IoT (Internet of Things) is significantly going to change the way we engage with our customers because behind every mobile phone, every wearable, every sensor, every device… there is always a client. IoT is not science fiction. This science and technology is just around the corner.
What is the connection between CRM and IoT? Well, there is more than meets the eye. For example, if our company is dedicated to providing technical services, the fact that a particular sensor on a machine that we have to service notifies us directly of an incident will make life much easier. And more intelligent. Perhaps some repeated high humidity or temperature readings will alert us of the need to make an adjustment or even a preventive visit.
To date, we know of very basic cases (with all due respect) regarding the automatic interactions of devices with CRM solutions. This is the case of security companies or even lift maintenance companies, to give a couple of examples, that receive an intrusion or lift breakdown alert (respectively) linked to a particular customer. A person from the call centre quickly calls the customer to check whether everything is OK. If it is not, the relevant assistance protocol is launched. Another typical case can be found in the vending sector, involving the automated replenishment of items linked to consumption in a given geographical location and, therefore, to a particular customer. There are also improvements in logistics, not only with regard to transporting goods (you only load what you need), but also organising routes.
However, IoT is clearly going to provide a world of possibilities. In the first place, in the examples described so far, the readings only came from machinery or static locations. To daye, all the designs we have known required excessively individualized R&D; each company had to do everything, from engineering to communications. Now, however, we shall gradually see the standardisation of devices, which will become modular, and communications will become more affordable – all via the Internet – to facilitate interaction. Thanks to the standards, this market is about to take off. Our kids can now buy Raspberry Pi kits and start experimenting on their own for very little money.
Applications in sectors such as manufacturing, human resources, health, transport, home automation, leisure… I think there is no human activity that can escape being monitored. Not so much as for the sake of intrusion (which may affect privacy), but in a sincere desire to improve a service.
Companies that have a vocation of service to consumers, the use of the data from connected devices is truly revolutionary because it offers an unprecedented view of consumer behaviour and, in addition, real behaviour. We no longer depend on a questionnaire or on the interaction provided by a telemarketing service, the value of which may depend on the willingness of the customer at a given moment.
Then there is the geolocation factor combined with these readings… Companies must clearly learn to incorporate this new flow of valuable and reliable data, in an already complex tangle of transactions with customers in order to refine digital marketing actions, making them much more customised.
For example: Vetadvisor, is a provider of comprehensive care for US military veterans. They has equipped the veterans with Fitbit devices that they wear on their wrists and the data is integrated in their CRM platform, which allows them to monitor progress after setting a series of customised physical fitness goals. This means that they are able to provide real-time advice on training via SMS messages.
The Internet of Things scenario is going to provide a great opportunity: the Internet of Customers. It will be decisive for engaging with our clients for five simple reasons: it will facilitate self-service arrangements, prices can be adjusted based on demand, it will make it possible to customise marketing to a greater extent, it will enable us to focus marketing on the more receptive customers and it will improve customer loyalty.
IoT is without doubt the future of data acquisition systems and CRM solutions are in a position to make the most of this technology. With the increase in the use of intelligent devices, the data flow of all customers is going to increase dramatically. It would be smart to transform all this into an opportunity. And that would be via a CRM solution.