Across channels and brands, the connected customer engages with organizations in ever-more personal ways. And not just in retail settings. In a report titled The Connected Customer: The Why Behind the Internet of Things, Blue Hill Research says all types of organizations must prove authentic differentiation and deliver relevant, personalized experiences to stand out. Internet of things (IoT) data provides the building blocks to do it.
Let’s back up: Who is the connected customer?
Today’s digitally savvy individuals are intimately connected with organizations that provide them with goods and services – in traditional retail settings and in other industries, like health care. Blue Hill Research says the connected customer engages with these organizations not just through recent transactions, but over a period of time and in a number of ways. And they connect with multiple facets of organizations – data, outcomes, decisions and staff.
Organizations are poised to expand this intensely personal connection and turn it into a more deeply personalized, long-term relationship where the customer sees them as a trusted partner. But Blue Hill Research says it requires investing in tightly networked IoT and analytics to gain an additional layer of environmental and contextual insight.
The three C’s for building a connected customer model
Options for today’s customers are numerous and complex. To optimize the connected customer experience, organizations need to use the right combination of technology and processes. That puts them in a position to align with the customer’s real-time needs, lifestyle, technology preferences or existing services.
Blue Hill Research recommends that customer-centric organizations pursue an IoT model based on these “three C’s”:
- Connected decisions. Organizations’ decisions about customers should be collaborative, based on social technologies that include insights from the whole spectrum of documents involved in the many ways customers engage with the organization – service tickets, social media, reviews, analytics and more.
- Connected data and analytics. To take into account all available customer information, organizations must unite enterprise, third-party and IoT data, then analyze it as a whole in order to get a complete profile of the customer.
- Connected devices. Data from both fixed and mobile devices can be aggregated through the cloud to inform a more seamless, tailored experience. Connected devices are often instrumental in delivering the customized experience, while simultaneously providing the real-time streaming data that enables customization.
As Blue Hill Research explains: “By building analytic insights from data streams created by connected sensors, equipment, vehicles and other ‘things,’ organizations can differentiate based on a variety of quality measures that customers easily recognize and value.”
The Connected Customer: The Why Behind the Internet of Things
With the right mix of technology and processes, organizations can align with the connected customer's real-time needs, lifestyle, technology preferences and existing services.
Download a free report from Blue Hill Research
An industry example
Consider an example from the health care industry. Let’s say a patient – a “connected customer” – wears a defibrillator with a location tracker that uses a Bluetooth gateway and cellular connection to send data to the health care provider. The provider uses this data to keep tabs on the patient’s health, suggesting timely treatments and notifying him of any potential risks. Aggregated data can be shared with a broader team of medical professionals, and decisions can be conveyed quickly via pager alerts, texts and geotracking visualizations.
Blue Hill Research cites multiple industries that can benefit from using the IoT as a technology framework that supports the connected customer. These include utilities that use smart meters to streamline service delivery and cut customer costs; hospitality companies that integrate customer, inventory and situational data from multiple locations to provide highly personalized visits; and transportation companies that collect vehicle tracking information to optimize supply chain logistics and delivery.
By building analytic insights from data streams created by connected sensors, equipment, vehicles and other ‘things,’ organizations can differentiate based on a variety of quality measures that customers easily recognize and value.
Hyoun Park • Chief Research Officer, Blue Hill Research
Tips for giving – and receiving – more value from the IoT
Blue Hill Research says data and technology-driven differentiation can result in stronger satisfaction for today’s connected customer. At the same time, it can create brand loyalty, deeper customer insights and the potential for the organization to create value. That value comes via new products, services and proactive upgrades that customers prefer and anticipate.
Some recommendations for organizations looking to turn the IoT into ongoing value and profit include:
- Align your sensor investments to the biggest process gaps, top unmet customer needs and the highest-value assets your company has.
- Create a flexible analytics environment so you can support the variety and velocity of IoT data.
- Open up data insights for all relevant users by supporting the scale and employee demand for enterprise-grade analytics.
Learn more from Blue Hill Research by downloading the full report, or check out an infographic to get an overview of the 5 steps to enhance customer experience with IoT analytics.