The Internet of Things (IoT) or ‘Machine to Machine’ are two terms which have been coined in the recent past to refer to the continued propagation of physical objects embedded with sensors, electronics, software and connectivity allowing objects to be sensed and controlled remotely via existing communication infrastructure. Current estimates put the number of globally connected real world objects at 50 billion by 2020 so the scope of the technologies and the growth potential are both huge. In this blog Puzzel (formerly Intelecom) discusses how to leverage this trend and provide a customer experience that’s truly personalised.
This growth is partly driven by the acceleration of the communications networks themselves and the explosion in speed and reliability of consumer broadband and WiFi networks. This is the same trend which has seen the growth of IP based voice and video communications in technologies in the home beginning with laptops, tablets, games consoles and televisions but increasingly moving into the premium end of less obvious markets such as appliances and white goods.
For any forward thinking company this represents an incredible opportunity to engage with consumers in their own world, interact with them as they interact with products, proactively monitor products and alert customers to any issues or opportunities.
While there is the danger of globally connected, monitored devices being pushed out too aggressively and the market becoming reminiscent of Orwell’s ‘1984’, if done right the benefits for enhanced services for customers and increased intelligence for suppliers are easy to predict. This is not to say that IoT devices aren’t already available in the market.
The deployment of Smart Energy Meters and the Smart Grid are the widest scale IoT consumer network deployed in the UK today. These devices represent all of the core IoT functions. They report usage back to their utility suppliers without end user interaction, report back to the supplier if there are any issues and allow the supplier to use the Big Data they provide to target offers, marketing and service to the consumer in real time.
Amazon and Tesla are two companies pioneering the extension of customer service directly to their physical devices.
Amazon’s Mayday function built directly into their Kindle Fire Tablets allows users to call up near instant video help from a friendly face on the device who can share the user’s session and provide instant help.
Tesla’s concept takes things a step further, as well as a full set of sensors and monitoring to be able to proactively alert users to issues with their car, Tesla customer services at home base can also remotely interact with cars on behalf of their users such as being able to remotely unlock a car directly from the customer service centre in case a user cannot get access.
These enhanced functions are not without security and privacy concerns. For example, Tesla is able to see the locations, speeds and status of all of the cars they manufacture and therefore the drivers at any time and the risks of a nefarious party potentially hacking into a car or any other device remotely and taking control of features or stealing information are obvious. Choosing an approach as straightforward as embedding a customer services link into a product though is no less secure than publishing a customer services phone number so is extremely low risk with the customer’s security and verification moved up into the contact centre in-line with existing processes for customer validation.
All of this new ground breaking approach to customer service might appear to only be the domain of the most cash and resource rich companies with huge amounts to invest in the infrastructure to support the most cutting edge interactions, but that is not necessarily the case. The good news is that Puzzel can provide all of the tools to embed enhanced cutting edge customer service directly into any network connected physical device and integrate them directly into your contact centre alongside your traditional channels.
Using Puzzel’s new WebRTC functionality you would be able to push an integrated voice capability into virtually any device to allow customers to directly dial home from the product they’ve just bought, while they needed help during set-up or if there were any issues and using proactive monitoring to trigger an alert on an Puzzel task router APi, integrated into a dialler you could detect an issue with a customer’s product and call them back directly before they’d even realised there was a problem. Not only do we have the tools required but also the experience having worked to supply service enhanced ticket machines for the railway network in Norway as an example.
So why not call Puzzel today and see how we can help with enabling the next generation of your customer service, operating right alongside the customers in their own world. Puzzel provides multi channel contact centre solutions to hundreds of companies across Europe.