IoT for Digital Customer Experience

In the age of the omnipresent and super connected customer, the buying process does not end at the Point Of Sale. Customers today prefer to make service-oriented purchases (Opex expenditure) instead of an asset-based one (Capex one). For instance, an enterprise prefers to lease and pay for warehouse space as needed (infrastructure-as-a-service) rather than buy a warehouse themselves. The customer service procedure of the past- ticketing service with long responses and only a planned/on-demand visit by maintenance personnel is inadequate for satisfying the expectations of today’s customer. The buyer-oriented market fuelled by the fierce competition has forced the sellers to stand up and take notice of what today’s buyer wants.

According to a recent survey by Salesforce, Sixty-seven percent of leaders say creating a connected customer journey across all touch points and channels is critical to the success of their overall marketing strategy.But overall, only 23% of them are satisfied with their ability to leverage customer data to create more relevant experiences.

In this heated scenario, IoT has proven to be the most effective weapon in the manufacturer’s arsenal. It helps manufacturers to bring an omnichannel coherence to the Digital Customer experience process. It enables a 24*7 connectivity with the end-user and customer which can help the enterprises in not just understanding their customers to serve them better, but also driving process excellence.

Here is how IoT can assist in enhancing the digital customer experience for a brand:

  • Intuitive and Proactive Customer Service: By the virtue of real-time insights direct from connected products, customer service with IoT can be taken to a different level altogether. With condition monitoring, all critical machine parameters can be monitored & analyzed in real-time, so the machine condition can be diagnosed even before the problem strikes. The technicians armed with actionable insights at the point of maintenance are empowered to do their job better and faster. Customers can be informed well-in-advance about these deviations and timely fixes can be administered, leading to a delighted customer experience.This move from planned and preventive maintenance to Predictive Maintenance enables manufacturers to proactively identify and fix potential problems, helping their customers reduce costly machine downtime and production losses. Daimler, German auto manufacturer, for example, uses IoT to make its vehicles safer and more efficient. Through IoT, Daimler is already automating several safety procedures when its vehicles are on the road. For example, Daimler lorries are already fitted with IoT enabled safety features like proximity control, stop-and-go assist, emergency brake assist, lane-keeping assist and 3D maps, all to help drivers keep a safe distance from cars and other vehicles on the road. Additionally, the automotive firm has also developed stereo cameras and radar sensors, which aims to improve driver response times.
  • Know your customer: In the earlier days, sellers had limited interaction with customers apart from at the point of sale. Enterprises had to depend only on periodic service visits,  sales reports, and customer feedback to analyze buying behavior. However, with IoT on the table enterprises can now collect, manage, and analyze real-time data about customer usage. Thereby, they gain a quicker access to gain key insights into consumer trends, product performance, and buying behavior – rapidly. IoT enables that by helping the manufacturers understand exactly what the customers want through real-time information and feedback. For example, John Deere manufactures agriculture, forestry and construction equipment. It is using big data and IoT to monitor moisture levels in the soil to help farmers make timely irrigation decisions. This will help farmers produce better yields and will essentially tell them when the soil is at its best or when irrigation is needed.This will ultimately result in reduced running costs and better produce.
  • Build better products: IoT can help accelerate the R&D efforts of any organization through customer feedback. IoT can help the manufacturers gain instant insights about how the end-users are using/or not using— their products that they can be improved proactively, or to gather deep insights for future upgrades. To top it, the manufacturers get this information in real-time, allowing them to fix issues more quickly and prevent customer rebellion. This also makes sure that they only invest resources in developing features that provide the maximum value to the end-user, optimizing the utilization of time, energy, money and efforts of the team. Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson uses its ‘Maritime ICT Cloud’ system, to leverage sensors on its ships to monitor vessel location, speed and the temperature for heat-sensitive cargo, all in real-time. The data can then be shared with companies that are shipping goods, from production and warehouse distribution to final delivery, in turn, to keep their customers well-informed.
  • Develop innovative business models: As mentioned in the introduction section, for many companies that were earlier focused solely on selling products, IoT will lead them to adopt more relationship-centric service models, which can open up both new opportunities and challenges. For e.g.:  A process manufacturer who has a slew of high-priced costly assets that are not being used to their fullest capacity, is essentially losing ROI every minute.  In such situations, an Uber-like marketplace model can serve as a boon to the manufacturer. The sharing of costly resources not only will help gain higher capacity utilization but also enable small/mid players to innovate rapidly with access to such costly resources at the affordable rate on a pay as you go model.

IoT is thus ushering an era of Collaborative Manufacturing with innovative business models and driving innovation across the connected digital enterprise.

These instances are only the rim of the huge honeypot of potential with IoT. The possibilities are endless for every vertical and with the bridging gaps between manufacturers and users, we can expect innovations for every level.

Are you thinking of starting your IoT journey? Download our Smart Manufacturing Report for the most popular use-cases, trends, and data for usage of IoT in your industry.

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