Imagine if a brand really listened to what we have to say instead of pushing what they want us to hear? Sounds like a far-fetched idea, doesn’t it? With hundreds of thousands of customers, or prospective customers, how could a large company possibly find the time or resources to truly listen to each and every one of us? And if they did listen would they actually change anything to make our customer experience better? And how would they do so?

As consumers in our own right we see examples on a daily basis of how badly some companies are servicing their customers. However, with the right customer engagement solution in place, significantly improved and more relevant service is not only economically and practically feasible, it’s becoming a critical differentiator. This directly translates into being more competitive through interacting effectively in real-time with customers who appreciate being treated “properly”. These customers will buy more or be more loyal to brands they believe value their business.

A key issue is that only a few strategic thinking companies have advanced from having a “website strategy” to the next critical step of building a true “listening platform”. This enables more intelligent information gathering, way beyond storing and measuring “clicks” and “likes”, says Julian Ardagh, CEO of Effective Intelligence (EI).

The critical strategic steps for a company to consider when moving from a “website strategy” to making use of an intelligent customer engagement hub are:

Start out by

  • Investing in a flexible Digital Platform that allows you to gather “identification” information on every prospect to your website and to collect powerful behavioural information on how and what they interacted with on your website.
  • You’re likely to be quite surprised by how much information one can gather. Using it effectively means enlisting the help of specialists with expertise in this area.
  • This information can be used to understand more about your customers and their needs and how you should be communicating with them.
  • It should be stored and accessible in a 360 view customer centric Orchestration Hub, which enables you to develop intelligent customer journeys.


Now that you have all of these insights, it’s time to make some changes:

  • This intelligence should inform how you change your website to gather more powerful information from visitors. In addition to this, it will dictate how to improve visitor behaviour, maximise responses and conversions and reduce abandoned visits.
  • A “must have” is the ability to remember a visitor’s last “journey” to your website. This knowledge allows you to offer them an enhanced experience based on their previous actions.
  • To significantly improve response typically by 50% plus, the use of a segmentation model like the EI “Analytical Market Optimisation ” customer lifestyle model will assist in optimizing the communication message and offer to the right target markets segments.
  • Predictive analytics can then be used to interact intelligently and suggest the next best action or offer which may include “handing over seamlessly” to human service personnel.

An intelligent system that can remember their previous behaviour and then predict or improve their journey across all customer touch points as they progress in real-time is what makes a true Customer Engagement Hub invaluable and a key differentiator in attracting and retaining customers.

What are the key differentiators?

A critical differentiator between a company that thinks strategically and those that don’t is that the former recognise the need to invest in a “listening platform” and gather data to inform their insights, says Ardagh. They know that this listening and data gathering process should be conducted over a three to twelve-month period to build up and understand the intelligence.

During this period they can start operationalising the insights that inform “low-hanging fruit”. In doing this, they know a sizable amount of data has to be gathered and analysed before they can develop predictive models that drive decision making .

IX Real-time, EI’s Customer Engagement Hub, which is integrated with a leading Gartner “Visionary Digital Marketing Hub”, makes it possible for businesses to gather and evaluate information about their customers that they can then use to connect and strategically respond to what customers require, across multiple customer touchpoints.

But how does all of this work in practice?

Ardagh takes an example from the motor industry. A recent study by eBay Advertising found that 87% of people on the hunt for a new car cite the web as a crucial part of their car shopping process? A similar study by global market research company JD Power highlighted that this trend occurs because many car buyers would rather avoid personal interactions with sales assistants at dealerships who pressurise them into making hasty decisions.

To avoid these awkward interactions, a brand should interact with their prospects based on an understanding of their online activity. These potential customers should have their preferences confirmed and relevantly enhanced through a properly constructed sequence of Customer Journeys and online adverts. As an example, we’ve all notice the adverts displayed while we’re browsing the web. Smart brands will ensure that these ads only show the car model and colour the customer has shown an affinity for. At a suitable point, a free test drive of the chosen car can then be offered along with a personalised financial package.

Every time they revisit the web page they will see their last choice visually as their start point. This approach dramatically reinforces the brand and service experience.

This new way of engaging with customers sees advertising and marketing evolving from being perceived as interruptions, to being seen as services, notes Ardagh. Companies that make this change successfully offer customers real value and personalised experiences in exchange for their attention.

To find out more about IX Real-time and how EI can help you really hear what your customers have to say, please do get in touch with 086 100 0452 .