What is Customer Journey Orchestration?
Customer journey orchestration uses data at every step of the customer journey to help businesses understand their needs and desires better. It is a process that helps businesses keep their customers engaged, providing them a holistic and personalized experience that is coordinated through multiple communication channels.
In customer journey orchestration, businesses leverage data resources. This data is collected from various communication channels with the ultimate aim of predicting the actions of customers, personalizing marketing, and perfecting delivery of a product or service. The outcome is campaigns and communications that are tailor-made for each customer.
The strategy and toolsets of customer journey orchestration focus on the overall experience that the customer has with the brand, rather than focusing on how the customer ended up purchasing something from the business. This goal is to increase the lifetime value of the customer by ensuring the customer has a positive experience right from when they make the first contact to the delivery and use of the product or service.
It costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than to retain existing ones, so reducing customer churn and increasing customer happiness should be goals for every organization.
Customer journey orchestration is based on the ability of a business to connect their customers through different touchpoints, revealing preferences of engagement. For instance, some customers might like to see a promotional email in the morning, while some others scroll through the website during lunch break, and others prefer social media ads. Information like this can help in personalizing the campaigns in a more targeted and successful way.
Real-time data is a crucial component of customer journey orchestration. It’s vital that organizations understand the decisions that are made and why they are made. When, where and how do customers interact with their brand? For example, if a customer opens a link to the brand website through a sales email, and then visits the website and makes a purchase, then that customer can likely be reengaged through the same channel. However, if there is no response to the email sent, the engagement strategy may need to be adjusted for that individual.
The customer journey orchestration strategy is an advanced process through which businesses can optimize customer experience using technology to prepare tailored content for each individual customer, providing the best experience possible.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies are heavily used by customer journey orchestration platforms. ML analyzes and predicts customer behavior on a scale much more efficiently and accurately than manual processing could. The findings of ML can help businesses make informed and timely decisions, predicting the customer’s future behavior based on their historical patterns. This way, the right content can be provided to the right customer at the right time for maximum impact.
Importance of Customer Journey Orchestration
For most businesses, customer engagement is managed by different teams at different levels, across sales, marketing and customer service. As a result, these engagements and their results are often siloed and inconsistent. Customers can experience different campaigns and strategies across the organization, which often leads to a poor, fragmented customer experience. Contemporary customers demand integrated experiences with the business as a whole instead of going through siloed experiences across different departments. This is where customer journey orchestration is needed.
Imagine a customer trying to buy a software as a service (SaaS) tool. They start researching the product, and that will start off interaction with the top-of-the-funnel marketing department. The marketing department will hand over the lead to the sales department for further interaction, and hopefully a sale. Once the customer has brought a product, if they encounter an issue, they’ll reach out to the customer service department.
However, in the case of a product issue, the sales and marketing teams may be unaware that the customer is having a bad experience with the product and continue reaching out with additional products and upsell opportunities. This is a poor customer experience.
In a similar situation, if a customer journey orchestration process was used, the marketing and sales team would automatically be informed that the customer had been facing issues with the product, and would stop upselling communications until the issue has been resolved successfully and the customer is satisfied.
By tracking, logging, and analyzing customers’ cross-channel behaviors, businesses are able to better predict the next steps of customers and capitalize on them for a more positive and personalized customer experience.
In the era of digital commerce, customer journey orchestration is not just a supplemental feature but a fundamental pillar of the business plan.
Personalized Contact for Unique Customers
Every individual uses different devices, shops at different times for different products, and expects that the business will incorporate their preferences into their shopping experience. Customers use multiple channels of communication, and businesses should be ready to engage with the customers when and how it suits them. They also expect that they will be given information about the products they are interested in, not anything and everything that’s provided by the business.
Better Communication with Customers
The customer does not expect businesses to mindlessly promote products until a purchase is made. This is called the ‘spaghetti’ tactic, where organizations throw marketing spaghetti at the wall and hope that something sticks. Instead, what customers want is for businesses to understand their needs before bombarding them with promotional content.
When customers share their data with a business, they expect the business to use this data to provide a better experience to them. A clear customer journey orchestration strategy helps elevate a customer’s every interaction with a brand.
Need for Personalization
Personalization is the pillar of modern marketing and provides a competitive advantage in the digital marketplace. Customers receive hundreds of marketing messages throughout the day, but what catches their eyes are the messages tailored to their interests. Journey orchestration helps businesses prepare marketing strategies customized for every individual instead of sending out mass messages that may or may not be applicable.
Imagine twin teenage sisters. They live at the same address, are in the same parental income bracket, are same age, and go to the same school. But when shopping for clothes, one loves feminine outfits and gets her inspiration from TikTok, while the other favors a more artistic, alternative look and is often found on Reddit. Despite everything being equal across demographics, there are clear differences between how they should be approached as potential customers.
How to Map a Customer Journey
Mapping a customer journey is helpful in understanding how orchestration works across a customer lifetime. It includes five simple steps:
1. Brand awareness phase: Become a trusted brand for customer
2. Consideration phase: Customer weighs options between different trusted brands
3. Decision phase: Customer chooses their brand for obtaining products or services
4. Retention phase: Remarketing to customer and keeping them engaged
5. Advocacy phase: The customer becomes a champion for the brand
These are just basics and do not address all of the nuances of customer experience. When it comes to preparing a detailed roadmap for engaging with an audience or customers and providing solid customer experiences, organizations must deep dive into their specific customers’ needs and marketing and sales techniques.
There are three steps that should be taken to do this.
Collect the Right Data
Having access to the necessary data is incredibly important when it comes to crafting a thorough customer journey. Everything from consistent customer experience across all channels to product recommendations and tailored and personalized communications depends on accurate data. There are multiple types of data that need to be collected from different sources.
