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The Data Framework Needed to Power Real-time Decisioning

This is part of a series of blog posts about the Merkle Connected CX Cloud, and how this solution addresses the key use cases and most critical challenges our clients face in achieving a robust ROI from their CX technologies, practices, and strategies. Read part one here.

Analytics is the defining thread that pulls across your entire business, underpinning every decision and fueling constant innovation and improved customer experiences. It can help you answer questions and make change by deciphering which markets to expand into, measuring performance across channel partners, modernizing reporting tools, and improving data governance. As customers opt in, log in, and subscribe, this data can be used to build and scale the right audiences and enhance measurement to better understand which tactics are moving the needle.

The leading brands today can anticipate customer and prospect behaviors, applying real-time decisioning to present next-best offers and shape personalized customer journeys based on individual needs.

What does great decisioning look like?

A decisioning engine acts as a central brain that sifts through all the possible actions, and ultimately determines which one is most likely to be successful to fulfill the customer’s need in the moment.

Decisioning can be a powerful tool for any business. For retail and food service, it could be an influential bridge between online and in-store, giving customers offers at the point of sale, ensuring that the best offer (if multiple apply), relevant add-ons, and applicable information (such as birthday, anniversary, etc.) are available on-screen for employees to elevate customers’ interactions.

In the high-tech world, decisioning is prominent when trying to onboard more users to a software. Once a license is sold, the company must service all its users by building individual journeys based on what product they are using and how they’re interacting with it. For example, if you own an office suite software, decisioning can help you provide relevant content to teach your users about key features they are accessing to help them get the most from their investment.

What is needed to power decisioning?

First and foremost, organizations must be able to bring in all customer data at the speed it needs to be utilized. As customers click through a channel, accurate data must be used to change behavior as actions happen, down to the second. To do this, all customer data should live in the cloud to scale up as actions occur to prescore and respond in real time, giving customers and prospects the most relevant experience for them. You don’t want to display recommended offers for something they just purchased, or worse, promote that same product with better pricing than the consumer paid.

It is also critical for organizations to have a clear understanding of where to direct customers within the journey. These actions should be based on business goals, with each action helping move toward meeting those goals, such as selling a specific item or service.

Common decisioning pitfalls to avoid

The first and most common pitfall that we see when clients attempt decisioning is organizational siloes. Every organization has them and it’s pivotal to work through them. For example, if an email team’s main goal is to garner clicks, these programs will undoubtedly fail out of the gate. This is because the organization must instead align toward outcomes that benefit customers as opposed to a channel or product-specific performance.

The next common mistake is that organizations try to bite off more than they can chew at first. It is critical to start small, gain incremental wins, then improve and grow as you learn. Don’t try to do it all at once right out of the gate. Start small, gain momentum and ROI, then expand the program. By starting small, you’ll gain internal champions that can help scale up and educate the team.

Want to learn more about the Connected CX Cloud? Download the guide here to learn about the capabilities needed and other use cases that it can power.