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Leveraging IoT Technologies to Understand Customers

Service-oriented enterprises and organizations have been slow to adopt Internet of Things technologies. Here is why they should take a closer look.
By Terry Lawlor
Mar 15, 2017

The Internet of Things is at the center of a lot of discussion. The circuits and sensors that power IoT technologies are becoming smaller, physical objects are becoming smarter and the collection of data is becoming ever-faster. Almost like modern magic, the promise of the IoT is that disparate "things" can now communicate to enable new actions, conjuring up results not previously possible.

So far, there has been a steady adoption of IoT technologies in industrial settings (utilities, oil and gas) but less so in service-oriented enterprises and organizations. As explained by a recent Gartner study, companies are more inclined to look to the IoT to solve internal, business-related issues in an effort to streamline processes, reduce costs and enhance asset utilization, and less likely to begin an IoT effort to address external, customer-facing objectives, such as improving customer and employee relations.

This focus on processes, costs and asset utilization could be why we've seen fewer service-oriented enterprises and organizations begin IoT-based projects. However, the value that these smart technologies could bring to these industries is potentially massive. As more things connect, these companies will be able to gain more understanding about consumers, employees and the customer experience than ever before. Intelligent products, like smartphones or cars, wearable devices such as health trackers, or fixed location items, such as smart home security, can collect real-time, direct-respondent data that companies can utilize in their market research and voice-of-the-customer efforts. By combining customer reaction and contextual data, businesses can shape their products and provide tailored offerings and service.

Here are how service-oriented brands can begin to leverage the data collected through IoT technologies:

Trigger surveys based on specific actions taken by the user of a connected device.
IoT takes the concept of "in-the-moment" responses to a new level, allowing organizations to view and act on feedback faster and more effectively than ever. One example is the ability to deliver highly relevant contextual surveys based on a customer's location. Bluetooth beacons installed at retail locations can trigger an app running on a customer's phone to launch a survey as he or she interacts with the brand, products or services.

By delivering a tailored survey to consumers' smartphones, companies can receive timely and personalized feedback about their expectations and experiences. For example, organizations sending surveys to attendees of a soccer match could gauge fans' enjoyment—whether they were pleased with the service at concession stands, whether they had difficulty finding their seats and whether they intend to attend another game.

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