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Take a Bow Millennials: The IoT is a Reality Thanks to You

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It’s not that millennials came up with the idea of IoT. If we look at the history of IoT, we were tinkering with connected machines from the early nineties. Aside from a few precocious tweens, most millennials were still learning at school rather than making waves in IoT. “IoT is a realityâ€� — this trend is finally becoming true. Dreamed of by computer nerds everywhere for decades, we’re finally seeing a fully connected world. And, while millennials take a lot of flack for other things, here they get all the credit.

Let’s Understand the History

However, the technology at the time was hopelessly inadequate. No one could’ve made those now-antiquated systems operable. Do you remember Cellnet? Probably not. Hardly anyone does. Compared to today’s technology, it was low in bandwidth and completely insecure. Even a baby boomer could hack those networks today.

What sets millennials apart here, however, is that they grew up knowing that the IoT would be a reality. Baby Boomers watched sci-fi shows like Star Trek, and these sparked some ideas, perhaps. At the end of the day, everyone knew that such technologies belonged to the realm of science fiction.

Millennials, on the other hand, grew up as Trekkies started to make some of those futuristic creations a reality. The Star Trek crew walked around with hand-held or touch-activated communicators and scanners. You could locate someone using their communicators. The medical team would use the scanners to read biometric data.

We all carry a similar, albeit more basic, form of this technology in our mobile phones and biometric scanners today. Baby boomers were the dreamers. Millennials saw the fruition of some of those dreams and so became believers.

And while IoT adoption was slower than most believed, the big players committed to improving the infrastructure. Dell pledged $1 billion in 2017 to the future of the IoT to become a reality. Google, Amazon, and Apple also all invested heavily in IoT at the time.

The Situation As It Stands Now

Just three years later, the situation is very different. We now have smart speakers, thermostats, security systems, cars, and many more smart devices.

According to industry projections at the end of 2019, the reality of IoT is one of the new decade’s tech booms. The number of connected devices should hit the 50 billion mark by 2030.

IoT is a reality

Source: Statista

That’s an average of seven devices for every person globally, and a stark rise from the 2018 average of about three per person.

There’s a buzz around the IoT, and it’s not going away anytime soon. And we have millennials to thank for that.

Why Millennials?

Representing 75% of the global workforce by 2025</a>, millennials are the force to be reckoned with.

They were the early adopters and chose to stay connected. This generation was the one hardest hit by the subprime lending crisis in 2008. They’ve learned the value of a shared economy.

They’re now one of the primary economic forces globally. And that means they’re in a prime position to ensure that their IoT goals are met. They’re the ones that are driving many of the SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS solutions that we see today.

The IoT is a big part of the new sharing economy, so it’ll endure.

IoT Reality-How the Sharing Economy Is Changing the World

Another example of the sharing economy is asset accumulation. For the baby boomers, owning your car and house was a status symbol to achieve.

Today’s nouveau riche prefers to pay for what they use rather than acquire an asset outright. They buy assets that they can earn an income through. They no longer, however, invest in depreciating assets any longer.

IoT plays an essential role in the pay as you use model. Someone running an Airbnb property, for example, can use digital locks. They provide the password to the new users. When the person leaves, they generate a new code.

Up-and-coming young people may also choose the pay-as-you-go model for service reasons. IoT technologies built into a vehicle, for example, may monitor driving performance. Those that drive more carefully might receive preferable rates going forward.

Owners may track vehicles and detect when there’s a break-down or collision. They could dispatch emergency services or roadside assistance immediately. These are little things that provide additional benefits. The system may remind them to stop at a gas station or report for a maintenance check.

Naturally, there are concessions to make. Should they drive poorly, they’ll pay extra for your rental.

Still, considering the immediate drop-off in value when you buy a brand-new car, it might be worthwhile. With a pay as you go model, upgrades are easier than with an owned vehicle.

These are just some examples of how the sharing economy and IoT work hand in hand to improve service delivery. It’s not all sunshine and roses, however.

