The growth of IoT and associated ubiquity of connectivity brings with it new customer engagement opportunities, according to Buzinga App Development.

Beyond the introduction of new, connected functionality, leveraging IoT to rethink customer service, engagement and retention strategies promise the fastest ROI on manufacturer investments in these technologies.

According to Buzinga’s co-founder and director Graham McCorkill, connected devices can drive more meaningful customer engagement in three ways:

  1. Creating a new point of differentiation: “The Internet of Things allows companies to interact with customers in unique ways, separating them from organisations who have not made it a priority [such as] the engagement and interaction offered by a smart water bottle [compared to a regular plastic drink bottle] is profoundly superior.”
  2. Introducing a new level of personalisation through data: “The sheer volume of data available through the Internet of Things means companies can use these insights to better understand the needs and wants of their customers, leading to a better understanding of customers’ thought processes and facilitating stronger relationships between the two parties.”
  3. Heightening customer loyalty: “IoT allows organisations the ability to act in ways that encourage loyalty, such as giving rewards to customers, such as Taco Bell [in the US] sending targeted rewards to customers who use the traffic and navigation app Waze as they drive past a store.”

Is this happening in Australia?

Despite the opportunities inherent in IoT integration with customer engagement strategies, a recently released study by Genesys in partnership with Frost & Sullivan suggests that Australian and New Zealand businesses have been particularly slow to adopt such ideas.

Entitled ‘The Internet of Things-Enabled Customer Experience Report for Asia Pacific’, the report revealed that Australia and New Zealand rank the lowest in IoT-enabled customer experience maturity compared to other APAC markets.

It found that local organisations are reluctant to integrate IoT into their customer experience (CX) initiatives, with over 80 percent citing IoT as a low to neutral priority compared to other CX initiatives, and 60 percent of businesses saying they had no IoT integration plans.

From a customer perspective, McCorkill sees a few motivations within local consumer markets that could shed some light on this relative lack of IoT-driven CX adoption.

“Australian consumers in the past have been known to not buy products solely due to how different they are, but will buy products as a way to enhance their status and improve their lives,” he told IoT Hub.

“When it comes to connected devices such as smart fridges, the biggest challenge for manufacturers is creating a product that seamlessly integrates with users’ lives.

“The best smart devices will be the ones that provide a solution to the contemporary needs of the customer in the most innovative and creative way possible.”

McCorkill also sees the generational diversity within the Australian market as roadblock to customer acceptance of connected interaction with businesses.

“The digital native generation have grown up knowing their data is being stored and tracked, and understand that these data collection activities are delivering them more convenient and personalised services,” he said.

“Older people are more nervous to participate in data-gathering exercises and they are right to be sceptical, but the harsh reality is this has been happening online for decades now.

“The physical experience is really no different to the online one for the everyday consumer, [and] we think the potential for personalised data-driven innovation is one of the most exciting things happening to our world.”