The Internet of Things is having a huge impact on the way organisations are interacting with their customers. But to do this effectively, it is crucial to understand how to map the customer facing IoT strategy.
With customer first vision in mind it is always important to start by defining what the future could look like for the customer, thinking of the best possible outcome and the most delighted, fulfilled customer, and work backwards. The key difference to the usual customer experience (CX) strategic alignment here is that you have a sensor enabled deployment which means that it’s not just an additional channel. There may well be opportunities to auto-serve, monitor and renew. We need to understand the role this will play and align all these elements to the CX strategy. All of these paths should be clear and documented. We need to create that complex customer journey map.
If we plan for an all-encompassing customer experience in the long term we need to make it a seamless transition. It is likely that we will need to take that customer on a journey along the path of least resistance for maximum gain for the customer. It is pointless to ask for the customer to give you maximum data on day one, you need to gain trust and deliver value, that way you are less likely to fail to meet expectations and you are not collecting data that is not of value. Pilot groups or focus groups are a great way to understand the right level to begin with and then customer feedback can keep a constant temperature gauge.
The early customer ROI:
The golden rule has to be to understand from a customer perspective, how much better will my life be because of this engaged device? Will it give me some time back, make me richer or more intelligent? Most consumers are not early adopters of technology so there has to be an early payback and it has to be easy for them to use and love.
Of course the platform used is an important consideration, this will have a road map in itself, it is likely you may want to start off with something proprietary and then move to scale or vice versa but we seek to ensure that these decisions are still made customer first wherever possible, big platform change can ruin an experience and a customer relationship. The most popular practice on this process I have heard so far is to score each use case for most appropriate platform in the first instance to see if there is a common leading platform and then look at the road map of this platform over the next 5 years to ensure it is looking future proof.
Getting Initial and then continuous stakeholder buy in:
Are there any large business projects that IoT projects need to align with? IoT value crosses many of the key business areas from marketing, sales, service, operations and IT infrastructure which means that there will be implications and benefits for each area. It is usual that budgets for IoT deployments cross these divisions, there will be some enterprise wide projects already in progress that IoT will supplement but also some key initiatives driven from business heads which are silo'd but can benefit hugely from the power of IoT.
For this reason it is key to get the C-suite involved early to evangelise, cut red tape and open internal doors and understanding. Internal stakeholders should be the first pilot group if you want to get pace into the project. Also, make sure those stakeholders understand what your competitors are doing and the risk if you either wait or do nothing. All of this will serve you well when creating this new holistic business model for your enterprise.
As with everything customer engagement enhancing, it's a crawl, walk, run approach and it's the crawling bit at the start which is the most important. If you are an agile start up business you may nail this in 12-18 months but for everyone else it's a wider and longer process. Equally, if you are an organisation that already makes your customers life happier or easier, you can buy a little time. However, if your products or services are not either of the former, your customer engagement is the real differentiator and for you it's key to make a first to market IoT proposition. Think insurance and the driving monitor or utilities and the smart meter both of these sectors have brought IoT to a grudge purchase and added smart value and sexiness to an otherwise gloomy engagement.