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How the IoT can improve customer experience

3rd Apr 2019
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The Internet of Things (IoT) presents big opportunities for businesses if they take the right approach. It has huge potential to revolutionise customer experience and reduce the number of negative customer interactions. However, so far companies have failed to address security challenges, rushing their products to market and putting their customer's data at risk. Such negligence is counterintuitive and can potentially ruin this great opportunity.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?

The IoT refers to different physical objects that connect to the web and “talk to each other”. The idea is to make our lives easier by connecting everything from simple sensors to smartphones and wearables. The IoT is becoming increasingly popular in Britain and worldwide. In big cities like London where crime is rising, the IoT can be used by security companies to streamline and enhance their protection services. Crimes can also be solved more easily by police, as it enables CCTV cameras to be connected to the cloud and authorised users can access footage from their smartphone, tablet or PC. It can also be used for day-to-day functions such as your fridge letting you know you’ve run out milk. Whether the IoT is used to combat crime or applied to daily tasks, it is here to stay and clearly presents unprecedented opportunities for companies who use it correctly.

Revolutionising Customer Experience

The advent of the IoT means it will be much easier for businesses to provide an exceptional customer experience. Barriers that once existed between companies and customers will be reduced and they will be increasingly interconnected. It will ensure whoever is responsible for servicing or support will instantaneously see a customer request and be able to assist. For example, if a customer has an issue operating their heating, a technician can log-in remotely and help them to programme their device. Even more notably, a device can signal directly to the company that there is an issue, resolving the problem without the customer even being involved. This will enable businesses to be more proactive in solving customer issues. It will also potentially lower the cost and time associated with customer service while improving customer satisfaction.

Security Challenges

With all benefits come challenges and the IoT is no different. As this technology is still relatively new, there are plenty of security kinks that still need to be ironed out. To date, the IoT has been notorious for having weak security, which is extremely problematic considering the sensitive customer information it holds. Cybercriminals are as always ahead of the curve and have cottoned onto these vulnerabilities - according to an IBM report, IoT breaches have skyrocketed by 600% this year and are rising.

With the IoT global market estimated to be worth $1.7 trillion in 2019, most companies have been keen to jump on the financial bandwagon. Unfortunately, security has been an afterthought for many businesses, with most rushing to bring their products to market without having implemented the necessary security measures. This could prove to be a big mistake, as customers have made it clear they blame companies directly for data loss and breaches. If customers experience poor security and suspect businesses are putting their sensitive information at risk, it is unlikely the relationship will have longevity.

Luckily most IoT devices are built on different operating platforms, so this creates an inherent layer of security. And it would be challenging for hackers to develop malware attacks for every type of IoT device. Despite this, they can still take advantage of your devices security vulnerabilities and access the systems connected to it. For example, if you were to use your smart fridge to order your food shopping, hackers could potentially find a way to access the fridges network and steal your bank information.

As the IoT market grows, companies will have the power to collect and store more customer data. But to maintain a positive customer experience, they must make a concerted effort to implement the necessary security safeguards or run the risk of losing their trust, loyalty and ultimately damaging company revenue.

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