Revolutionizing Customer Support with the IoT

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In today’s fast paced, technology driven world, technologies, products and customer expectations change at the blink of an eye.  However, in an attempt to keep pace with these exponential changes, companies have begun to think of ways to reinvent the way they are supporting customers.

Interested in learning more? Going to Dreamforce 2015? Stop by our Revolutionizing Customer Support with the IoT session – Thursday September 17th at 2pm in Moscone West, Innovation Theater – to hear our Director of IoT Strategy, Sean Lorenz, and I discuss how companies can drive up customer satisfaction by embracing customer and product data from Salesforce and LogMeIn to enable the “Support of Things”.

         

Internet of Things: Why the Support of Things is the Future of Customer Experience

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The customer experience, reinvented

While already overwhelmed with supporting standard technologies – i.e mobile devices, laptops, tablets, etc. – the customer service industry is in for an even wilder ride thanks to the growing adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT). While wearables and connected products are becoming mainstream, many companies continue to cling to outdated customer service models. Downside is, traditional support models will inevitably break under the weight of this new vastly connected consumer reality.

According to a recent consumers are rapidly adopting new channels and changing support behavior. While voice and email continue to dominate, email and mobile chat are growing – yet most companies are not properly equipped – resulting in increased handle times, unhappy customers (consumers are required to get in touch multiple times, over multiple devices), and to top it off technicians on the other end of the phone are equally unhappy (employee turnaround is in record numbers).

Today’s empowered consumers expect instant gratification when they need assistance, but front-line contact center staff can’t keep up with the increased complexity of transactions, lacking the tools they need to meet customer expectations. Add in the intricacy of these new connected devices and it’s clear that the customer experience is headed for a breakdown of unprecedented proportions.

In an attempt to keep pace with this exponential change, companies are looking to reinvent the way they support their customers. This approach, sometimes referred to as the Support of Things (SoT), is the future of the customer experience. Here are three key markets where the SoT model can deliver immediate improvement for the customer experience:

  1. Not-yet-connected appliances
    While just about every company selling physical products is exploring ways to connect them to the Internet, some are not there yet. These companies don’t have the benefit of having information streams coming from the product itself that could be used to help diagnose issues. Many brands are exploring ways to connect their products, but in the meantime, they need solutions that give them insights about customer issues and product behaviors. This is where support solutions providing real-time feeds from the customer or field technician will be critical.
  1. Connected PCs, smartphones, and tablets
    Those in the remote support technology field have had a front row seat to witness the evolution of the SoT approach. Customer support professionals for connected device makers and retailers have the built-in benefit of serving a customer base that is already using connected products, which can make diagnosing and fixing problems somewhat easier. But what if the problem can’t be picked up through the call agent or customer’s Internet connection? What if the consumer’s product can’t power up properly, or can’t connect to the Internet? This common (and frustrating) scenario is where new forms of support that can be tapped into through secondary devices are winning favor.
  1. Connected household items
    Consumers are used to a high level of support with connected PCs, smartphones and tablets. But what if the thing you’re supporting doesn’t have a screen? Many connected products, such as lighting, thermostats, home theater systems, cable set-top boxes, wireless routers, kitchen gadgets, smart toys don’t have consumer-facing screens as the interface. In many cases, the interface is a mobile app. For these types of support transactions, mobile chat and mobile remote support are crucial – but even they don’t deliver the full customer experience. Video-assisted customer support, using only the camera function on every consumer’s iOS or Android mobile device, can add a new level of engagement that solves problems faster and boosts satisfaction rates. With remote video, a customer support representative can tap into a live video feed to actually see the physical product in front them as if they were there, too. This opens the door for new levels of real-time support.

Real-time visualization: crucial for SoT

Many product makers and retailers provide only phone-based or email support, which is less practical for more complicated support calls for connected products. Consumers are not happy with these options, which take time and often end up unresolved, as the customer has to describe what they’re seeing instead of just being able to physically show the person on the other end of the line.

The greatest advantage for businesses and customer contact centers that adopt video as a support tool is shortened support times. Problems that once took an hour can now be solved within minutes. The ability for customer service agents to see what the consumer’s product looks like, the exact error message being displayed on a product, or even the serial number on the back of a product, is invaluable.

