How IoT will impact the future of contact centers

By Liron Golan, Director, NICE Systems

The Internet of Things (IOT)—embedding sensors and actuators in machines and other physical objects to bring them into the connected world—is spreading rapidly. From monitoring the flow of products through a factory to measuring the moisture in a field of crops to tracking the flow of water through utility pipes, the Internet of Things allows businesses and public-sector organizations to manage assets, optimize performance, and create new business models.

I’m not a stranger to IOT – on the contrary. I’m a gadget freak, and proudly admit that. The old joke about the difference between boys and men – the price of the toy – is very true in my case. I often find myself on a waiting list to pre-order the ‘latest and greatest’ device….only to sell it in 3-4 months’ time for the next best thing.

When I got my Apple watch, I was so excited. I quickly enabled Apple Pay and rushed to the nearest mall to show off my new ability to pay from my wrist. Unfortunately, the process didn’t work as smoothly as I expected…and to cut a long story short, I had to pull my VISA card out to pay.

I desperately wanted help…but wasn’t sure who to turn to. Should I call Apple?? They made the IOT device. Or should I call VISA, the vendor for my debit card (connected to Apple Pay)? Maybe I should contact the bank….or even my cellular provider. After all, it might be a network coverage issue.

IoT: Friend or Foe?

That experience taught me a thing or two. IOT poses both an opportunity and a threat to customer service, since the first question every service provider needs to ask is: “Who owns the service?”

The combination of these trends creates a new phenomenon in customer service, the reality of “hyper contextual” customer service, where the customer’s needs and intentions are more clearly visible to the service organization and relevant, contextual data is available at each and every step of customer service.

While traditionally a service provider would have owned the entire service cycle, IOT changes this notion completely, as an IOT service can be composed of several service providers. That poses a huge challenge and can lead to bad customer service.

The solution lies in the words of the ultimate CX guru, Steve Jobs: “You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.”

Customers need a single focal point of contact, and in the absence of that, will hold the IOT device maker accountable for their experience.

Contact centers will need to streamline processes to deliver the right answer to a customer’s question at the right time in the customer’s journey. Pain-free service is a win-win for both customers and service organizations: Customers are satisfied because service is efficiently delivered when it’s needed, upon first contact; and companies are happy because they can contain costs.


Contact CentersInternet of thingsIOT
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