It’s hard to overstate the value of delivering an excellent customer experience. For many customers, a huge majority of the buying experience is based on how they feel they are being treated. Some would even pay more for a better customer experience.
Considering the proven value of loyal customers and the high cost of acquiring new ones, it only makes sense to keep them happy. The Internet of Things (IoT) can help.
With hundreds of millions of interconnected devices, appliances, wearable technologies, processes, and systems, the IoT offers the opportunity to tap into new data sources and glean new insights. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, the chance to use these nuggets to improve the customer experience can be a real differentiator.
Innovate Using IoT Insights
IoT-based insights can help you communicate more effectively with customers, better understand their needs or desires, and make personalized offers that quell frustration and reward loyalty. Logistics companies can use sensor data to notify customers when a package will arrive. Contextual information – such as how consumers click through a Web site or walk through a store – can tell retailers what attracts and repels potential buyers. And many hospitality and entertainment firms use wearable technologies such as wristbands to monitor waiting times and offer discounts to related activities.
But as IoT data becomes more varied and widely available, winning enterprises will take these basic applications to the next level. Coupons issued by pharmacies and grocery stores are common in most parts of the world. But what if a business collected data from a consumer’s smart device or wearable and used it to respond to an urgent medical issue?
For example, a pharmacy could use machine learning algorithms to recognize when a customer’s blood sugar levels drop. With real-time data from the wearable device, the pharmacist could contact the patient’s physician or give advice about how to adjust the next insulin injection.
Rapid insight and response can also provide opportunities to improve the overall customer journey. Imagine an airline that recognizes a flight delay and instantly offers frustrated travelers free Wi-Fi service on the flight itself. Or a coffee shop at the train station that texts nearby commuters with an offer to prepare their favorite beverage. By proactively reaching out to people in a personalized way, organisations can demonstrate how much they value their customers.
Don’t Overstep Privacy Boundaries
Be mindful, however, of customer perceptions and preferences. People who’ve opted in will likely welcome these initiatives, as long as they believe their personally identifiable information is protected.
Companies that work within the scope of established loyalty programs should succeed. Sending communications to people through an app they downloaded is effective and appropriate, especially for up-sell opportunities. Offering a voucher for a free coffee to customers who have purchased a service is fair game.
However, tracking and communicating with people without their permission or express interest can seem creepy, and may ultimately backfire. Instead of improving the customer experience, these unwelcome advances can brand you as a Big Brother–type organisation that people want to avoid.
Source: Tom Raftery, Forbes