The explosion of marketing channels means organisations are engaging in a myriad of ways with millions of smart customers – all of whom expect to be recognised, valued and rewarded for their loyalty. Moreover, they are looking for joined-up experiences on different devices and across all touchpoints. With all the clicks, taps, swipes, submits, posts, likes and shares on the growing number of digital channels, it is not surprising that there has been such an obsession with the volume of data that this generates. However, as this particular fascination with size begins to fade, many organisations are discovering it is the immediacy of data that needs the closest attention.
The data revolution is about time not space
You do not have to be a data scientist to know that the more quickly you react to someone’s immediate needs the better the result. It is therefore surprising that as online behaviour
floods in from every angle, there are frustrated marketing teams watching as massive opportunities to recognise and reward valuable customers in real time slip through their fingers.
If you are investigating real-time personalisation, then you are not alone: it is one of the top priorities for marketing to consumers this year, according to the latest industry research. Despite this focus, organisations cite both technology and know-how as challenges preventing them from joining up the dots fast enough.
As consumers we are quick to adopt new technology and fresh ways of doing things, but as businesses that change is much more of a challenge. As psychiatrist RD Laing said: “We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.”
Most of us can relate to this exponential rate of change since we have already amassed a wide array of legacy platforms, customer relationship management databases, web analytics, campaign management tools, email services, social media platforms, analysis and reporting engines. It seems that no sooner have we implemented a new technology than we have something else to bolt on.
The harsh reality is that the speed of implementation is being outpaced by the rate of change required to stay in front. Adding the capability for real-time personalisation, however, forces us to think differently: it is not about another tool but about changing the way we manage and use customer data.
Technology alone will not deliver success. You only have to talk to others on this path to learn that it is not what software they have, but what they have done with it that counts.
It is easy to see why we data geeks are so excited; in the past, we could piece together what the customer experience was like only after the event. It was like being the manager of a restaurant, but only being allowed in after all the customers had gone home.
If we wanted to understand the ‘experience,’ we had to rely on great detective work. Had they made a reservation? Had they been to the restaurant before? What did they order? What was left over? Did they leave a tip? We would use these clues to predict how likely people were to come back based on their visit, how much they would spend next time, what might tempt them back and what we should offer them the next time we saw them.
But what if, instead of waiting, we could sit with our guests while it was all happening?
Today, not only can we see what is being ordered first hand, we can also observe the decision-making process taking place and the conversations happening around it. Suddenly, we can influence not just future interactions but those taking place right now.
This is the land of real-time customer intelligence, where the data is so rich and powerful that we can do things that our predecessors could have only dreamed of.
Real-time customer intelligence
A real-time customer intelligence service offers a smarter, faster approach, not just for handling real-time personalisation, but for fundamentally challenging the way we think and access data to deliver great customer experiences.
Multichannel data moves through businesses at different velocities, much like water travelling
in differing currents. Some organisations have a centralised data warehouse that collects a rich pool of data, but this can often leave it miles away from where it is most needed – in the middle of the live customer ‘conversations’.
A real-time customer intelligence service taps into the data as it flows into an organisation and carries it to the customer conversations taking place on different channels. It combines the technology and the know-how needed to handle thousands of interactions at once, recognising valuable customers and personalising their experiences. By reacting to customerdtats’ live activity, real-time customer intelligence can spot out-of-pattern behaviour, trigger emails, change webpages and even prompt customer services calls.
For instance, you can inject personalised content into a website based on who the customer is, what you know about them and the context of what they are doing in real time.
Companies get access to a much more dynamic environment without the need to implement or replace internal systems. In this way, businesses can add real-time capability to their existing tools and get access to ones that they need.
We now have the data, technology and know-how to optimise customer interactions in real time,
but one key challenge for businesses remains – quickly generating the evidence of potential returns before investing. Thankfully, a real-time customer intelligence service is a fast, easy and cost-effective way of experiencing the quick wins that real-time can deliver.
If your business is struggling to join things up in real time but wants to get the right message to the right person right now, then maybe it is time to consider a different approach – preferably before the competition decides to do the same.
For more information on real-time, download R-cubed’s free white paper here.
Sales and marketing director
136-140 Old Shoreham Road
T: 01273 220 510