Customer experience transformation tools and platforms have pushed the boundaries of innovation in contact center support. More and more organizations are now trying to chart a transformation plan in the way they look at providing support to their end customers, looking at channel optimization, digitization, bots, omnichannel platforms, and more. As per a Forrester survey, more than 60% of US online adults used web FAQs while more than 35% used mobile self-serve apps for their support needs. So, channel digitization is the reality of today. While HCL’s Business Services group continues to work with its customers in enabling them on this journey, the Internet of things (IoT) is providing a new and exciting universe for product companies, eventually impacting the way customer support is provided to end customers.
By 2020, it is expected (although research numbers from every analyst or research organization vary), that almost 30 billion devices would be connected to the internet or some form of private network as against 8.4 billion in 2017. Eventually, all one would need is an ‘already existent’ fast broadband, a smartphone or tablet to act as a hub to control these devices and then never run out of juices, have dirty vacuum cleaner filters or be in control of your electricity readings or the amount of toner left in your printers. The opportunities are obviously endless, and so are the ways to connect and create touch points for your customers.
How will Customer Support Operate in an IoT World
With the above context, here are four ways in which organizations with IoT-based smart products and devices will deploy a “smarter” customer service platform providing IoT solutions:
- Human Intervention Will Still be Key
The implementation of IoT-based devices has not been seamless as yet, and considering the number of devices and apps which would be connected in, say, a “smart-home” network, it is not going to be easy to do it all through self-service. As more broadband connected households buy more of these products, the number of tickets or asks for installation, support, and troubleshooting will increase. In fact, almost 5-6% of support requests in 2018 are expected to be from smart devices.
- Predictive Support Will Take Center Stage
Connected products enable remote monitoring of key parts of a device or an appliance, thereby letting the manufacturer know if there is a performance issue. As part of the customer experience strategy, the agent can then utilize this data and either inform the customer and guide through the self-serve process or the platform can provide for links on smart FAQs or chat bots to get the resolution via e-mail or a smartphone app intimation. Some of these devices can even raise a ticket with the contact center. Predictive support will also be critical to pick up on trends.
- Personalization for Customers
Organizations have access to large amounts of customer data and IoT will open up this frontier even more. With the amount of data collected around real-time usage patterns, features used or not understood, what devices do they connect to, organizations can provide customer service agents with focused information to think beyond the SOP-driven support and be “super” agents who can troubleshoot, suggest new plans or services, and up-sell/cross-sell basis past usage.
- Moving from Multichannel to Omnichannel Support
As devices get smarter, customer support will get smarter and will access product features, installation guides and FAQs before getting to the agent to get their troubleshooting fix. The challenge for organizations will be to move from a multichannel environment to an omnichannel environment specifically with smart products. The omnichannel platform can then be integrated with effective predictive analytics to provide agents a complete view of the customer while engaging in proactive resolution and revenue generation.
- Smarter use of data: With the amount of data generated by IoT-based devices, intelligent mining of the same will become critical for providing proactive support
- Channel optimization: Organizations will need to understand channel suitability and effectiveness for supporting their smart devices and then moving them into an effective omnichannel system.
- Agent skilling: It is clear that agent skillsets and approach to a solution will take center stage as they not only need to provide an SOP solution but also understand the ecosystem of devices and software that surround and interact with the solution. Training programs, quality methodologies, and updated service delivery metrics will have to be created to align with this new realm.
How HCL can help
HCL has been at the forefront of providing customer support solutions that provide organizations a roadmap towards having a next-generation support center of excellence. With solutions from omnichannel systems, cognitive agents to predictive and intelligent analytics, our customer journey support offerings will provide the right platform to the IoT-based products and solutions of an organization.