- Events: Behavioral data can be collected through user’s actions on websites, applications or mobile browsers
- Customer attributes: This includes name, contact details, addresses, and birthday of the customer
- Transactional data: This type of data can be collected through purchases, returns, and other similar actions from the e-commerce system
- Customer service data: This data can be collected from the customer’s interaction with the customer service team including live chat data, frequency of interactions, length of conversations, and other type of data from the customer relationship management (CRM) system
A customer data platform can help businesses collect and organize all such data to get a holistic view and behavioral pattern of every customer. It’s important to remember that not all data is relevant either; data collection is expensive to store and disseminate, and data scientists spend a huge amount of their time cleansing data. Don’t blindly collect everything.
Creating an Omnichannel Approach
An omnichannel approach can help by providing good customer communication across all channels. This should help to ensure that the same service and quality is provided on every channel. This applies for all customer engagements, whether it’s on a website, in a physical store, or on social media. If a customer is desperately trying to find out where a late and missing parcel is, they shouldn’t have to contact an organization through multiple channels in order to elicit a response.
Seamless experiences are very important in executing great customer journey orchestration strategies. Customers need to be engaged the way they want to, and where and when they want to, and every channel of communication must reflect the same customer experience.
Analysis, Reporting, and Optimizing
Customer journey orchestration depends on activation of real-time data. This means that the business insights and analysis must be efficient and comprehensive. The insights need to help businesses instantaneously connect the dots for a campaign so they can predict the next intent of the customer.
Insights must capture answers to questions like what type of content leads to customer’s website sessions, and which channels are they likely to engage with next. Insight reporting should determine the best message, action, channel and time to provide the ideal customer experience.
Benefits of Customer Journey Orchestration
Incorporating customer journey orchestration strategy can help businesses in multiple ways, from seeing a stronger return on investment (ROI) to increased order values, and better customer engagement leading to customer loyalty.
However, the biggest advantage that any business gains from adopting journey orchestration is the fundamental shift in their marketing strategy. Customer journey orchestration is the future of businesses and traditional marketing strategies aren’t performing any more.
The strategy should be designed in a way that it can respond to the change in the customer’s behavior in real-time. This allows businesses to see the influence of their marketing strategy in real-time. An example is the decline of X (previously Twitter). If an organization relied upon Twitter for any aspect of their customer service and marketing, most would have noticed a measurable drop in engagement as users left the platform. This, hopefully, would have corresponded with an uptick of traffic elsewhere, and more weight could be placed on that platform.
Without a sound orchestration strategy in place, the business’s marketing strategy is often unable to influence the individual decision of each customer (or even reach them at all). Without data from all communication channels, connecting with customers isn’t possible.
Having a more customer-centric approach that monitors all communication channels allows businesses to capture the unique behavior of every customer and accordingly prepare the best personalized experience for them. Also, real-time information about customer behavior helps businesses to make delightful customer experiences.
Reducing Gaps in Customer Service
It is frustrating for customers if they must make multiple inquiries with customer service teams to get solutions for their problems. Customer journey orchestration tools can help the customer service team provide first call resolutions by providing more information about the customers to relevant internal teams.
Better Communications Across Channels
With more and more businesses moving towards expanding their digital footprint, the more varied customer facing channels are being used. Customer journey orchestration tools can often track interactions on various communication channels like websites, email, social media, and live chats and support channels, increasing the ability of the businesses to sync their messaging across all channels, improving the customer experience.
Access to Insightful Data
Using customer journey orchestration strategies, the different teams in the business can confidently and easily identify a profile, recognize trends for that individual, and access their past interactions. This provides an overall view of the customer’s journey through the various channels they engage with. This data not only helps provide personalized experiences for the customer, but also finds and fixes processes and steps that create problems.
Customer journey orchestration helps by providing the most relevant messages to their customers based on their requirements in real time. This type of engagement helps customers keep up to date with the latest products and services and creates long-lasting relationships.
Better Efficiency Across Teams
This strategy also allows different departments to share customer information, allowing them to work efficiently. This can inform strategies to push forward or pull back certain types of campaigns and communications based on customer responses.
Increase in Customer Lifetime Value
Improved customer experience leads to loyal customers, increasing the average customer lifetime value (CLTV). Loyal and happy customers are more likely to bring in new customers as well, leading to an overall increase in business revenue.
Challenges of Customer Journey Orchestration
While it has many benefits, customer journey orchestration also comes with some challenges.
Cost in Implementation
The initial cost of implementing the customer journey orchestration strategy may seem high due to the platform fees of various journey orchestration tools and software. But over time and with consistent implementation of learnings, these programs will start to yield a massive return on investment.
Poor Goal Definition
Another common challenge is that every department has different goals. Marketing wants qualified leads, sales want numbers, and customer service want a decrease in customer issues. Overall, this can make it difficult to define cohesive business-wide goals, as this requires consistency but also recognition that each part of a business operates differently.
Choosing the Starting Point
Many businesses have an idea about the flow of a customer’s journey, but it may not always be correct. While companies have multiple data analytics tools at work, these tools often provide only pieces of the overall picture. Customer journey orchestration tools require a very accurate customer journey map to take full advantage of tools that provide the best customer experience.
Customer Journey Orchestration: Getting Started
Customers don’t just want communication, they want a relationship. The use of technology that pulls from a large range of data points across multiple customer engagements creates a rich source of information. Organizations need to harness this data to create positive interactions, lifetime customers, and a holistic sales and marketing strategy that provide a customized journey for each and every customer. Customer journey orchestration provides this, and implementation can result in increased customer retention, more satisfied customers, and overall business growth.