COVID has slowed down our culture, but the business world is chugging along at lightning speed—and making decisions in real time has become critical for leaders, especially when it comes to communicating with customers. Real-time decisioning technology can play a critical role keeping customers happy, reducing churn, and improving the customer experience in the face of ever-increasing expectations, according to new research from business software firm Pegasystems.
Although the firm’s newly released global study, conducted by research firm Savanta, found real-time decisioning tools are now more important than ever, it also highlighted that some barriers still exist to both widespread adoption and maximizing the technology’s potential.
“The world’s getting smaller and more digital every day, and organizations have to work hard to provide a customer experience that stands out in an increasingly crowded marketplace,” said Rob Walker, general manager, 1:1 customer engagement, Pegasystems, in a news release.
“Moments of opportunity can open and close in a second or less, and real-time decisioning tools can help grasp them by taking into account a customer’s immediate context and using it to significantly increase relevance where it’s needed most. The time to tear down implementation barriers and embrace real-time decisioning is now. Companies will be rewarded by staying one step ahead of the competition and providing a hyper-personalized experience that will delight customers by being relevant.”
Key findings include:
Real-time decisioning can help make business priorities a reality
Sixty-eight percent of respondents said that keeping up with increasing customer expectations was their top priority—a challenge given that 46 percent of organizations reported a high rate of customers don’t engage with communications, and 43 percent see a high rate of customer churn.
In addition, 49 percent of businesses admitted to high numbers of customers raising complaints and issues. However, those already using real-time solutions reported happier customers (63 percent), reduced churn (61 percent) and even an increase in the acquisition of new customers (55 percent).
1:1 engagement and real-time solutions are both becoming more important
Eighty-two percent of all respondents familiar with real-time decisioning agreed that COVID-19 has made the use of real-time decisioning technology more important. Meanwhile, 77 percent of businesses agreed that to be successful, they must engage customers individually based on their behavior and preferences (up slightly from 75 percent when a 2019 Pega study asked the same question). Sixty-three percent agreed that mass marketing to customers is a thing of the past (compared to 60 percent in 2019), suggesting a sustained move towards engaging with customers individually.
People, not technology, are the biggest barriers to adoption
When asked what the challenges were to their company implementing real-time decisioning, 78 percent of those not currently using real-time tools cited issues with people. This included 31 percent who cited a lack of employees adopting the necessary technologies and process, 30 percent who pointed to a lack of people with the necessary skill sets, and 29 percent who felt a lack of support or sponsorship from senior business leaders.
Meanwhile, 58 percent of those not currently using real-time decisioning cited technology or operations issues as a challenge to adoption, with 29 percent pointing to a lack of data or analytical capabilities. Twenty-six percent cited regulatory and/or compliance constraints and 23 percent blamed poor or outdated technology as an obstacle.
Many businesses are not making the most of real-time decisioning tools
Of companies currently using real-time technology, only 38 percent were re-scoring and re-decisioning on a real-time, continuous basis. This means that although they were seeing some benefit from decisioning, they were not fully maximizing its potential. By using the technology in real-time and not hourly, daily or weekly, organizations could start to see far more tangible benefits.
To understand how real-time decisioning is defined in the market and how organizations are tackling customer experience challenges in this new era, Pega conducted a global survey of over 3,500 participants in 11 countries and across six key industries.