What is Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM)?

Wendy White | April 1, 2019

Real-time interaction management (RTIM) plays a critical role throughout the entire customer lifecycle. As hyper-personalized experiences become table stakes, brands must rise to meet customer expectations and deliver relevant omnichannel experiences – in real time.

Let’s get real about RTIM and the steps you must take to deliver effective real-time interactions that maximize engagement, lifetime value, and revenue.

Level Setting: What is RTIM?

Perhaps you buy a drill that you plan to pick up in-store (BOPIS). You arrive at the store 15 minutes later and at checkout, the cashier makes you an offer for a portable charging station instead of drill bits because you already purchased those online last week.

That’s just one example of RTIM.

Forrester defines RTIM as enterprise marketing technology that delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer life cycle via preferred customer touchpoints.

Essentially, RTIM is all about finding relevance at the intersection of your customer, your brand, and time. To achieve this relevance, you must understand:

  • Customer context
  • Customer cadence

Customer context encompasses recent transactions, behaviors, preferences, and – most importantly – intent. Understanding your customer’s unique context will enable you to deliver the most relevant next-best offer.

And as the old adage goes, “timing is everything.” The right offer has to be combined with the right timing, or cadence of the customer.

It’s important to note, “real time” could mean different time frames for different brands. For instance, if your customer buys online and picks up in-store, you want to make her the next-best offer at checkout, which might mean minutes or hours. But if your customer contacts your call center about a problem, the customer support representative must have all her information in milliseconds to make the next-best offer over the phone.

 Why Prioritize RTIM?

Customers are in charge of their unique buying journey, and they expect seamless, personalized experiences. In fact, 52 percent of consumers will switch brands if one fails to meet their expectations. Getting RTIM right reduces your risk of losing customers to competitors and increases retention rates.

Effective RTIM contributes to other key engagement metrics; average order value, share of wallet, and customer lifetime value all benefit from your brand executing highly relevant customer experiences.

One consumer packaged goods (CPG) company saw an increase of 144% in revenue after overcoming data silos and orchestrating personalized real time experiences across their omnichannel environment.

To keep up with your consumers and competitors, RTIM isn’t a nice to have – it’s table stakes.

 Barriers Between You and Effective RTIM

The biggest challenges for marketers to overcome lies in customer data.

In a recent benchmark study conducted by Harris Poll Research and RedPoint, the barriers preventing marketers from meeting customer expectations are:

  • Customer data is available but lacks the depth required to produce new levels of performance gains
  • Fragmented engagement systems that fail to connect or deliver a unified view of customers across touchpoints
  • Marketing is the only team fully invested in data-driven customer strategy; other teams and stakeholders are not on board
  • Unable to keep pace with customers’ expectations for real-time omnichannel engagement
  • Siloed customer data that remain inaccessible across the entire organization

The proliferation of digital touchpoints and the endless surge of marketing technology contributes to the situation we find ourselves in today. The average marketer utilizes 10 engagement systems (i.e., CRM, marketing automation, mobile, eCommerce, website, and more), and 65 percent of marketers say the number of engagement systems makes it harder to provide a seamless customer experience.

Without precise and accurate identity resolution, we can’t understand customers across all touchpoints. Attaining a holistic, 360-degree view of each customer is the first step toward effective RTIM and without it, we risk alienating customers with irrelevant experiences.

 Capabilities for Effective RTIM

Forrester also notes that the three critical capabilities for RTIM are: speed and agility, data-driven personalization, and cross-channel optimization.

Speed and agility refer to your ability to serve relevant messaging at the customer’s moment of engagement or interaction. Data-driven personalization encompasses the ability to integrate online and offline touchpoints and automate messages that treat each consumer as a segment of one. Lastly, cross-channel optimization refers to leveraging machine learning to run A/B/multivariate tests regularly to determine ideal strategies and continuously improve engagement.

How do you achieve these abilities? Once again, the answer lies in your customer data.

In order to orchestrate personalized messages across the omnichannel in real time, consider your ability to:

  • Connect all data sources and types
  • Identify customers across channels to create a Golden Record
  • Leverage machine learning to analyze customer circumstance (context and cadence) and predict intent
  • Determine next-best actions

While the customer controls their journey, you need a single point of control over customer data, decisioning, and interactions so you can execute the personalized experiences customers expect.

These analytical capabilities are now available to marketers from within customer engagement tools – so there’s no need to hire data scientists or rely on IT for support in these areas.

A customer engagement hub helps marketers surmount the obstacles that customer data presents. These platforms connect and aggregate data across your existing martech stack, then cleanses and processes that data – accurately resolving identities across touchpoints – to give you a unified view of every customer.

Next, the customer engagement hub analyzes customer transactions, behaviors, and preferences while leveraging machine learning and advanced modeling tactics to determine and automate next-best actions for every customer. Actionable insights are made available across the entire organization, informing every team that interacts with customers.

Finally, this solution enables brands to deliver those actions, offers, or messages in the right channel at the right time, creating the seamless and hyper-personalized customer experiences that increase engagement, retention, and lifetime value.

What’s next?

The path ahead isn’t as daunting as you think. RTIM is achievable with the right approach.

Start by addressing your customer data and build a Golden Record – the always-on, always-updating view of your customer. Consider starting small, using available data to execute personalized outbound campaigns through one channel.

Next, progress from a single channel to multichannel approach, testing, tuning and optimizing as you go.

Finally, analyze your inbound and outbound strategies and focus on your ability to recognize customer context and cadence across the lifecycle. A solid foundation of integrated, connected customer data and machine learning models will enable you to successfully manage real-time interactions.

The RedPoint Customer Engagement Hub™ solves your fragmented, siloed data issues and helps marketers intuitively run advanced analytics that power personalized, real-time omnichannel customer journeys. Leveraging this solution transforms how you deliver customer experience, driving critical engagement metrics and increasing revenue for your business.

If you’re ready to get started with RTIM, book a meeting today.

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Wendy White
Wendy White

Wendy is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at RedPoint Global. She is a skilled digital marketing strategist, a tireless evangelist for marketing relevance and has guided dozens of F500 brands to become omnichannel enterprises. Wendy has extensive industry experience in hospitality, retail, media, and technology. Prior to RedPoint Global, Wendy was a Strategy Principal with the Strategic Services Division at Acxiom.