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How After - Sales Service Should Evolve With IoT's Imminent Arrival

Ranjeet Walunj, CTO, Servify

Ranjeet brings nearly two decades experience of building and globally scaling high technology, enterprise grade products and services. Prior to Servify, Ranjeet has worked as Global CTO in B2X Care Solutions, leading a high performance 100 member+ team across a variety of technology functions. He is leading Innovations in Servify through effective & strategic application of technology.

Digital interactions are omnipresent for netizens who aren't even actively seeking the newest technology trend. IoT, at its core, is a fascinating concept. Minimal in-puts lead to intercommunication between devices to accomplish simple and complex tasks alike. Buthow does the birth of this new branch of technology affect consumers and businesses? And what factors will determine the customer experience, in this mesh of interconnected devices?

The IoT Progression
Over the last few years, the entire industry is working towards transforming consumer experience using the connected ecosystem. The focus is on attracting, retaining and delighting consumers. Price, product and consumer experience are becoming the great differentiators for consumers to opt for a product/service.

To drive this differentiation, OEMs are pushing the limits to be part of the connected lifestyle and building various products including emphasis on IoT Devices. The next challenge is not to just win the confidence of customers to boost sales but to ensure that the best after sales service is provided after the purchase is made. Connected ecosystem provides great modern ways to track products, services, usage patterns and drive decisions based on the data. Target parameters are highly satisfied customers, shorter response time, reduced costs of operations and hence longer retention of customers which may yield in increased CLTV.

For many products, the aftersales service experience is the deciding factor for a happy or frustrated customer. This experience drives customer loyalty and stickiness to a brand. All future purchases /recommendations are based on this experience. Organisations are trying to adapt connected ecosystem to capture and then eventually provide better after-sales service experience.

After sales Services Which Will Benefit Immediately
1.Predictive maintenance: Gathering the information of device health, predicting possible failures of components or devices can provide an opportunity to businesses to offer regular informed service visits, avoid multiple interactions and visits which are usually the cause for consumer dissatisfaction.

2.Increased value proposition and convenience to end consumer: Understanding the usage patterns of consumer and non-obtrusively suggesting some changes or even suggest ordering the items which need replenishment or refilling is one of the easy use cases. For ex-ample, IoT ecosystem can suggest ordering of milk/juice cans if the items are about to get over. Ecosystem with more integrations can even go further and place an order with online ecosystem or via a Smart Personal Assistant.

3.Operational cost reduction: Connected ecosystem can drive remote diagnosis of the failures/service issues, reducing the unwanted visits/calls to the consumer and eventually actual resolution of the problem. Even simple decisions like sending a replacement for a non-repairable device (which is identified remotely using connected ecosystem) will help delivering great consumer experience as well as save cost for the business.

4.Product feedback: Feed-back about the usage of certain features, user behaviour, product or parts health or common source of failures is very critical for business in order to design improved and better products for the future. This near real-time feedback will help organisations to understand the required/most used features and help to focus on delivering better consumer experience. This data helps to shorten the design-test-build development cycle and release updated/new versions quickly.

5. Drive future purchase decisions: Organisations can suggest new products (cross sell/upsell) based on the usage pattern of the consumer and the data gathered from IoT devices. Organisations can offer tailored customised service plans/insurance plans for a particular consumer based on the history of the data collected from the connected devices (for e.g.: usage patterns, past failures, service needs, device health data etc.).

"Connected Ecosystem Provides Great Modern Ways To Track Products, Services, Usage Patterns And Drive Decisions Based On The Data"

Multiple IoT Branches:Single Management Platform However, IoT comes with its own challenges. Lack of adherence to common standards for communications, security and encryption, interoperability, data transfer and storage, communication interfaces are becoming hurdles of modern connected world. Need for standardi-zation across IoT landscape is very critical with the promise of billions of connected device (IoT) in the near future.

For example, imagine a scenario where a consumer gives a command to their voice-activated Personal Smart Assistant to switch on the bedroom lights and play a particular movie on the Smart TV and nothing happens. Lack of a centralised/standard platform in the IoT landscape will make it difficult for the end-user to pinpoint the exact failure. It may be with the Smart Personal Assistant not working well or the home router not functioning or the Internet Service Provider having bad connectivity or light switch/television having some issues or simply defective sensors or communication system.

Such problems or the inability to identify the exact issue will not only render the consumer helpless but also compound their frustration. There is a need for centralised standard platform which can help to identify and initiate the resolution, which can improve consumer satisfaction to a great extent. An after sales service platform which can holistically address the future needs of connected ecosystem can lead to a better customer service and an improved customer experience.

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