The Loss of Privacy

This, again, might be something that we have millennials to thank for. They’ve grown up in an environment where privacy takes on a whole new meaning. Many share everything online, It’s a culture that, by its nature, means any information is up for grabs.

In all fairness to them, they were among the first generations to fully embrace social media. At the time, no one could foresee the long-term consequences of such a pairing. Twenty years ago, the idea that commenting on a public forum might lose you your job was ludicrous. Today IoT is a reality.

The misuse of technology was inevitable. Even so, who could have foreseen something such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal?

Recap of the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

In 2014, the free Facebook app, “This Is Your Digital Life,� was released. A few hundred thousand people downloaded the fun app. It didn’t seem like a big hit. It was, however, ideal for the developers. The app allowed them to harvest the app users’ data. It also gave them access to the data of anyone connected to them on Facebook.

An investigative reporter broke the story a year later. It was too late -the damage was done. As it turned out, the information harvested was used in developing Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

There have been several scandals since that made this one seem tame. But it’s fair to say that the Cambridge Analytica scandal was the one that shocked the world into a realization of the dangers of sharing data.

In this instance, the information wasn’t collected for malicious reasons. The researchers didn’t use it to commit identity theft or any equally nefarious purposes. However, they did use it to influence the outcome of politics within one of the world’s superpowers. That’s frightening.

We’ve singled out social media here, but the sharing economy enables most companies to harvest data from their clients. There are several other instances that we could cite here.

Other Surreptitious Data Shares

Take a smart thermostat, for example. It’s convenient and links into a phone app for ease of control. What users seldom realize is that many models also transmit usage data back to the manufacturer.

The companies collect this information to understand their client needs better. They use it to improve their product offerings. Is there a massive outcry over this kind of monitoring? It seems not. Many users accept the tradeoff if they perceive better service delivery.

Another sterling example is the free antivirus software, Avast. Last year, the firm got caught out and confirmed that it tracked 400 million users’ browsing habits. It then “de-identified� those users.

What did it do with the information? IT sold it off through its Jumpshot division.

According to Avast, the company sold no personally-identifying information. Experts, however, questioned the efficiency of the process used to strip the data.

The revelation didn’t destroy the firm, which is a testament to how little we value our privacy. Instead, it saw a 7.93% rise in adjusted earnings. It seems that consumers accept that real privacy is a thing of the past. Many are willing to let it go if they feel adequately rewarded.

Naturally, they feel somewhat differently about when that information is used to their detriment. That brings us to the next project for our creative millennials – securing the IoT.

Securing the IoT

The IoT is in use in almost every aspect of our daily lives. Everyone with a smart device is part of the collective. That brings with it enormous possibilities. It also puts a higher burden of care on these devices’ manufacturers.

Let’s look at a simple office environment. Firms may have smart printers, screens, tablets, desktops, laptops, smartphones, bulbs, thermostats, and even coffee machines. They all form part of the IoT reality. Each unit is a potential access point to the company’s online systems.

In case you think we’re a little paranoid, think again. Forbes recently reported that Martin Hron, a researcher at Avast, conducted a little experiment. Hron decided to see how secure the coffee maker in the office was.

It sounds ridiculous, but it was child’s play for him. The device had no in-built encryption. He was able to read the firmware. It took him minutes to take control. The router didn’t protect against the attack because the device acted as a Wi-Fi point on its own.

You may wonder what the point of this exercise was. After all, a coffee maker won’t lead you to world domination. Hron, however, proved that it could make a handy ransomware tool. He ran several cycles of the machine. Each cycle created a noisy distraction in the office.

The office workers’ only option was to disconnect the device. If they powered it up, the problems started all over again. Hron was in a position to demand a ransom to call off the attack.

It seems like a stupid issue. The firm would be more likely to buy a new coffee maker than pay the ransom. What happens, however, if it’s a busy coffee shop with a machine worth thousands?

Is a Simple Device a Backdoor?

More importantly, what if other devices in the network are equally vulnerable? It’s also worth considering that the machine can link to the company’s router. Could it give a determined hacker access to the firm’s sensitive data? Could it help them take down the server?

