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26 Billion Service Calls Will Cost a Bundle

What's your strategy for reducing costs and increasing efficiency in an IoT world?
By Rick Marquardt
Mar 15, 2018

The field-service industry encompasses millions of field technicians in vans and trucks spread across the world, with many more working behind the scenes. As the Internet of Things (IoT) converges with the service industry, one thing is certain: adding an estimated 26 billion connected devices by 2020 will not only impact the field-service industry, but knock it off its feet.

As the IoT grows and matures, service will no longer be about fixing just machines or devices. Service will encompass systems such as business applications, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM), as well as data warehouses and, yes, even people.

Why people? To start, 84 percent of millennial customers have used a self-service portal for customer service. Millennials see self-service as mandatory, and to succeed, organizations need to provide self-service as an option, if possible. Furthermore, 64 percent of consumers have switched providers in at least one industry due to poor customer service. The bottom line is that consumers' service expectations are increasing almost as quickly as the number of IoT devices—and they expect the same level of innovation, convenience and ease across all their touchpoints.

While the burgeoning IoT is disrupting the service industry, it is also redefining how service is delivered, ultimately providing organizations with exactly what they need to meet consumers' service-level demands. IoT technology—sensors, real-time monitoring and data—are transforming the service industry mentality from "break fix" to "predict and adapt."

While dispatching a technician has historically been the first (and sometimes only) form of service, the IoT now offers other options that are less expensive and can improve customer service and satisfaction.

When an issue arises, machine-to-machine (M2M is the first phase of the resolution process. The communication between an onsite endpoint and services is remotely automated. Resolution can happen within seconds, without human intervention. M2M is not just about resolution, though. It is also an effective preventative tool, stopping problems before an issue ever arises.

If the M2M model cannot resolve the service-related issue, the next level is a machine-to-human or human-to-human approach. The incident is resolved remotely within minutes with the assistance of a human—either through remote action or via direct communication with the customer. NCR conducts hundreds of these interactions daily across our Service Operations Centers.

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