IoT and customer support should live hand-in-hand. With such a new technology, establishing long-term trust with customers and avoiding errors is imperative. Unfortunately, the IoT faces a unique set of challenges when it comes to support and customers are struggling. Here’s three reasons why:
IoT Is Usually a One-Way Street
Devices on the market are not always designed for long-term support and upgrades. Packed with the best hardware for the time, and software that can get the job done, these devices are shipped out with little planning for advanced support or upgrades. The device leaves the production line on a one-way trip to homes and offices. It just has to work, and often times when it doesn’t, companies aren’t prepared to handle more than just basic support.
Difficult to Track and Fix Issues
With many IoT devices, particularly those that lack “call home” support or an easily accessible event stream, issues can be invisible to both users and manufacturers. Whether lights blink or chimes ring when the device is having issues, it is up to a savvy user to identify and report a problem.
Even if users reach out for help, support can be limited to matching batch numbers, performing basic updates and restarts, or undertaking the costly process of replacing and shipping a new device. This process is frustrating to users, and often requires them to wait for days without a solution. Without a means to know exactly what issue the device is facing, and a way to remotely resolve it, IoT devices struggle to get fast support, and customers are left waiting.
Data Is Difficult
The same challenges arise when companies try to match known problems to affected users. Even if manufacturers know about specific errors, they are limited in the data available to respond. Outside of batch or serial numbers, the manufacturer can often lack tools to pair errors with specific users, behaviors, and devices. Even if an internal support tracking tool is used, logging issues is likely to be a manual, low-compliance task.
Data is also sure to be tracked in disparate places, making it even harder to match a user and their history to a particular issue or proactively identify affected users. Technicians will need to combine CRM, support tracking, email, and event logs to identify problems – an expensive and slow process.
There’s a Better Way
Now that the IoT has intrigued the early adopters and is making its way to the mainstream, IoT devices will need a makeover to fully meet the support needs of customers. Support ready devices will need to be easy to update and patch – even remotely. It will offer a means for the user to know what is wrong, and get support at the right time. It will quickly log and report issues to its manufacturer in real-time, so that support teams can more rapidly solve problems before the customer encounters them, or better yet, proactively contact customers to offer support when issues are detected.
When selecting your IoT partner, it is important to consider a platform that meets these support needs. Xively helps companies easily integrate product data into CRMs like Salesforce or customer engagement platforms like Bold360 so that you can visualize real-time device data alongside customer support conversations. By combining data with support, you can get to a resolution faster, create better experiences and increase consumer confidence.
Learn more about how Xively can help you build the support-ready IoT device and integrate data into your support processes, and watch the on-demand webinar on increasing IoT engagement.