It’s a valid concern. Most people will have heard of a DDoS attack. This is where a hacker uses a bot army to crash a company’s servers. With the internet of things, that bot army might well be lurking in the firm’s offices.

We’ve listed the number of smart devices that firms might use. Should a hacker gain control of those devices, they may pull off a simple denial-of-service attack. During such an attack, the company’s own network’s tools flood the server with service requests.

The results might well be deadly. Each device on the network is authorized to operate within it, so the requests won’t trigger alarms. At best, the server’s performance will slow. At worst, it’ll crash.

A determined hacker could demand a ransom to halt the attack. They might also earn money by working for a company’s competition.

It seems incredible that a smart bulb might be a cybersecurity threat. It’s something to consider in our increasingly connected environment.

Encryption protocols are typically used to protect data. If the device doesn’t contain data, the manufacturer might see no reason for such security.

Regulators in the United States and worldwide have already noted this threat. They’re currently working on ways to improve the overall security of such devices.

In the interim, it’s something that our millennial friends need to put their minds to as well. We’re sure that they’ll come up with workable solutions.

Final Notes

The IoT was an idea born decades before its time. Now that its time is here, we find that it has almost limitless promise. It’s hard to deny, however, that there are some serious security concerns to overcome.

Being continuously connected leaves us vulnerable to cybersecurity threats that no one saw coming. Who’d have thought that a simple coffee maker could become the center of such a debate? Still, the generation that is responsible for the reason why IoT is a reality today could well be the one to solve the potential security issues.

The post Take a Bow Millennials: The IoT is a Reality Thanks to You appeared first on ReadWrite.

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Customer Experience with a Millennial Mind

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It’s not how we’ve always done it, and that’s a good thing. Here is a guide to creating a customer experience with a millennial state of mind.

Millennials’ communication styles are different from prior generations. Younger workers appear to have a clear preference for visual content, particularly videos. When faced with an issue, they’ll watch a YouTube tutorial to figure out how to fix their broken vacuum rather than dust off the text-heavy owner’s manual.

Many millennials’ preferred methods of connection and communication involve an abundance of emojis, GIFs, memes, and acronyms.

How will your business connect to this generation? How do you create a customer experience that will make an impact and create a loyal customer out of this generation? Chances are, many of your employees are part of this generation and the customers they’re interacting with are their peers.

Enabling your employees with the communication tools necessary to connect in the ways that are natural for them is essential in providing high-quality customer interactions that can improve satisfaction, increase referrals, and drop churn like it’s hot.

The Ultimate Guide to Stand Out with Millennials

Business owners who pay attention and apply the technologies that are central to the millennial’s world do so by using the tools they already interact with on a day-to-day basis.

As you learn millennials’ language and communication styles, you’ll gain insight into creating a high-touch, personalized experience using software specialized just for that. Customized and highly personal is the key to creating a meaningful experience while simultaneously improving your bottom line.

Here are five key concepts that will help you break through the noise and tailor your customer experience to Millennials.

  1. Be Authentic
  2. Show, Don’t Tell
  3. Work Around Their Schedule
  4. Speak Their Language
  5. Know Your Audience

1. Be Authentic

‍Millennials conduct copious amounts of research before they make just about any purchasing decision. Because so much is available, data has shown that millennials are more likely to make decisions for their money and their life based on their values.

A Nielsen report found that 73% of millennials will pay more for a product that is sustainable— and the word “sustainableâ€� is equated with “trustworthinessâ€� in a millennial’s mind.

How will you stand out? Emanate authenticity.

Our millennials are people who been inundated with choices their whole lives and their generation is spoilt with them. You can bet the one thing — they know how to differentiate everything. The Millennial knows the better from the best — it’s kind of like knowing the difference between a pair of Yeezys and a pair of Feezys, or Ray Bans from Ray Berries.

Your product and team have a story. Tell it with transparency to invite connection with people both in and out of your company.

Be Trustworthy

Trustworthiness and transparency allow you to connect with customers in an authentic way. Go beyond the taglines and offer information. Present knowledge that isn’t typically required or shared on a product label or business brief — such as the brand story.

