A new chat-tool suite creates a personalized, interactive marketing engine, working from a customer database.
Posted Mar 25, 2005
InterSight Technologies unveiled iMatter this week, a suite that allows salespeople to deliver offers to repeat costumers based not only on their previous behaviors, but also on their attitudes--right down to the words they use in online queries. The product provides a way for companies to analyze online chat and email content to produce a personalized interactive marketing engine that works from a customer database, according to the company.
Companies can create detailed, segregated customer profiles by gaining an understanding of how individuals actually do business with them, says Jim Tisdel, president and CEO. "It's a way to offer [deals to] the right person based on their interests, rather than blindly going into the anonymity of the Internet and [broadcasting] pop-up messages. Customers get back information that's specific to them in the way they want to interact." The two-year-old company began as a chat tool, but because others provide that capability, InterSight created an analytical tool that users can plug into any CRM program, according to Tisdale.
Mike Garrett, director of business systems for Palace Sports and Entertainment--parent company of basketball's Detroit Pistons, researched several companies providing online chat functions, but chose InterSight because of the product's analytics. Now the team can offer special deals not necessarily advertised on the team's Web site. The result was a 3-to-1 ROI over the past year. "We can go in and say, 'Show us the percentage of people asking about Pistons ticket information,' " Garrett says. Without the software employees would have to go through all the chats and tabulate the information themselves. "We're not in the chat business, we're in the ticket-selling business. Knowing just a little bit more about a customer is going to increase your hit rate."
For example, many teams offer special packages to sports fans looking to purchase several games at once. Instead of just spreading a wide message to everyone who visits the Pistons site, a customer who in the past has engaged in chats about what Chicago Bulls game tickets were available and visited the Bulls Web site may get asked if he would be interested in buying a package to a handful of Pistons-Bulls games. It is up to a sales rep to determine whether the customer looks like a good candidate and attempt to engage him in a chat and choose which script is the best fit.
When Palace Sports and Entertainment agreed to test iMatter, Garrett says he wanted to be sure he wouldn't have to increase the number of sales reps or increase their burden. But only five reps at a time are logged on and it is up to them to identify an opportunity and run with it. Training was mostly just about the technology, which, according to Garrett, people are familiar with because of instant messaging.
Garrett was also concerned about maintaining a positive customer experience and not being intrusive, but he says the feedback has been good, and most people are receptive to it. Next, the Pistons will begin analyzing customer emails using InterSight's technology.
"You have this information. It's all in the database--do something with it," Tisdel says. "It has a tremendous halo on brand awareness. You're telling that customer how important they are to you, instead of how great the product is. People want to know that you're reacting to them and see them as individuals. Provide that next level of personalized relationships."
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