The ability to interact with consumers in real time was once the stuff of science fiction. Having the capability to see what customers are doing on a site or in an app at any given moment, or having a timestamp on when an email was opened (or deleted), is fairly technical but fascinating stuff.
The technology to reach out and actually connect in real-time with consumers offers an even greater opportunity above and beyond delayed analytics for effective sales. This real-time interaction has the power to make a sale where one may have been abandoned in the past.
So what is the latest in real-time interaction management, and how can your business benefit?
Gathering data about customers is just the beginning of guiding the buyer’s journey. Marketers need a combination of that data and context. For example, the plan needs to be flexible in case a customer who is targeted based on past behaviour on the site, suddenly alters his or her behaviour.
Matthew Nolan writes this about real-time interaction for Pega, a consumer engagement platform: “Typically, predictions about customer behaviour are modelled beforehand and then applied during an interaction. The trouble is that the predictions remain static, while each interaction is a fluid event in which customer needs and interests can change.”
Real-time interaction management takes outcomes into account and recalibrates. Data alone is not enough. Real-time interaction evolves.
Customer context is about so much more than a single interaction. To really understand the journey and probability of a sale, marketers must be able to access the bigger picture conversation. Emails based on analytics and real-time web session chats, top how marketers reach customers in decision-making moments. But there are so many smaller moments that lead to that point that matter a lot.
A customer who receives an email offer, or even one through postal mail, who then visits a site or app related to that promotion should not be treated as brand new. It’s important that marketers and automated systems know what marketing materials the customer has already received. This saves steps and also zeroes in on what offer has struck that person’s interest.
Marketers must be waiting for customers with a proactive approach to interactions. When a customer finally engages a chat session or clicks a link from an email, it’s vital to know exactly what came before it. There should be a host of data available on the potential customer, from basic demographics to location to past behaviour.
For example, let’s say an online retailer is sending out an email offer to their customer base for a pair of designer sunglasses. Prior to sending out that email, real-time interaction management software can identify up-to- date events associated with each individual in that email list to personalise the offer to them.
Real-time interaction management offers a proactive approach to interaction with customers
In this example, right before the email is sent RTIM identifies the weather has turned rainy in New York City and sends customers who are located there an offer for an umbrella instead of sunglasses. The customer doesn’t know the offer has been specifically tailored them at that moment but finds the offer relevant to their current needs.
The more a marketer knows about a customer before he or she takes the “first” step, the better the chance of connecting the right way.
Real-time interaction is brimming with opportunity for marketers, and it benefits consumers, too. Finding the right way to intertwine real-time interaction into established marketing plans is vital to building a company’s bottom line.