Internet of Proactive Customer Engagement


Michael McLaughlin

January 12, 2015

Connected Service is the future of post-purchase dialogue with customers

From a customer standpoint, a typical sales cycle is split into pre- and post- purchase phases. Pre-purchase is that time when sales guys promise the moon. There’s no pulling back from the active engagement –demos, freebies, and timely follow ups. The buying decision is a milestone; from here, depending on the industry vertical, businesses must initiate a new phase of engagement and service. And broadly speaking, the post purchase phase is where agreements are rare, maintenance costs are high, and service levels drop to abysmal levels.

Indeed, there are exceptions, and some manufacturers have bridged the divide between pre- and post-purchase phases.

For instance, John Deere offers PowerSight, a solution that gathers data from customers’ connected equipment, generates machine health alerts, allows equipment to be remotely programmed, and provides tips on improving machine utilization and reducing operating expenses. Power management expert, Eaton, monitors connected UPS systems with its eNotify Remote Monitoring service.

General Motors’ OnStar, a full-scale, subscription-based telematics suite covers communications, in-vehicle security, hands-free calling, navigation, and remote diagnostics across North America and China. Bosch connects vehicle owners with third-party workshops, with its remote vehicle diagnostics solution.

These services range from sharing basic product information and remote operational capability to performance enhancement support. The revenue models are diverse too. Some services are bundled at the point of purchase, offered at no additional cost for a limited period. Specialized add-ons are priced on subscription, depending on the breadth of expertise at stake. Services on offer may be provisioned by the manufacturer or integrated, to be offered by third-party vendors. Stakeholders in the ecosystem are hence a point of differentiation.

But the hard-hitting fact of connected services is that none of the technical gibberish really matters. What matters is the outcome that’s delivered – reliable cars and machines, uninterrupted power supply in the context of references discussed above. Unfortunately, while a majority of firms offer basic information services, remote operability and performance enhancement support are a rare commodity.

Earlier this year, Capgemini Consulting conducted a study of Internet of Things (IoT) products and services offered by over 100 leading companies in North America and Europe across seven industry groups. While 58 percent offer basic information support, less than 30 percent extend remote operability. And, performance enhancement support is provided by 34 percent of the firms surveyed. Only 13 percent provide IoT solutions that can be integrated with third-party providers, and a staggering 70 percent of the firms are yet to monetize the services, according to the report.

The report confirms that the market for IoT systems is growing exponentially. There are no longer technological barriers and business cases are measurable and immediate. However, IoT solution development often calls for capabilities that businesses lack. The choice is to partner with experts, develop the capability and play catch up, or to acquire niche players at expensive valuations. Our research indicates that close to 60% of organizations are using partnerships as a viable approach to develop IoT solutions, with varying objectives.

With its Connected Service solution, Capgemini is helping leading manufacturers leverage Petabytes of data generated by their products to craft personalized, post-purchase dialogues with dealers and customers. Do share your experience of leveraging the Internet of Things for proactive customer engagement and your approach to developing IoT capabilities.

Look out for part 2 of this blog post on Digital Transformation and Testing with SMAC technologies.

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