The Internet of Everything and your Contact Center
The Internet of Everything (IOE) is a hot topic in the technology world. It has become a common theme that is getting press everywhere as CIOs look to move their respective companies into the future and stay ahead of the competition. Presently technology allows you to connect everything from your refrigerator, your car, your TV, even connect your pet cat (well maybe not yet) – to the IOE. A lot of bandwidth and expertise on the back end will be required to support the applications that tie everything together as the distant future becomes the new normal.
When you think of the IOE, you may initially only think that the underlying technology of sensors, network bandwidth, the cloud, routers, security, etc. are the main components that play a crucial role in connecting devices across the various technology domains. How many of you would have thought that the contact center in your company is an important component that will help to bring business value to the large investment made in the IOE?
Recently one of the world’s largest retailers and technology companies announced a device that will allow you to have an adhesive button that you can stick anywhere to order your favorite household products. Place a button on your washing machine, click it once to order detergent when you are close to running out, and it arrives within days. Attach a button on your paper towel holder; click the button, and miraculously a case of paper towels will appear on your doorstep. Imagine what grandma would have thought, oh the possibilities! No more running out to your local big box retailer to stock up and waste time in line.
I can only imagine the other applications where this could be applied. I wish for the day when I can push a button that is stuck to my desk and Twizzlers and Diet Coke magically are left on my doorstep by a delivery person. It’s not that far out and the IOE will be the underlying technology theme that makes it all happen.
What happens though if you accidentally click on the button and 30 bottles of detergent arrives at your doorstep when you wanted only 2? Or 50 rolls of paper towels arrive when you only wanted 5? Or, as part of a “class project” your 13 year-old technology genius kid hacks the code for the button and 100 cartons of cupcakes show up at your door? This is where the contact center becomes a crucial component to the companies that will enable “IOE” technology.
Big and small corporations integrating technologies such as the “button” or “sensors” into their IOE product strategies will need to enable a way to reach these customers to question anomalies in orders, respond to security issues, make timely updates before shipments, upsell, and respond to customer issues. The Contact Center and their staff will be the crucial link that plays a role in helping to mitigate these issues and respond to customer needs in a personalized manner. Pro-active high touch agents need to be able to reach out to customers to respond to people who accidentally click the button and order 50 rolls of paper towels. This will become the new normal.
The importance of the contact center in your corporate IOE strategy will not just be related to correcting orders or responding to what may seem as silly issues. As the IOE develops – more advances in technologies like the connected home or self-driven car will require the contact center to be the face of your company. Proactive contact center agent engagement, whether it comes from a phone call, a video call, a chat session, a text message, responding to a tweet, or an email will be crucial in engaging with your customer base and ensuring customer satisfaction. If business leaders invest a major sum in the IOE but do not figure out how to adapt their contact center to respond to customer needs quickly – they may lose crucial market share, revenue, and customers.