November 22, 2019
The Internet of Things (IoT): How It’s Changing Customer Relationships

The Internet of Things (IoT): How It’s Changing Customer Relationships

Remember the 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie, Smart House? In case you missed it, 13-year-old Ben Cooper enters
a competition to win a Smart House after the death of his mother leaves the family unable to keep up with the household chores. Women, we have to do everything. Am I right? Pat, the home’s personal assistant, does
it all, from ordering groceries to adjusting the lights. Everything is great until Pat becomes so overbearing that she locks Ben and his family inside the house, believing the outside world is too dangerous. Back in 1999, Smart House seemed so far-fetched and futuristic that Google actually classified the movie as Comedy/Science Fiction. But in reality, the movie was only a few years ahead of its time — minus the whole personal assistant going crazy thing of course. The Internet of Things. Yeah, it’s kind of a silly name, but it’s
changing life as we know it. Smart House is no longer the future, it’s the present. But IoT is more than just smart homes and appliances — it’s any number of devices that can be connected to the internet and to each other. These range from trucks and bridges to more common items like stop lights, parking lots, and even trash cans. The technology is still in its early stages, but there are already over 20 billion connected devices. That’s nearly three IoT devices for every person on earth, triple the amount of mobile phones, and about 33 times the number of house cats. Meow. You may be thinking, “this sounds impressive and all, but what does this have to do with me?” Well those 20 billion devices are generating a tremendous amount of data. Data that can be used by doctors to better diagnose patients, by athletes to track performance, and even by businesses to better understand their customers. And in an age where customers rule, understanding them and creating the best customer experience is more important than ever. Today’s customers expect to have seamless interactions with companies no matter which device they are using. IoT can help. Think about a time when you’ve run out of
something … something like toilet paper. Ugh, it’s making me cringe just thinking
about it. The moment of running out of a product, especially one as crucial as toilet paper, is a very bad customer experience. That’s why Amazon created their dash button. With the help of IoT, customers can instantly reorder a product by just pushing the button. No more anger, no more late night trips to the store in your sweats — just your products, delivered straight to your door, right when you need them. Other retailers are using beacons to activate alerts on customers’ phones to point out in store sales relevant to them. Tired of clipping coupons with your mom? IoT creates a convenient, digital way to save 20% on your next package of toilet paper. And you don’t have to be Jeff Bezos to start using IoT to improve your customer experience. Imagine knowing the exact moment a customer is going to run into an issue with your product. With IoT, this is possible. Increasingly affordable IoT sensors can collect valuable product and customer information in real time. This information can then be used to provide better, proactive service to customers across all touch points. Think about the points of friction your customers face and consider how IoT can help provide a better brand experience. Because companies that view IoT through the lens of how they can help their customers will win. IoT isn’t just some flashy piece of new technology. It’s a way to transform the way customers shop, buy, and interact with companies and their products — so much so, they can’t imagine life without it.

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