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KT Prasad

KT Prasad is the Country Sales Director for Zendesk, India. Since joining the Indian office of the San Francisco based SaaS Company in September 2016, he has been responsible for Business growth with a focus on helping customers transform their customer service into meaningful customer engagement with beautifully simple solutions.

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Troubleshooting for IOT in 2020

This is life for you in 2020, where the Internet of Things would have revolutionised the way we live, making it commonplace in almost every home.

A warm morning glow floods the sky as the clock ticks over to 6am. You wake up as the window shades silently drift apart, the smell of freshly brewing coffee is wafting in from the kitchen, the sprinklers switch on in the backyard, the sound of your favourite bhajans emanate from the living room, and your dog has been let out for his morning duties.

How are you aware of all of this while lying in bed without barely opening your eyes? This is life for you in 2020, where the Internet of Things would have revolutionised the way we live, making it commonplace in almost every home. According to Gartner, IOT is bound to grow to a phenomenal 26 billion units by the year 2020[1]

What were once menial and routine daily tasks will be taken completely out of the equation through automation. While it all sounds like something straight from a science fiction film, it could also be a recipe for chaos. Imagine this interconnected world and the numerous possibilities for things to go wrong -  from system outages to more sinister hackings. The reality is that there are many individual devices in the IOT that are interconnected with other systems, with each having their own warranty records, manufacturer and customer service protocols to name a few. Now imagine the level of communication and integration required for managing these systems to ensure the customer experience is as seamless as possible.

With IOT, customer service management is bound to be a complex maze with the myriad possibilities that it opens up. It is one thing to troubleshoot for a laptop or a cell phone, and yet quite another to solve for a complex HVAC system that is completely integrated with software and multiple devices and controllers.

As technology becomes more integrated into our daily lives, and the seamlessness of devices being interconnected more commonplace, the imperative role of customer support must also increase to keep pace with customer expectations. As a result, customer support strategies and process will need to be prompt, flexible and as efficient as the services provided by IOT.

Here are three predictions for how customer support will change with IoT:

1. Intelligent Customer Support

It’s no secret that the role of proactive customer support needs to keep up with the emerging world of businesses. IOT is expected to generate vast amounts of user data based on individual preferences. This can in turn help companies develop suitable customer support strategies beyond the one-size-fits-all approach, and are tailored to the customer’s needs and preferences. Companies can study this data to pre-empt possible scenarios and develop simple yet powerful omnichannel strategies that make it easy for customers to engage with your business, where and when it’s right for them. This becomes a win-win as channels are connected so conversations are seamless, and information can be shared across your business to help make smarter decisions. This is the experience customers expect, and when you give it to them, they will be yours for life.

2. Increased Automation and Empathy

As touched on earlier, intelligent systems can help monitor user trends at the customer end as well as at the company end. This provides valuable learnings that are then constantly reported internally to help drive operational efficiencies, often with positive financial flow-ons.  

The result of automated processes in customer support means prioritizing and allowing agents time away from routine tasks, that do not require their intervention. When it comes to critical areas like healthcare, finance management or security, empathy becomes critical in managing complex situations. An apathetic approach in responding to a crisis could result in irreversible damage to your brand. Automation therefore prioritizes and directs agents to fragile situations that require the requisite attention that need to be handled with care. Companies need to invest in empathy-oriented training for their employees to manage customers in IOT, especially those operating in sensitive segments.

3. Devices in IOT as channels for communication

While omnichannel is a widely accepted phenomenon in today’s world, it is the age of omni-device support that is dawning on us. As we deal with multiple devices that are interconnected and cooperating to deliver integrated functions, the devices can by themselves act as avenues for communication. Inturn, the device can send alerts for action to the customer, the agent and the manufacturer as required.

The device can also have differentiated levels of communication with each front, for instance a relevant customer support issue can be alerted to the agent, while device usage data can be shared with the manufacturer. Similarly, it can update the customer on information that they require from a functionality perspective.

In IOT, the sale is only the beginning of the customer’s journey. The devices, products, solutions and services should be aligned to alleviate a customer’s pain-points. Strong after-sales support will prove to be the differentiator in a competitive market place. Monitoring health parameters, financial planning, baby care, fitness monitoring, etc is much more than an individual product or a service. Working in such critical areas, it is the duty of the company to understand the customer and their pain points and to provide solutions accordingly.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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