The second major benefit for retailers and manufacturers is the ability to reduce product returns attributed to “No Fault Found.” We all know that customers who get frustrated with poor support often return their products to the store. What you may not realize is that “No Fault Found” returns are a huge problem that is chipping away at retailers’ and product manufacturers’ profit margins. Accenture estimates that the total cost of consumer electronics returns is costing the industry $13.8 billion USD a year – and a staggering 68% of that loss is attributed to “No Fault Found” returns.

Companies used to servicing smart devices will need to find ways to solve issues that can’t be solved through typical remote connections. Technology exists today that allows technicians to view, assess and resolve issues that were once only resolved by actually being there. Connected businesses will need to rely heavily on mobile device support tools – a core pillar in a SoT approach.

         

“Support of Things” (SoT): rethinking support of today’s connected customer

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After a decade of watching consumer behavior drastically change because of mobile technologies, we’re in for an even wilder ride with the Internet of Things (IoT). And yet many companies are still relying on old models of support; models that will break under the weight of this new consumer reality. In an attempt to keep pace with this exponential change, companies are looking to re-invent the way they support their customers. This idea, sometimes referred to as the Support of Things (SoT), is a new way of approaching support. Although, as the name implies, this approach is tied closely to the IoT, it is not limited to only supporting connected products. Here’s why companies selling all kinds of products, connected or not, will begin to embrace the SoT:

  • COMPANIES SELLING CONNECTED DEVICES
    (PCs, Smartphones, Tablets)

As a longtime provider of remote support technologies — our Rescue remote support solution is used by nine of the top ten technology companies, dozens of the world’s biggest telcos, as well as famed service companies like Geek Squad — we’ve had a front row seat of how connected device companies are beginning to take a SoT approach. These companies have the benefit of having customers using connected products, which can make diagnosing and sometimes fixing problems easier. But what if the problem can’t be picked up through the Internet connection? Or what if that product won’t power up or can’t connect? Here is where new forms of support are needed; forms that give technicians the ability to be there virtually through video-aided support. Our newly launched Rescue Lens solution aims to do just that.

Here then, is one important pillar of the Support of Things:
Companies used to servicing smart devices will need to find ways to solve issues that can’t be solved through their remote connections; issues you can normally only solve by being there.

  • COMPANIES SELLING CONNECTED THINGS
    (Lighting, thermostats, watches etc.)

Consumers are used to a high level of support with connected PCs, Smartphones and Tablets. But what if the thing you’re supporting doesn’t have a screen? Many connected products, like the Nest for example, don’t have a screen so the customer interface is a mobile app. Support will therefore often need to be facilitated through the mobile app, the real “face” of the IoT. Here’s where tools like mobile chat and mobile remote support will be crucial.

And so a second important pillar of the SoT is the following:
Connected “thing” companies will need to rely heavily on mobile device support tools since the mobile app is their real face to their customer.

  • COMPANIES SELLING NOT-YET-CONNECTED THINGS
    (Appliances, Machinery, etc.)

While just about every company selling physical products is exploring ways to connect their products to the Internet, some are not there yet. For these companies, they don’t have the benefit of having information streams from the product itself – streams that help diagnose issues. While these companies are exploring ways to connect their products, they need solutions that give them insights about customer issues. This is where video-enabled support solutions providing real-time feeds from the customer or field technician will be critical.

And so a third important pillar of the SoT is the following:
Companies selling products that are not yet in the IoT, will need to find ways to get closer to their customers, without having to send field technicians or repair personnel to evaluate every problem.

All of the above are just some of the aspects of the Support of Things that represent a huge change in customer support. Over the next several months, we’ll be sharing what we see from our customers, as they begin to re-invent the way they engage with customers and embrace the SoT.

         

LogMeIn and OWASP to host IoT Security Meetup

IOT meetupTomorrow afternoon, LogMeIn and OWASP will be hosting a Meet-Up featuring 6 great speakers to talk about one of the most hyped topics today: Security of the Internet of Things. Hosted at the LogMeIn Budapest office, the sessions will be delivered in English and live broadcast over YouTube.  The broadcast will begin at 12:30pm EST/ 1830 CET (Vienna time).

