Passer directement au contenu principal

We'd prefer it if you saw us at our best. is not optimized for Internet Explorer. For the optimal experience, please use:

Close Deprecation Notice
RTIM blog

Real time – real value: A guide to Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM)

Norma Suarez,
Partager Share via x Partager via LinkedIn Copie en cours...
Connectez-vous pour vous abonner au blog

Have you ever faced frustration when interacting with a company's service, like your bank or insurer, where it seems like one hand doesn't know what the other is doing? If so, you've encountered a lack of Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM) - a critical gap in modern marketing and customer service engagement strategies. RTIM is all about effective personalization - delivering the right experience to the customer at the right time, across any touchpoint, tailored to their individual needs and current context.

What is Real-Time Interaction Management?

Forrester defines RTIM as "Enterprise marketing technology that delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer lifecycle via preferred customer touchpoints." This approach integrates across various technological domains, including data, analytics, marketing, and customer experience (CX), aiming to create a seamless, personalized customer journey.

RTIM is not a one-size-fits-all solution; it’s a more modern approach to customer engagement and it's a market of diverse technologies that cater to different aspects of customer engagement. Some more traditional RTIM vendors focus on next-best-product or offer strategies, primarily for marketing and e-commerce. But leaders have shifted towards next-best-experience (NBX), emphasizing a holistic view, incorporating Customer Journey Orchestration (CJO), Real-Time Decisioning, and Customer Journey Analytics (CJA) to enrich the entire customer lifecycle beyond mere marketing.

Combining Technology, Culture and Business Needs

There are additional factors besides the existing technology investments that influence an organization’s approach to RTIM. Unique business needs, skillsets, and organizational structure and culture are equally important ones. Nonetheless, many times what organizations don’t realize is (at least not right away) that their existing technologies can be leveraged to enrich this new NBX RTIM approach. Here are some examples:

  • Next-best-experience Decisioning Engines: Serve as the "brain" of RTIM, leveraging real-time data and AI to optimize the customer experience across all channels.
  • Customer Journey Orchestration Tools: Design, build, and manage customer journeys, often integrated with decisioning engines for a comprehensive approach.
  • Customer Data Platforms (CDP): Enhance RTIM by aggregating and activating customer data to drive personalized experiences.
  • Enterprise Martech Solutions: Include personalization tools primarily for digital channels, focusing on customer acquisition and conversion.

Implementing RTIM offers myriad advantages, from fostering genuine, empathetic customer interactions that inspire loyalty, to ensuring every engagement is timely, relevant, and adds value. By centering the customer in all interactions, businesses can achieve a seamless omnichannel experience, ensuring consistency and personalization at every touchpoint. Moreover, RTIM enables an always-on engagement model, adapting to customer behaviors in real time to maximize every interaction's impact.

Navigating the Challenges of RTIM Implementation

As Heraclitus once said: “The only constant is change.” Without change there’s no learning, growth, or new wins. There are many reasons why organizations may struggle to adopt RTIM. Resistance to change is at the top of that list, but there are critical technology challenges to assess.

  • Data: The pursuit of perfect customer data is ongoing, yet many organizations lack a comprehensive data infrastructure. While data transformation initiatives vary in progress, waiting for perfect data is not conducive to enhancing customer relationships. Activating first-party data and combining it with the right RTIM system is a great catalyst for that.
  • Technical debt: Organizations often struggle with fragmented systems, overlapping technologies, and outdated tools, creating significant technical debt. A unified RTIM system could streamline technology investments, enhancing customer experiences and achieving business goals more effectively by consolidating essential functions and reducing complexity.
  • Integrations: Keeping pace with rapidly evolving technologies is a constant challenge. Prioritizing technologies that support the entire customer lifecycle without hindering it is crucial. RTIM stands out for its ability to integrate diverse systems, from customer data management to analytics, fostering a seamless customer experience. The 2023 Martech Replacement Survey highlights this capability as a key factor in organizations' decisions to update their marketing and customer experience platforms, often driven by the goal of improving customer or digital experiences.

Adopting an RTIM approach is not without its hurdles. However, the journey towards effective RTIM is incremental, allowing businesses to evolve their strategies and technologies at their own pace, leveraging existing investments while gradually incorporating new tools and approaches.

Artificial Intelligence and RTIM

Most RTIM vendors provide basic AI capabilities such as predictive AI and machine learning. However, AI capabilities for NBX decisioning can vary widely based on the type of models and available access, model adaptability, management and deployment options, scalability, and embedded Responsible AI features such as fairness, transparency, accountability, explainability, and compliance.

What isn’t always available widely and is critical to successful real-time NBX decisioning is AI-based “re-decisioning.” This adaptive AI capability reads real-time data signals and adapts to that information to ensure that the customer interacting with your brand, receives the most relevant and timely action – repeatedly – even seconds after new signals arrive. Without adaptive learning that customer is unlikely to receive the correct, personalized interaction in their moment of need. And this is the secret sauce of true RTIM.

Driving success and the future of RTIM

There are different ways of measuring the success of RTIM strategies. Although all are valuable to the business, being overly focused on short-term transactional revenue gains can bring unwanted opportunity costs for future growth. Forrester recently stated in their 2024 RTIM Wave that they’re seeing “an increased focus on ROI, customer lifetime value (CLV), operational efficiency, and servicing costs.” Organizational efforts to measure customer outcomes, loyalty, and engagement are now reaching beyond acquisition and conversion metrics.

The future of RTIM is bright, with ongoing advancements in technology and strategy continually enhancing its potential to deliver unmatched customer experiences. As businesses become more adept at balancing customer needs with their objectives, RTIM will play an increasingly central role in fostering long-term, valuable customer relationships. The continual evolution of RTIM strategies, underpinned by AI and analytics, promises not only to meet but to anticipate customer needs, setting the stage for a new era of customer engagement where personalization, efficiency, and empathy converge.

To learn more about how RTIM is creating value for brands and customers alike, download the 2024 Forrester RTIM Wave.


Défi: Engagement client Groupe de produits: Customer Decision Hub Industry: Tous secteurs Thème: Expérience client personnalisée Thème: IA et prise de décision

À propos de l'auteur

Norma Suarez, MBA, MPM, and Pega’s director for marketing and AI-decisioning competitive intelligence, is an evangelist for one-to-one customer engagement and responsible AI.

Partager cette page Share via x Partager via LinkedIn Copie en cours...
Partager cette page Share via x Partager via LinkedIn Copie en cours...