How IoT Can Enhance Your Customer Experience
By Ron Welty, Founder & Chief Client Officer
Brands are increasingly creating automated worlds for customers through the Internet of Things (IoT). Simply explained, IoT refers to a physical device that is connected to the Internet, giving it the capability to collect and share data. From smart devices to wearable technology, IHS Markit expects there could be as many as 125 billion connected “things” by 2030. As innovation in technology continues to grow, here are a few ways savvy brands can leverage IoT to enhance the customer experience.
Disney's Magic Bands serve as a great example of how the IoT can reduce friction in the customer experience. These connected, wearable bracelets allow visitors to travel lighter by using it to enter the park, unlock their hotel room, and buy food and merchandise.
Carnival Cruises, similarly, has a wearable medallion that not only has the passenger's name engraved on it, but can also access their data stored in the cloud, such as their photos, room number, and passport information. Using the medallion enhances the cruise line's experience by allowing passengers greater ease, such as boarding quickly and ordering drinks from anywhere on the ship.
Thanks to IoT, brands can collect more detailed customer data to better understand the customer journey and deliver more personalized offers and content. According to Zebra Technologies’ Intelligent Enterprise Index, 82 percent of companies currently share data from their IoT solutions with associates in real- or near-time.
How often have you mentioned needing a sweater, for example, only to see ads for sweaters online the very next day? Connected devices, like smartphones, voice assistants, and smart watches, allow brands to collect data around-the-clock and leverage it to customers at the right moments.
Additionally, multiple IoT devices can be linked together to further personalize the customer experience. For example, Uber’s “Your Ride, Your Music” service allows riders to make their own music selections via Pandora and Spotify during their journey.
Optimize Product Usage
From robot vacuums to self-driving cars, everyday products are being transformed through the IoT. Alongside these improved product offerings, customer service can also evolve.
For example, if a non-connected device malfunctions, it would typically be up to the customer to take action, whether that means searching online, calling customer service, leaving a negative review, or returning it to the store. The beauty of connected devices is that its performance is constantly being monitored, allowing brands to optimize its usage. When something goes wrong (or is about to), the product can either repair itself or alert the customer and/or customer service of the exact issue.
Similar to a smartphone receiving software upgrades to fix bugs, Tesla optimizes product usage by resolving problems in cars without recalling them to the dealership. For example, upon discovering that a charger plug was a potential fire hazard, Tesla was able to fix the issue in 29,222 vehicles via a software update, allowing customers to continue to drive the cars without interruption.
Streamline Purchase Process
Long checkout lines or a complicated ordering system can cause customers to abandon carts fast. In fact, Salesforce found that 74 percent of customers will switch brands if the purchasing process is too difficult.
IoT is transforming the way customers order and pay for products. Using a smartphone, wearable device (like an Apple watch), a car, or a voice-activated device (like Alexa), customers can order and pay for products via their connected device. For example, a hungry customer can now order a pizza on their drive home from work. Or, a customer who forgot their wallet can pay for a coffee using their watch without holding up the line.
Increase Customer Loyalty
As a result of increased personalization and engagement, the IoT allows brands to capitalize on the potential for increased customer loyalty. Brands can take this one step further by linking customer loyalty programs with connected devices. According to MIT Sloan Management Review, customers are 117 percent more likely to recommend your brand to others when you have a top-notch loyalty program in place.
IoT can allow brands to leverage loyalty programs to incentivize the behavior desired from customers. Walgreens, for example, leverages its customer loyalty program to help carry out its brand purpose to “champion the health and well-being of every community in America.” Using a connected device like a FitBit when exercising, customers can earn points through Walgreens Balance Rewards that can then be used toward discounts on purchases.
Improve Your Connected Customer Experience
In all the ways your customers experience your brand—whether it’s through a mobile device, in-person, or over the phone—it’s important to ensure you’re delivering exceptional experiences at every touchpoint.
IntelliShop has the customer experience solutions to bring you unparalleled insight into how customers experience your brand. When you partner with us, we’ll take the time to understand the areas of your business you wish to measure and validate and use our findings to create a real and effective plan of action to enhance your customer experience. Contact IntelliShop today to request a consultation.