Not long ago, companies had to rely in large part on surveys and focus groups to understand what customers liked and didn’t like about their products. In recent years, social media and online ratings have given businesses new ways to learn about customers’ opinions about their products. Today, however, some of the products themselves -- at least those devices that are part of the connected world of the Internet of Things -- are starting to provide unprecedented levels of information that can be used to improve both the products and the customer experience.
In particular, information from connected devices offers companies three tremendously important core pieces of contextual information that were previously unavailable: where the products are being used, how they are being used, and which customers are using them at any given time. Going forward, the authors expect that companies that manufacture smart, connected products will have an advantage in the market.
For instance, a company does not have to wait until a customer calls with a complaint to know that a product connected to the Internet of Things is not working correctly; the product has already communicated the information. With this advance knowledge, the company can report an issue to a customer and seek to address it before it becomes a bigger problem. This service call could also turn into a sales call if the company adds a new feature that gives the product additional capabilities.