Wires and electronic gadgets.
PHOTO: Thomas Bresson

It’s hard to escape devices connected via the Internet of Things (IoT) today, so imagine what it will be like 12 years from now when, according to pundits, we’ll have nearly five times more gadgets and devices to deal with. According to the IHS Markit, the number of connected IoT devices worldwide will jump 12 percent on average annually, from nearly 27 billion in 2017 to 125 billion in 2030. So, the question for marketers and customer experience professionals, present and future, is: How can you take advantage of IoT data to provide better customer experiences? 

Some are well ahead of the game, building internal efficiencies from IoT data that ultimately help on the customer’s end. Dynisco uses an IoT inventory management system to reduce the cost of maintaining excess inventory, according to a report from Smartsheet. The company automated inventory and supplier data and saw a 40 percent reduction of active inventory across all facilities. 

Anticipating Signals, Preventing Customer Calls

Paolo Bergamo, SVP and GM, field service lightning at Salesforce, told CMSWire that IoT data allows companies to turn service from reactive to proactive. “By the time a customer picks up the phone to report a malfunction, they’re already upset,” he said. “In other cases they may not even be aware of a problem. But with connected devices sending signals to manufacturers, companies are now able to anticipate and solve problems before customers even know they happened.”

Bergamo said IoT should be paired with CRM data in order to recognize its true potential. IoT data silos contain crucial device data, but miss the context of who the customer is, when they bought the item and what other items they’ve purchased, according to Bergamo. “When IoT is paired with CRM data,” he said, “a true 360 degree customer view can be achieved, allowing companies to deliver a personalized, consistent and transformative experience.”

Related Article: Where the IoT Is Already Impacting Customer Experience

Sensors, Sources Connecting to Data

IoT data is the output of new sensors and sources that find their way into a larger pool of data, according to Jack Kennedy, CEO and founder of Platform Science, an open-source IoT platform that serves trucking fleets. Because of the sensors and sources that produce data, companies can “begin to synthesize multiple inputs and create new insights.” He adds that, “in the trucking industry this can take several forms today.”

Kennedy cited examples specific to trucking customers, including:

  • Pressure, temperature and physical location sensors allow drivers outfitted with mobile handhelds to capture temporal data in and around the truck, and associate that with other existing tasks.
  • Beacons, cameras and other devices can broadcast or collect data that can be used to “close the loop” and recognize and/or verify an asset has arrived, or is currently at a specific location.
  • Low-energy devices that are connected at the pallet and SKU level, price and form factor permitting. 

Monitoring for Performance Issues

IoT connected devices can be constantly monitored to collect, analyze and interpret the data from user-activity, and this gives customer experience professionals the opportunity to enhance customer service and offerings, according to Kim Smith, content marketing manager with GoodFirms. These devices deliver performance metrics that can be supervised and automatically trigger a customer service operation if any issue is found. “With such operations,” she said, “CRM would be dynamic and performance-driven, imparting much valuable customer experience and reliability.”

Related Article: Want to Give Customers Great IoT Experiences? Start With Seamless Interactions 

Detecting User Trends, Personalization Opportunities

IoT-generated data can identify user trends and preferences leveraging which business can offer personalized item/services to enhance the customer experience. “With changing user needs and activity, IoT can provide dynamic suggestions to the providers to improve on the offerings,” Smith said. “In a world where customers are highly demanding and specific, coupling the product design with IoT data is vital to provide a wholesome customer experience.”