The Internet of Things or IoT essentially means connecting any device that can be turned on and off to the internet where it can then be controlled remotely.
Sounds like something pretty cool however what impact will it have on customer service?
Benefits of the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things opens a world of opportunities and brings us one step closer to those science ‘future homes’ in the movies.
The one where you are on the way home from work and, because your car is also connected to the net, the GPS has determined how are away from home you are.
It wants to make your arrival at home as nice as possible so your home will turn on the air-conditioning for you, the garage will open when you pull into the driveway automatically, the front door unlocks, you walk in and the lights switch on and when you walk into the kitchen the hot coffee will have literally just be served for you.
How will the Internet of Things impact customer service?
One example of how the Internet of Things might change a service fault process can be illustrated below:
- Customer notices a fault with their device.
- Customer tries to find a solution online but can’t get the answer they need.
- Customer contacts the business support line.
- Support officer handles the call and assigns to a technician.
- Technician contacts the customer to arrange a time to visit.
- Technician visits to determine the issue.
- Technician either resolves on the spot or has to order parts to finish the repair at a later stage.
Now the same situation occurs using the Internet of Things:
- The device has its own self-diagnostic that will automatically request a service call when it’s having problems.
- The device automatically notifies that customer that a fault has been detected and a service technician has been despatched.
- The device also sends a diagnostic directly to the technician who is allocated to service that area/address.
- The technician accepts the job and inputs their ETA into the job system which advises the customer via text.
- On the scheduled date/time of repair, given the location of the technician is being monitored via GPS, the device sends alerts the customer letting them know the technician is on time or running late.
- As the technician is already aware of the fault he/she will be sure to have the correct replacement part with them.
- As the same device sends reports across the world, the manufacturer can identify systemic faults and take pro-active action to prevent the issues before it ever occurs.
But nowhere in that example is the customer required to contact support.
No troubleshooting with a service agent, no booking a service, no appointments, follow-up calls to see how far away the technician is etc.
Getting the idea here???
So what does IoT mean for the future?
A lot of the simpler, process type of enquiries are going to disappear and with it, the jobs that used to handle those calls.
Whilst some companies will be at the forefront of this technology, of course, it will be quite sometime before all of this becomes commonplace.
However, there is no doubt that the simple calls will disappear in the future.
I think customer support centres will still be around, but the Internet of Things is going to continue to change the types of calls and enquiries they handle and expect them to be a lot more complex.
This, in turn, requires a higher-skilled workforce and better tools to provide support to the customers with their complex calls.