What:  LogMeIn and OWASP IoT Security Meet-up
When:  March 17, 2015 from 12:30PM EST to 4:30PM EST
Where:  OWASP YouTube Channel Live Broadcast

Sessions:

12:30 ET / 1830 CET:

  1. Picking an IoT Platform is Risky Business led by Attila Török (HU), Security engineering manager / LogMeIn

1:00 ET / 1900 CET:

  1. Secure by design led by Aaron Guzman, OWASP LA, board member, Sr penetration tester / Belkin, @scriptingxss

2:00 ET / 2000 CET:

  1. IoT Top 10 led by Jürgen Grieshofer, OWASP AT, board member, Awarity Training Director
  1. Identity, Security and Privacy in the IoT era led by Gregory Estrade (FR), a software dev and a self-taught hw hacker, @torlus

3:00ET / 2100 CET:

  1. Know Thyself – Managing Identity in the IoT led by Sean Lorenz (US), Sr product marketing manager / LogMeIn
  1. Where are the Humans in IoT? – Usability, trust, and privacy led by Márk Vinkovits (HU), Security engineer / LogMeIn

Click here for more information about The IoT Security Meet-up.

         

Connecting Customers to Connected Devices/Internet of Things

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Each day more products and services are becoming connected to each other, to customers, and to employees.  Appliances, equipment, furnaces, dimmers, thermostats, machinery, medical devices, earbuds, watches, and vehicles, to name just a few, transmit and receive important information and instructions in real-time over the Internet.  Frost & Sullivan forecasts there will be 50 billion connected devices globally by 2020.

Driving the popularity of connected devices, also known as the Internet of Things (IoT), are the Customer Experience benefits. Businesses receive operations data, such as when to replenish stock, what kinds, and at which outlets. Consumers can get texts, record their favorite shows, and cut energy costs by turning on the furnace only before they leave work for home. Equipped with this information, B2B and B2C suppliers refine their product development, supply chain, delivery, and marketing strategies.

In turn, business and consumer customers can be alerted to potential problems before these become major and possibly dangerous issues.  For example, sensors can automatically relay individuals’ vital health information to practitioners. As a result, treatment and repairs are likely to be shorter, more successful, safer, and less expensive. Specialists will have a better idea of possible problems, their exact locations, and will be prepared to handle them.

But every new technology creates challenges, and connected devices/IoT is no exception. On a broader industry level Frost & Sullivan has identified interoperability, adequate bandwidth, and security as difficult but surmountable hurdles to their widespread adoption and use.

Equally critical for IoT success is the Customer Experience with these solutions. Not only must the connected products work reliably, without dangers like hacking, but they also have to be simple to use, affordable, and easily and effectively supported.

Appropriately enough, the IoT will be one of the key topics that will be discussed in a Frost & Sullivan webinar with LogMeIn on the “The Future of Customer Engagement:  Keeping Pace with the Connected Consumer” Wednesday Dec.3 at 1 p.m. ET that we invite you to join. The panelists also will look at the role of demographics and the rise of new channels, the growing importance of Customer Effort (CE), and omni-channel (from chat and virtual assistants to mobile and social). Register here to learn from and participate in this important dialog.

         

LOGMEIN CEO MICHAEL SIMON TO SPEAK ON HOW THE INTERNET OF THINGS CAN TRANSFORM BUSINESS

We are excited to announce that on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 LogMeIn’s CEO, Michael Simon, will lead the session “Moving the Internet of Things from Hype to Business Reality,” at the Interop New York conference. Details around the session are as follows:

2014 Interop New York Conference

  • Date: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
  • Remarks: 4:00 PM ET
  • Location: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001
  • Speaker: Michael Simon, CEO

For more information, please contact me at 781-897-1301 or rbradley@LogMeIn.com.

         

Internet of Things Takes Center Stage at CES

Like I’m sure many of you have been doing, we here at LogMeIn have been closely following the ongoing events this week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  CES has become the preferred annual event for tech press as they seek to identify the “next big thing” in technology.  Judging by the volume of articles, posts and tweets, one of, if not, the primary theme that seems to have caught fire this year is the Internet-of-Things (IoT).

Here at LogMeIn, we have been involved with the IoT since we acquired Pachube in 2011, which has since evolved into Xively, our commercial platform-as-a-service.  We are excited to see the market continuing to advance while applications proliferate.  Below are a few links to some of the reports and articles we have been reading this week:

This is just a sampling of the myriad of articles covering this fast growing space.  We continue to eagerly watch developments in the IoT and appreciate the speed with which this market is evolving.