The Future of Service Delivery: How IoT and AI Optimize the Customer Experience

While the promise of artificial intelligence is not yet fully realized, the Internet of Things is becoming more commonplace, and the potential for improving field service operations is boundless.
By Paul Whitelam

Artificial Intelligence and Customer Service
Beyond improvements in the field and on the job, the IoT also provides unprecedented data about devices and their use. Armed with AI and machine learning based solutions, field service providers can collect and turn the vast amount of data collected about customers and service interactions into action and drive meaningful improvements. From technician travel routes to scheduling service and diagnosing issues from connected devices, AI can also be employed to optimize various aspects of service delivery without the need for employee intervention.

With the ability to better process, interpret and learn from data, more field service providers will be able to automate the tasks that don't need human input. For example, sophisticated chatbots already help solve the problem of long hold times for many businesses, and are often able to solve a customer's problem without callers wasting time waiting for a person to respond.

Experts agree that artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, and while we can speculate about the future, the seemingly endless potential and human-like capabilities of AI look very promising. In fact, Andy Peart of Artificial Solutions wrote, "By 2020, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be as critical to business and customer service as the website was 20 years ago, or the mobile app was five years ago."

AI is already being adopted in various industries, and this will only grow as the technology matures. By helping manage simple customer interactions and streamlining complex processes behind the scenes, AI may just become the secret ingredient for supercharging customer experience.

The New Reality
While the promise of AI is not yet fully realized, the IoT is becoming more commonplace, and with new technologies emerging all the time, the potential for continually improving field service operations is limitless. Once technologies become increasingly integrated into existing support channels, this will not only free up employees to focus on other tasks, but also create new ways to delight and retain customers. Now is the time to incorporate the Internet of Things into the customer service strategy, not just as a competitive edge, but to continuously engage with an organization's most valuable asset—loyal customers.

Paul Whitelam is the group VP of product marketing at ClickSoftware, where he works with field service management leaders across a variety of industries. Paul has more than 20 years' experience in enterprise software, working on both the technical and business aspects of many of the areas that are fundamental to field service, such as mobility and sensor technology (Nokia), data management (Endeca), and machine learning, software-as-a-service and GIS (ClickSoftware).

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