The Rise of Connected Devices and Behavioral Analysis: What It Means For Businesses Today

By: David Marko, Managing Director, Acumen Solutions

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become a popular buzzword within the industry, but that doesn't mean it should be ignored. At its core, IoT is about connecting devices over the Internet to enable them to talk to other devices, other apps, or even to us. Examples range from connected devices, such as smart meters in the home that turn off the heat when no one is at home, to smart cities that include smart trash cans that tell you when they need to be emptied.

Why Does This Matter?

The rise of connected devices is drastically disrupting traditional ways that businesses understand and interact with customers. But this isn’t all bad –news—the use of connected devices means businesses can now build smarter marketing and engagement strategies, based on specific personalized details of each customer’s behavior and buying preferences. This ability isn’t just limited to B2C companies either; we work with a number of B2B brands that are, for example, using connected devices to decrease warranty costs and risks with manufactured equipment. With the rise of the connected device, the data you need to drive deep, insightful behavioral analysis is now at your fingertips, transforming the level of personalized customer experiences that you can deliver. In order to understand how a business can best leverage connected devices, it is imperative to look at the technologies that got us here. The customer experience technologies that have evolved over the past 10 years have shaped the way that we can now use connected devices, as well as how to take advantage of the opportunities that come with them.

Connected Devices and the Challenge of Big Data

About 10 years ago, Customer Experience Management became a formal discipline area that businesses started to notice. Companies were seeking new hires specifically focused on Customer Experience to be brought in and added to the C-suite. They created teams that largely focused on collecting survey data, analyzing loyalty trending, satisfaction measurement, and Net Promoter Score (NPS). 

 

 

With the growing awareness and value of customer feedback data, organizations’ appetite to learn more continued to grow. This led to an explosion of solicited feedback that became too overwhelming for humans to manually analyze. Being able to consistently and objectively sift through all of the data, quickly enough to scope out the problem and take action, was nearly impossible. With this challenge, we saw the rise of technologies such as sentiment and text analytics platforms. These solutions helped to automate the process of analyzing and sifting through large volumes of data in real-time, regardless of which source the feedback data came from. This is especially important to businesses today, where the rise of connected devices means that businesses will have even more data to analyze from even more sources and locations.

The Connected Customer

Building on the efficiencies and insight that text analytics brought to the table, businesses began to focus on delivering self-service offerings. Brands were able to pinpoint the specific questions that many customers had throughout the customer journey. They were able to build specific solutions to help resolve the concerns. Customers became empowered to solve their queries, without even speaking to an agent. As brands start thinking about how to properly leverage the next wave of data, which will be driven by connected devices and sensor technology, they should keep in mind some of the lessons learned from this era of self-service technologies: customer service agents are no longer only engaging with customers on the phone or in-person. Their service now extends to social media, as well as proactive service communication, which we will cover in the next part of our series.

The Opportunities of Human-Centric Design and Incorporating Senses Into the Journey

This brings us to more recent years, in which we have seen a rise in human-centric design and emotional analysis. Brands build processes with human-centric design, such as a website check-out process, from the perspective of the customer journey. To make these experiences more memorable, brands are also thinking of ways to trigger a greater variety of senses throughout this journey. Studies show that activating senses leads to a much more memorable customer experience. For example, hotels are no longer just focused on delivering a smooth check-in process. They are now also specializing in scents so that travelers associate it with their brand image and hotel. These senses trigger subconscious emotions that can be quite powerful when associated with positive memories. They can also present a danger if they become associated with negative experiences.

Where We Are Today

Customer Experience is not a singular tool, component, or even team. It is a mindset that organizations have to embrace and incorporate into their DNA, along with the technologies that empower and support them. The past 10 years have been an exciting journey; however, the reality is they simply laid the foundation that is leading us to the next generation of Customer Experience. This next generation of Customer Experience is more forward-looking and predictive, and leverages technologies like sensors, automated workflows, and predictive forecasting. Join us in our next post in this series to learn more about the transformation that is now upon us, and the opportunities they present. 

This post was first published by our partner Clarabridge as part of an ongoing guest blog series.