RTIM and Journey Orchestration: a formidable partnership

We’re often asked about the benefits of ‘in real time’ by CX and marketing practitioners. We hope this post helps to demystify the category of Real-Time Interaction Management and explain its relationship to Customer Journey Orchestration.

What exactly is RTIM?

Even the category name is a daunting one; Real-Time Interaction Management – otherwise referred to as ‘RTIM’. But don’t be put off by another acronym – RTIM is an important capability that is very powerful at facilitating a Moments-Based approach to marketing, sales, and service, and something we’re big proponents of at Thunderhead.

Forrester defines it as ‘Enterprise marketing technology that delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer lifecycle via preferred customer touchpoints.’*

In short, it’s the magic that happens behind the scenes to make sure that your customers get an in-the-moment interaction from you, on a channel of their choice. Think well timed abandoned cart email.

Getting RTIM wrong is easy, with an incomplete picture

However, most brands only apply RTIM to a siloed part of the customer journey. There are many perils with this approach; as a customer, I’m sure at least one of the following situations has happened to you…

  • The offer of an expensive service package on a new car but the car has been returned to the dealer with faults
  • An auto renew on your insurance when you’re in a midst of a disputed claim
  • Payment being withdrawn from your account for a service, e.g. broadband, when the service is down
  • A better mortgage offer when you’d just signed up for 2 years with the very same lender

You’re far less likely to renew or repeat your purchase with the brand. You’re more likely to be frustrated, annoyed and lose any feelings of trust you had built up over time. Misinformed RTIM can do more damage than good and the consequences are stark – customer switching, brand damage and overall negative impact on Customer Lifetime Value.

These examples of well meant ‘real-time interactions’ are working with incomplete information, especially critical customer journey context.  The Insurer, for example, knew you were up for renewal and knew which products you would be interested in – so it was accurate to an extent. But it didn’t know you were having a terrible time with the Claims team.

RTIM can certainly recommend a next-best-experience but without the ability to apply context from across the customer’s 360 journey(s), without an understanding of intent, behaviour and omnichannel context – journey orchestration – across the entire customer lifecycle, the recommendation is based on partial information only and is most likely to be wrong.

Getting RTIM right: Enter Journey Orchestration

This is where RTIM is intrinsically linked to Journey Orchestration (JO) – RTIM can be seen as the in-the-moment executional part of a journey, with JO mobilizing the optimal combination of insight and resources to either satisfy the customer goal, or progress the customer toward the goal through a recommended action (or series of actions).

In real time, orchestrations are aware, in-the-moment, of all customer activity – meaning they are always contextually relevant and individualised to each unique customer.

By itself, RTIM can be useful, but without journey context you’re effectively flying blind. As part of journey orchestration, however, RTIM becomes are much more powerful tool, driving engagement and brand advocacy, and a far more valuable investment for your brand.

We have been named a Leader in both Forrester’s 2020 Waves for Journey Orchestration and Real-time Interaction Management. You can read both Wave Reports in full, here:

Download the Forrester 2020 Wave™ Report for RTIM

Download The Forrester 2020 Wave™ Report for Journey Orchestration

In the Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q1 2019, Thunderhead was cited as providing many of the RTIM capabilities for Salesforce’s Interaction Studio: “Forrester recognizes Thunderhead as a Leader for journey orchestration and visioning, and incorporating these features into Interaction Studio bolsters native Salesforce functionality for next best experience and customer journeys.”

Thunderhead has also been included in Forrester’s Now Tech: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q2 April 2020 Report, which reviews 42 enterprises and tech businesses.

If you’d like to know more about RTIM or would just like to have a chat, do get in touch

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