The goal of customer journey orchestration is to improve journey outcomes by enabling the most relevant interactions in the context of each customer’s goals and their overall experience. Customer journey orchestration enables enterprises to engage prospects and customers at optimal points along their journeys, in real time and through the most effective channels. Many CX, marketing and operations leaders ask how they can use customer journey orchestration to deliver better, more personalized experiences that will improve CX and business outcomes. In this post, I’ll discuss how organizations are using customer journey orchestration to improve personalization decisions across all channels and touchpoints, enhance CX and achieve their business goals.
What is Customer Journey Orchestration?Customer journey orchestration is an approach used by customer-centric enterprises to improve journey outcomes in real time by taking the most relevant interactions in the context of each customer’s goals and their overall experience. Journey orchestration goes beyond traditional personalization techniques. It leverages customer journey data from every channel, source or system. This way, each interaction reflects your customer’s entire experience with your organization—not just the current interaction. As a result, every moment of engagement is highly personalized for each individual, because the interactions a company takes are based on each customer’s prior experience.
Who Benefits from Customer Journey Orchestration?Ultimately, there are three major beneficiaries for customer journey orchestration:
- The Customer
- The Business
- The Bottom Line
What Journey Orchestration is NotWhile customer journey orchestration might sound familiar, it’s important to distinguish between it and other approaches that sound similar. These approaches may already exist or other may push them as an alternative to attain your organization’s elusive personalization goal. Some of the approaches often confused with customer journey orchestration include:
Marketing Campaign AutomationMarketing campaigns are typically based on customer behavior from one or a limited number of channels. This is often the case because marketing campaign management systems typically contain data from the limited set of customer interactions that marketing controls, primarily web and email. This subset of the customer experience is not sufficient to enable journey orchestration, because customer journeys are not constrained by marketing channels.
Real-Time Interaction ManagementReal-time interaction management (RTIM) is a capability that B2C marketers use to help brands deliver more contextually relevant experiences. According to Forrester, “RTIM aligns outbound marketing campaigns with inbound, customer-initiated interactions to ensure relevance.” A common RTIM use case is the dynamic updating of offers on a website. For example, a telecommunications provider might promote new mobile phones for a customer who is due for an upgrade. Let’s say the customer purchases a new phone and the company’s offer changes to promote phone accessories. However, the customer never activates their new device. Clearly there is an issue. However, the company doesn’t recognize it because they are focused on the customer’s current interaction, rather than the larger journey or her overall experience. In contrast, organizations that use a journey-based approach can take a much more comprehensive set of behaviors into account, including inaction in a parallel Device Activation Journey. They orchestrate actions that help the customer achieve their overall goal (activating their new device) instead of annoying them by myopically pursuing the marketer’s goal on a particular web page (completing another upsell). As with campaign automation, RTIM often falls short for the customer. It’s more focused on improving the marketer’s effectiveness than improving the customer’s experience. While RTIM focuses on the importance of context, the context employed is typically limited to current and recent transactions, rather than a customer’s overall experience with the company.
Process MiningMany chief financial officers, CIOs, digital officers and operations analysts rely on process mining to document, analyze and improve the efficiency of business workflows. Process mining provides analysts and managers with an easy way to analyze event logs within enterprise transaction systems.
- IT service management
- Master data management
- And others
What’s Driving the Need for Journey Orchestration?Customer expectations for personalization have evolved immensely. Behemoths like Amazon and Netflix have transformed consumer expectations and influenced the experiences consumers demand from their banks, cable and wireless companies, and even health insurers. Unfortunately, many enterprises under deliver. Since sales, marketing, customer service, operations and billing all engage directly with customers, many organizations can’t integrate data across business functions and touchpoints. This often results in irrelevant and inconsistent customer experiences. In a recent study, less than a third of organizations say they are effective at engaging customers with the right experiences at the right times through their preferred channels. Additionally, CX professionals report that their top two personalization challenges are data/organizational silos and limited capabilities arising from a lack of integration.
Data and Organizational Silos are Personalization BlockersCustomers want every service interaction to be tailored to not only their persona, but their individual preferences, history and current needs. But as Forrester notes, customer-facing employees typically “lack customer context and cannot access the right knowledge and data” to do so.
How to Move Up from Personalization to Journey OrchestrationHere are five key steps you need to take to advance your organization from simple and ineffective personalization to customer journey orchestration.
1. Decide Whether to Use a Centralized or Federated Approach to Journey OrchestrationIt’s just a fact that sales, marketing, customer care, operations, billing and other functions all engage directly with the customer. So in a typical enterprise, customer-facing teams individually develop a variety of systems over time to interact with and gather data on customers. So, how can you orchestrate the optimal experience when each touchpoint they manage already has embedded personalization logic?
2. Embed Journey Orchestration within a Robust Customer Journey Management ProgramGetting personalization right pays dividends. Enterprises need an approach that enables them to interact with customers based on their unique journey context, not just their most recent interaction in a siloed touchpoint. Journey orchestration is most successful when embedded within a comprehensive customer journey management approach, which enables teams across your organization to improve CX and business outcomes simultaneously.
- Define signals and KPIs that indicate journey success
- Monitor and measure journey performance
- Prioritize underperforming journeys for improvement
- Take actions to optimize journeys that matter
3. Choose an Orchestration Approach that Aligns with the JourneyThe key to graduating to the next level of personalization is aligning your enterprise on a journey-based approach and harnessing the capabilities necessary to determine the best action to take with each customer. The next step is to select an orchestration approach that makes sense for the journey you’re focusing on. As discussed earlier, the key benefit of journey orchestration is to improve personalization decisions by bringing the full context of each customer’s holistic experience to every interaction. So, use an API-based approach to improve real-time interactions at individual touchpoints by bringing each customer’s overall experience right to the point of interaction. In this way, enterprises can find out, for example, what actions an inbound caller has already taken in order to send them to the IVR or a specific support team. Sometimes it makes more sense to reach out and communicate with a customer or group of customers at a specific point in a journey. In cases when it’s better to push out communications, use an audience-based orchestration approach. An audience-based orchestration approach allows teams that engage directly with customers to activate and update audiences based on customer behavior, either on-demand or at a specified frequency. For example, a marketing team might activate an audience of customers that is about to receive a paper bill via email, web pop-ups, digital ads or even outbound calls.
4. Align Internal Teams on a Unified Orchestration InitiativeTraditionally, personalization at each touchpoint falls under the purview of the touchpoint owner. So, the marketing team manages complex personalization logic within marketing engagement systems, like email, advertising and the company website. The customer care team oversees the call center, IVR, chat and other customer service channels.
5. Pick the Right Technology to Enable Journey OrchestrationLastly, prioritize technologies that facilitate journey orchestration by supporting enterprise-level journey management programs. Sophisticated platforms support both centralized and federated orchestration approaches, as well as provide the means to measure, analyze, manage and collaborate around customer journeys. Consider your current capabilities and your organization’s goals. Evaluate the landscape of orchestration platforms to understand which technology best fills the gaps in your CX tech stack.
Now It’s Your TurnEvolving from traditional personalization to customer journey orchestration is a competitive advantage. Customer-centric organizations are investing in journey-based approaches like customer journey orchestration to improve customer experience and maximize business success. Remember, journey orchestration can enable enterprises to improve business outcomes but most importantly, this approach helps your customers reach their goals and enhance their experiences.
A version of Advance from Personalization to Customer Journey Orchestration originally appeared on the Pointillist blog.
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