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The Customer Experience Has Evolved Thanks to IoT – The Time is Now for Contact Centers to Take Charge

In this special guest feature Jack Nichols, Director of Product Management at Genesys, discusses IoT and how with all this data available in near real-time, businesses must determine how to leverage it in a way that equally serves themselves and their customers. Jack has more than 15 years of experience in the technology field. At Genesys he is responsible for developing and overseeing the product platform strategy for PureCloud by Genesys, a customer engagement and employee collaboration cloud solution. Prior to Genesys, Jack oversaw the global voice, data and security teams supporting 30-plus locations for BrightPoint Inc. He began his career as a network engineer for E*Trade Financial. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems from Purdue University in Indiana.

A few years ago, the Internet of Things (IoT) exploded on the consumer technology scene. Today, it’s a household term. From smartphones to thermostats, watches and even shoes, IoT technology is embedded wherever we go, collecting data from when we go to bed, when we leave for work, where we shop, etc. Gartner predicts we’ll have more than 21 billion IoT devices by 2020. With all this data available in near real-time, businesses must determine how to leverage it in a way that equally serves themselves and their customers. IoT data can be critical to improving customer engagement because it can be used to inform and provide context for contact center interactions.

The Proliferation of Channels is Driving Customer Expectation

Where customer interactions with businesses and brands were once limited to their point of sale and maybe a phone call to a customer support line, businesses now provide multiple channels through which their customers can interact with them. Apps allow customers to check their account balances, compare prices, shop, and even play games or take photos and video with branded filters. Social media channels like Twitter enable customers to tweet directly to a brand with amplification via a global public platform. With a quick text message, customers can have simple inquiries about store hours or the shipping status of a package answered by an AI-enabled chat bot. Putting it all together, these channels are increasing customer expectations with the brands they love, while bringing customers and businesses closer than ever before. It’s these kinds of touch points that provide contact centers with the data they need to fully understand a customer’s inquiry, and give them direct access to engage brands however, wherever and whenever they want.

IoT Use Cases for the Contact Center

With big data from IoT, contact centers are able to create the hyper-personalized experience customers are coming to expect. Consider a situation where a retail company recognizes that a customer searched for a specific item within a mobile app. The app is able to identify the customer’s geo-location, then sends them a push notification that the item is on sale at a store a mile away. Assuming the Amazon Go model takes off, the customer can then enter the store and quickly “grab and go” by using the same mobile app to complete the purchase—avoiding the checkout line and never interacting with an employee once.

This data-driven approach is especially relevant in a healthcare context by opening the door for critical and life-saving outcomes. For a connected device like a pacemaker, data is constantly being sent back to a central repository managed by the manufacturer. What if any variance in that data indicates an irregular heartbeat or other life-threatening problem that could trigger contact from emergency services automatically?

The Time is Now

IoT creates a great opportunity for businesses to learn more about their customers, but it’s no longer optional for long-term survival. It’s not a question of if businesses should invest in big data and IoT, but rather how quickly can they get into the game. Millennials, who now make up the majority of the workforce and will command $10 trillion in spending power over their lifetimes, have come of age in a time when these data-based personalization capabilities are assumed. As a result, they have higher requirements for customer service. To meet these lofty expectations, agents must have access to data from any touchpoint—such as social media, purchase history, preferences, current location, and every previous interaction. Agents must know who they are and have precognitive accuracy for why they are calling. Don’t even think about asking them to repeat their information to multiple agents. While using IoT data can set a business apart today, soon it will be table stakes for all businesses to deliver hyper-personalized experiences drawing on every bit of customer data they have at their disposal.

 

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