Exploding Three Common Myths about 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 life cycle via preferred customer touchpoints.”

My email inbox is full of irrelevant offers, despite the fact that I’m told each one is perfect for me. “Delete” and “Opt Out” are my favorite responses. Companies know that “spray and pray” marketing doesn’t work anymore and are turning to real-time interaction management (RTIM) technology in hopes it will increase offer uptake. 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.” Unfortunately, too many RTIM implementations are based on myths that only exacerbate the irrelevant customer experience.

Myth #1 – The more data, the better

Delivering a relevant experience often relies on the “360º” view of the customer. There’s a belief that if we can gather up everything we know about a customer, then we will know how to treat the individual. But data without context can do more harm than good, overwhelming a contact center agent who is trying to help a customer make a buying decision or failing to take into account a customer’s reaction to an offer, for example. While comprehensive data is critical, technology needs to merge this data with understanding of the current context of the engagement.

Myth #2 – Analytics solves the context problem

It’s true you need analytics to help you gain context. However, as Forrester points out, not all analytics tools are created equal. Typically, predictions about customer behavior are modeled 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. True RTIM requires the ability to adjust decisioning in real time, arbitrating between multiple recommended offers or actions based on what is actually happening during the conversation.

Myth #3 – As long as you use digital channels, you are doing RTIM

According to Forrester, analytically driven emails and personalized web sessions are the most common RTIM use cases. But using a few digital channels is only the tip of the RTIM iceberg. What’s really required is a coordinated strategy across online and offline channels. For example, if a customer gets a direct mail offer, logs into his or her account online to check it out and engages in an online chat, every channel needs to be aware of the initial offer, working together to continue the conversation knowledgeably and seamlessly.

What happens when you do RTIM right

British telecom giant EE is a great example of how properly implemented RTIM can deliver substantial value. EE combines real-time context with big data and analytics to create and present one-to-one offers across multiple channels. During an interaction, any new information that changes the view of the customer and the situation is used to immediately recalibrate the top three offers. Using RTIM this way, EE has quadrupled the number of successfully accepted offers, retained an additional 4% of its most valued customers each month and tripled the customer value achieved during retention.

A little bragging is necessary

Here at Pega, we do have to do a little bragging as Forrester puts Pega’s RTIM capabilities at the top of the list in its Forrester Wave: Real-Time Interaction Management for Q3 2015. Check out the article to learn a lot more about RTIM and find out why Pega rates so highly.


Pegasystems was cited as a leader and received the highest score in the current offering category among 11 vendors who were evaluated against 35 criteria in The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q3 2015.

Download the report to learn more.