What is real-time customer experience ( CX ), and why is it relevant?
CX is the totality of the interactions, perceptions, and affinity developed with a customer when interacting with your brand. CX experts perform research and run focus groups to gather experience data, all in an attempt to get enough information to understand consumers’ likes, dislikes, and behavior. The process of gathering behavioral data and testing prescribed journeys that might be best for a customer takes time and all too often siloes people into a one-size-fits-all experiential “box.” What kind of paint-by-numbers journeys can I create for my consumers that will make them love my brand?…
The short answer is you can’t, and you shouldn’t.
- It’s not just the diversity of all your customers makes this problematic. The different paths your customers take makes it almost impossible to create a journey in advance.
- Real-time CX is not about wedging people into one of a dozen pre-conceived paths: it is about reacting to a change in a customer’s journey as it is happening.
- A great sales or customer service agent has the innate ability to understand a customer in the moment of interaction and react in real-time. Subtle cues, instinct honed years of practice are instantly applied to the situation at hand.
Can one create a system that can deliver this type of real-time, in-the-moment experience at scale? Digitally?
- Yes! This is where data and AI come to play. Traditional data modeling and AI consume massive batches of information to create predictive models, some models being better than others. This process takes a lot of time, and introduces lags between modeling and responding back to a customer. Many companies have sophisticated marketing technology stacks orchestrating actions and offers at a moment’s notice. Sill that does not solve the problem around Real-Time CX because of those lags. Taking 5 seconds to generate something a month old is Real-Time something, but not Real-Time CX.
- The answer to Real-Time CX comes from streaming data in and out. Real Time CX is lag free, at scale. Traditional systems fail as while they are architected to react to a customer action really fast, they can only use a finite set of pre-determined actions, and they have to use the most updated model.
- Data streaming facilitates is bringing the data of a customer’s journey, across different channels, into the system at the earliest available time, then allowing the models to make up-to-the-minute predictions based on a customer’s most recent behaviors, providing relevant information, offers or actions most appropriate for that moment.
- What Real-Time CX means for businesses is that enterprise marketing departments can enable “actions” and make “offers” to enhance customer engagement and grow top-line revenues. Ideally, the business wants to optimize the incentive spend to utilize the lowest cost actions and offers for the KPI targeted in the most appropriate channel. This approach drives a better customer experience, increase satisfaction, reduces churn and improve the efficiency of the incentive spend.