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Leveraging the 'Internet of Things' to Deepen Your Customer Relationships

Posted by Mark Hemmer on 3/26/15 1:00 AM
Mark Hemmer


Jeff Wilcox/Flickr CC Jeff Wilcox/Flickr CC


The Internet is officially all around us. Seriously. “The Internet of Things” refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects embedded with software, sensors, and other means of connectivity.

All of these ‘things’ are busy collecting and relaying information that can serve any number of uses. Some analysts predict “20 billion to 30 billion ‘things’ will be connected to the Internet by 2020.”

As the culture gradually comes to terms with a world that has its eyes and ears open all the time, business owners should clearly see the potential benefits. The time to get on board with the Internet of Things is yesterday. But now will work, too.

If you do have a business to run, it’s imperative to understand how to leverage ‘The Internet of Things’ so that it boosts your enterprise and deepens your customer relationships.

It seems counter-intuitive, at first brush, that the IoT would help build relationships. After all, it’s another step toward autonomy, taking people out of the process of data collection and analysis. For example: instead of physically handing someone a customer survey and having them fill it out and hand it right back to you, the IoT has the ability to collect a mass of customer feedback without direct human involvement.

But, there’s great value in moving the process of collecting information to the background. Forbes explains, “Although technology aims to weave data streams without human intervention, its deeper value comes from connecting people. By offloading data capture and information transfer to the background, devices and applications can actually improve human relationships.”

The Internet of Things can take tedious processes out of human hands and instead, put focus back into building customer relationships. The Apple Store is a great illustration of this idea at work. When you go to buy an Apple product, any employee can help direct the entire purchase from an iPad. This streamlined approach makes it easier to make a buy and takes a lot of traditional retail issues out of the fold. Instead of spending time searching for product information or sending a customer around the store to complete the purchase, it allows the Apple rep to put their energy toward building report with the customer.

In a trade show setting, the IoT can be used to pull in leads and engage with customers easier, resulting in a stronger connection and a higher potential for doing business down the line. For example, if potential leads download an app ahead of the show, proximity technology can be used to detect what product the customer is looking at and presumably, interested in.

Regardless of how your company leverages the Internet of Things, the most important thing is that you are leveraging it. If you need help thinking through the best way to embrace this technology in your own business, we'd love to help.

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