When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), the future is now. Gartner has predicted that 6.4 billion connected things will be used this year, which is 30% more than just a year ago! This trend shows no signs of slowing down, with an estimated 5.5 million new things getting connected every day.
As more businesses and households use more devices, fast, effective customer support will be a key differentiator for the companies who are counted on to support end-users. Knowing that customer experience (CX) is vital in driving satisfaction, retention and loyalty, what core areas of your business should you focus on to effectively support your customers and their devices in this connected world?
1) Customer heroes make a world of difference
Not sure if devoting significant resources to finding the right customer support employees is worth it? Studies have shown that 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor after having gone through a poor customer experience! This makes it vital that the support agents you hire are able to leave your customers feeling impressed with the service they receive.
“Service, in short, is not what you do, but who you are. It is a way of living that you need to bring to everything you do, if you are to bring it to your customer interactions.”
Business executive and author Betsy Sanders could not have been more right when she used this line, underlining the fact that it takes a certain kind of person to deliver genuinely positive customer experiences. People who naturally boast above-average communication skills and high emotional intelligence (EQ) are more likely to be these kinds of people and should be placed near the top of the list of candidates when looking to fill customer support positions.
In addition to having great communication skills and a high EQ, customer empathy is a major quality to look for. Being able to put themselves in the shoes of their customers can help agents understand what exactly the customer is feeling, making it easier to develop a deeper level of rapport and trust with them. While some people inherently exhibit higher levels of empathy than others, it is still something which your organization can help develop through employee training. One way of doing this is through storytelling. Give your agents real-life examples of past support interactions that have made a positive impact on the customers’ lives. This will give them a better sense of just how valuable each quality support interaction is.
Because of the new tech complexities that come with the rise of the IoT, important qualities like customer empathy are still not enough – they must be paired with strong technical skills. Individuals who exhibit a passion for technology are excellent candidates. While it is impossible to know every possible technology problem a customer may encounter, the candidates who display an inherent curiosity for technology and problem-solving will very likely be best suited for overcoming the new challenges associated with the IoT.
2) A customer hero is only as strong as his/her tools
While the importance of hiring the right people is vital, it is arguably just as important that these people have the right technology and tools at their disposal in order to deliver a seamless customer experience.
“Buy the best and build the rest”
This simple motto outlines the thinking that when there exists effective technology solutions on the market that could integrate well with your support system – use them! Only when an out-of-the-box solution doesn’t exist does it make sense to invest in developing your own software/tools to address certain problems. Following this mindset will place an importance on cost-efficiency while still being able to deliver excellent support experiences.
For example, at Radialpoint,we leverage the remote-access technology of LogMeIn Rescue,which gives our agents the ability to remotely troubleshoot and make fixes on a remote PC – even when the end user is away from their computer.
Although we love working with great partners, we certainly don’t shy away from building and maintaining our own tools when necessary – and neither should you. TechWeb, the CRM platform our support agents use, was built in-house to address the need to have a robust CRM platform customized to deliver high quality support interactions.
3) Being friendly with other IoT players can pay off
Interconnected environments created by the IoT can make it difficult to diagnose if a customer tech issue is stemming from a device, hardware, software or internet problem. In order for IoT products to interoperate, strategic partnerships and alliances should be made with other relevant IoT stakeholders to help benefit customers across the board. BK Yoon of Samsung said it best when explaining why collaboration is key in making significant strides in the IoT:
“It is our job to pull together — as an industry, and across different sectors — to make true on the promise of the Internet of Things.”
HBR has concluded that business partnerships make sense when they create more value than firms could create if using only their own resources. Applying this logic to the IoT, there is a huge opportunity for service providers, IoT manufacturers and vendors to work together to improve the overall quality of customer support experiences that consumers receive. As long as improving the lives of customers is at the heart of these partnerships, there’s no question that the value they create could not be replicated by a single firm.
A great example is the rise in IoT standards groups like ZigBee, Z-Wave and the AllSeen Alliance, which Radialpoint is part of along with tech leaders like Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc., LG, Philips, Microsoft. These groups have come together to advance the possibilities of the IoT by creating common frameworks for connected devices to interoperate, building the foundations for seamless user experiences across the IoT ecosystem.
The bottom line
There is little doubt that the rapid rise of the IoT has presented intimidating challenges for companies looking to deliver high quality support experiences across all of their customers’ devices. Yet wherever technology leads us next, with the right people, tools, partners, and an unwavering commitment to your customers– your brand will always be a step ahead.
At Radialpoint, we have over 10 years of experience helping service providers deliver differentiated and measurably superior technical support experiences to their SMB and residential customers. You can count on us to deliver full-scope technical support across all your customers’ devices and help ensure that all of their touch points with your brand are positive ones.
- The Top 3 Challenges Facing Internet Of Things Developers
- The Internet of Things: Roadmap to a Connected World
- Google says “orchestration” is next big trend in the Internet of Things