Tell how your brand may be contributing positively to the world, and how much your company upholds honesty and integrity with its employees and clients.

It’s often independent initiatives that provide this information to millennials, but this extra effort is important — don’t pass up the opportunity to do it. You extra effort could be the very thing that sets your company apart from the competitors.

Some examples of ways to communicate authentically include having an ‘About Us’ page on your website.

Have your social media engagement up-to-date and interesting to create community. Opt for live-streams with a webcam recording software as opposed to a formal press release information.

Couple these well-founded efforts with communication software that speaks the way millennials do, and you’ve found yourself a pair of listening ears. Have your spots at least for 8 seconds — that’s the amount of time it takes for millennials to decide whether they’ll move on to their next option.

Be careful with using AI to completely replace your customer support. If not done properly, your AI effort can cost you customers and loyalty.

Authenticity in Action from G2

G2 Crowd, for example, embraces this concept by creating personalized videos to share with their potential customers.

Using screen recording software and annotated screenshots have enabled the company to grow to over $7m in its sales pipeline because of the connection aspect that videos provide.

Matt Lazares, G2 Crowd Enterprise Account Executive, said of video capture software “…We are able to reach out to people that we typically can’t connect with.â€� (Read more here.)

2. Show, Don’t Tell

Counter-intuitively, but not surprising, millennials value efficiency and speed over service.

They are, after all, the generation of convenience. Quick, efficient, speedy — all reasons why products like cupcakes, makeup, and even bike parts can be bought from vending machines.

It stands to reason that the customer experience journey today should steer away from clunky information portals and automated messages and focus on talking with customers the way they talk to each other. Use intuitive apps to show exactly the message that needs to be conveyed.

Find ways to showcase your product through tutorial videos, use cases, and images that can be key to building loyalty.

Clear Messaging is key

Frustration exists in communication when messages aren’t clear. Lousy messages are prevalent in companies from customer support to onboarding, marketing, and sales departments (to name a few).

Take a close look at your customer and potential customer you’re trying to work with. Think about the work required to answer a question that’s rather easy to show, but arduous to explain via chat/email/over the phone. All customers have their preferences — but your millennial customers are special and you want to reach them.

There’s also the inconvenience of schedules not matching up to jump on a call and do a “quickâ€� demo. Think screen recording software — millennials love it. 

A brilliant solution is screen recording software. It works like this: a sales rep takes a recording of her screen. She can explain every step of her demonstration clearly as a talking head in the top corner of the computer screen as she simultaneously runs through her process.

The person may even use the GIF creator to show another client a quick method to navigating her product’s dashboard–super simple, and easier seen than told.

The use of a screen recorder, snipping tools, and a GIF creator completely cuts through wordy, textual barriers to deliver precise communication. Using a screen has to be authentic — it’s real. A screen is efficient — no-extras communication needed. It’s also a sleek, streamlined communication tool that optimizes the customer experience.

Video, video, video

Customer support teams using product management tools like screen record and screen share mitigate time-consuming (and frustration-inducing) processes.

Product management tools help them promote the effectiveness of their product and actively soothe the customers who are most likely to churn. Utilizing these tools creates an experience where information is clearly stated without pain points that arise when using chat, phone calls, and tutorials that don’t cover specific questions.

It is safe to say that productivity software that implements video will find success and create a long-lasting impact with millennials.

Why not make a quick video to show exactly how your product works?

A staggering 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. (That’s billion, with a b.) Our society is used to watching videos, likely because video content is a great tool to learn, easy to consume, and a convenient way to digest and retain information on-the-go.

Understanding the value of video is huge for sales teams. Today’s customers are 95% more likely to remember a call to action after watching a video, compared to 10 percent who read a call to action in text format.

Videos and GIFs create a unique experience from other ways of receiving information.

There’s data to prove that your videos will be a hit: a Ragan study reported that more than 60 percent of millennials say they understand information faster when it’s communicated visually, versus just 7 percent who don’t.

