A higher employee retention rate can improve a company’s ability to deliver a consistent customer experience across many physical and digital touchpoints.
Product contact points
IoT platforms allow companies to connect sensors to the digital products integrated within their networks.
These integrated sensors collect data from the devices that customers interact with. These sensors can determine the location, performance and condition of products used by a company. By monitoring the performance of a device, its operation can then be optimized.
Built-in sensors also provide valuable insights into how customers use company products, helping predict product failures and facilitating interventions before failures occur.
With the total number of connected devices expected to approach 75 trillion by 2025, the IoT is poised to fundamentally change the way companies do business and reshape their customer experience.
First, the IoT is bringing new computing power. This new computing power is enabling real-time mobility and artificial intelligence solutions that improve decision-making. Algorithms will begin to have an increasingly dominant role in decision-making.
Second, the IoT is changing the way companies shape and run their business processes. These changes translate into faster, more efficient and less expensive decision-making. Employees will be able to focus more on delivering a qualitative customer experience than on technical business skills.
Third, the IoT is changing the way companies differentiate their products in the marketplace. In future articles, we’ll explore how the IoT is increasingly individualizing products.
We’ve already started to observe some of this individualization in a range of industries and examples:
- Smart thermostats can determine an owner’s temperature preferences and adapt automatically.
- In healthcare, smart heart monitors alert doctors and patients to abnormal readings.
- Smart blood glucose monitors can automatically adjust insulin delivery according to patient needs.
Study or multiply the extent of your contact points
The IoT will continue to change the way businesses compete in the marketplace in the years to come. Businesses can begin to deepen their customer relationships by leveraging what they know about a given customer and personalizing their offerings.
Others may focus on the breadth of their customer relationship by adding touch points. Research has shown that the best performing brands do both, and deliver what some call the “total customer experience”.