The explosion of practical — and affordable — cloud technologies has made the Internet of Things an important tool to support all things service, including how companies market and sell those services. In fact, the results from Strategies For Growth’s 2014 Field Service Management Benchmark Survey show that the global business community is experiencing a sea change in the way services are packaged, delivered, monitored and managed. What’s more, services organizations prefer cloud-based delivery by a three-to-one margin.
Delivering on Service’s Top 3 Promises
When you think about it, your services company is in business for three main reasons:
- Mobilize products, services and knowledge to enable your customers to be successful.
- Transform the customer experience by simplifying interactions and delivering better value throughout the customer experience lifecycle.
- Monetize the opportunities for growing revenue and profitability through meaningful metrics, such as higher revenue per customer or growing incremental sales of related products and services.
But there are other aspects to consider within each of those buckets — and this is where the IoT comes into play:
- Provide personalized experiences, no matter where customers are or what they’re doing.
- Delight customers by saving them time and money, and by making the engagement fun and rewarding.
- Increase customer conversion, loyalty and retention ratings though a customer-centric approach.
- Up-sell, cross-sell and re-sell products and services by tapping into knowledge gained from capturing customer insights.
- Lower the cost of customer acquisition via better customer ratings and advocacy.
A Smarter, Connected Knowledge Base
IoT-enabled technologies allow service organizations to connect and engage with customers, resulting in a more effective way to acquire, delight and retain them. Though still nascent, the IoT is already making an impact in field service.
As products become increasingly complex, field service technicians need immediate answers to resolve even basic service issues. In most circumstances, field technicians will require seamless on-demand access to all relevant knowledge, including product configuration, service manuals, knowledge base, parts catalog and service history.
But many companies still rely on PDF files, which are difficult to read on a mobile device. As a result, service organizations need a better way to deliver the required content to their field technicians — on the mobile devices and apps that are becoming the most important tool in a technician’s toolbox.
By using their smart devices, whether a phone or tablet, field techs are able to access company and OEM contact centers and share the pictures, audio or videos relating to specific problems. The result? Immediate issue resolution — a huge boon to customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The IoT as Next-Gen Service Multi-Tool
By enabling field technicians in this manner, companies are gaining increased visibility into service activities the activities performed in the field which can, in turn, deliver a better customer experience by narrowing the field technician’s arrival time window and helping them to complete their service jobs quicker and more accurately.
The specific applications of the IoT is multi-fold, encompassing all aspects of the customer experience — marketing, sales, service and everything in between:
- Marketing: Companies are now able to engage connected customers in smarter ways through better product discovery, relevant offers, gamification and loyalty programs.
- Sales: Companies can increase conversion rates by simplifying the decision process through convenient access to comprehensive product information, reviews and pricing on all mobile devices. What’s more, service teams can improve attach rates by up-selling and cross-selling service plans, accessories and related products and services.
- Service: Companies can connect with the customer directly through increased product registrations, resolve support issues quickly through better access to knowledge and increase product availability by streamlining warranty and service processes.
Both consumers and businesses are migrating to new technologies at a faster rate than ever before. As a result, brands, retailers, OEMs and service providers need to be able to both meet and exceed the rising expectations of today’s connected customers. This is what the Internet of Things brings to the table — a smarter, connected and more effective way to enhance the overall customer experience through an empowered field, technical and customer support force.