3. Work Around Their Schedule

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Generation Y has seen a significant rise in the number of employees working remotely. Gallup found that from 2012 to 2016, the number of employees working remotely rose by four percentage points, from 39% to 43%, and employees working remotely spent more time doing so.

Nontraditional schedules are becoming the norm thanks to innovations in technology and companies vying to have competitive benefits packages (like extended parental leave policies, unlimited PTO, etc.).

Additionally, millennials are prepared to work after they leave the office, and often do. These facts have contributed to the demand for digital, cloud-based collaboration tools and productivity software. Being able to provide digital communication outside the 9-to-5 is invaluable, and it may also be the only time to reach some of your customers.

Providing content with video recording software that can be referenced at any time is not only convenient, but ensures that you’ve got an evergreen piece of material with the potential to make an impact the more it’s passed around and viewed.

As cloud computing quality and accessibility continue to mature, demand increases.

Businesses are shifting to cloud-based collaboration software solutions and consequently find eager and adaptable users (both in-house and for communicating with customers). Providing visual references to your customer makes the customer feel that you’re aware of and sensitive to their time and specific needs, further nurturing the customer journey.

4. Speak Their Language

Consolidating the number of products an individual uses is key for millennials’ need for efficiency.

Using screen recording software takes a small amount of time and helps to avoid any miscommunication, because of the personalized demonstration aspect. Clear, concise interactions are key to making customer interactions positive (and ensuring they’ll continue the conversation).

In most cases, the ability to send a quick and easy video recording prevents company reps from having to hop on a call to explain something to a customer or keep a customer engaged in a chat (and good luck if you type something wrong).

Chances are high that you have experienced a time when you, perhaps begrudgingly, spent too much time on the phone with customer support or hearing a sales pitch. The right tools can eliminate those issues.

Visual communication appeals to customer success and support, product, and sales teams in businesses because of the intuitive nature of the product and concentration of a myriad of connection-driven needs in one hub.

Companies save time, and their customers save time. Businesses also use the product management tools of this communication software in a wide variety of ways, including:

  • Onboarding new customers
  • Prospecting and closing new clients
  • Demoing product features
  • Providing product feedback
  • Reporting and tracking bugs and issues
  • Building team training/knowledge wiki
  • Explaining complicated workflows
  • Sending updates to teams or clients
  • Answering customer support tickets

5. Know Your Audience

‍Generations Y and Z are heavily visual creatures. If you’re already struggling to connect with this subset — it’s time to sprint so that you don’t miss out on connecting with the next round of tech-savvy humans that are beginning their entrance into the workforce.

Younger individuals today are growing up with the internet, smartphones, and social media as a rule, not an exception.

They’re already well-versed in the areas that millennials had to learn. Millennials may remember the sound of dial-up internet while Generation Z doesn’t know life before WiFi.

According to Forbes, Gen Z individuals use an average of five screens (compared to a millennial’s three). These include a smartphone, laptop, TV, desktop, tablet, and even a smartwatch. This drives home the importance of shifting toward value in technology.

What’s more, if they’re interested in learning something new, Gen Zers will take it upon themselves to learn it.

Our millennials are highly proficient in self-education.

Thirty-two percent of Gen Z (7 to 24-year-olds) watch lessons online and conduct research by watching videos. Using visuals will help you to secure Gen Z as well.

Key Takeaways to Millennial-Approve Your Customer Experience

‍Affecting the customer experience all comes down to authentic communication, communication style, and the ease with which you do it. The common thread above is the significant need for more video content and adaptation to communication software.

Find productivity software that employs features such as screen recorder, snipping tools, and GIF creators. These are the features that will help you talk with your millennial customers to create a positive experience.

Someone who has a positive experience with your company is more likely to become a loyal customer.

Seventy percent of the customer’s journey is dictated by how they feel they are being treated. When you’re using your video capture software to walk a customer through a process or a complicated question be authentic.

Use the technology to facilitate a deeper connection with your customer.  You will have created a millennial-approved, positive and forward-thinking customer experience.

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