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customer journey orchestration

What is customer journey orchestration?

Customer journey orchestration is the coordination of customer experiences in real time, in an omnichannel environment, to better understand customer needs and encourage further interaction with a brand. Companies can use that information to trigger campaigns or communications to deliver more value and a more personalized customer experience.

A customer journey orchestration strategy and toolset focus on a customer's experience with a brand rather than a view of how that customer came to make a purchase. This ultimately provides more focus on increasing a customer's lifetime value, ensuring a positive experience from the first customer touch point through post sales and support.

Why is customer journey orchestration important?

In most organizations, customer engagement involves a variety of teams such as marketing, sales, customer service and support. However, a customer's experience across those teams is siloed and inconsistent. For example, individual customer experiences are created by each team with very little insight as to what their interactions have historically been. That approach is losing favor with customers. Today, customers are demanding an integrated experience with the brand as a whole rather than siloed experiences with individual departments.

A real-world example of businesses working in siloed departments is a customer who has been identified by a company as an ideal customer to purchase a software as a service (SaaS) tool. The customer's marketing experience involves engaging with various content and researching how the product might satisfy their needs. From there, the marketing department hands off this qualified lead to sales. The sales department's engagement with the prospect includes little insight into the campaigns or communications they encountered during the marketing phase. After the prospect makes a purchase and uses the SaaS tool, they submit a support ticket to address an issue or request additional onboarding support. At the same time, the sales and marketing teams may continue to contact the customer with follow-up purchase opportunities, unaware the customer has encountered an issue.

A similar customer example that includes the customer journey orchestration process may look more like this. Multiple teams are aware of each customer touch point, and decisions made by the internal marketing and sales teams are more apt to trigger automations based on this cross-team knowledge. In this case, marketing may still have these customers enrolled in campaigns for upsell or cross sell opportunities, and sales may continue to engage with their primary point of contact for the same, but they proceed with greater awareness of the customer. If the customer opens a customer support ticket, sales and marketing would be aware of it and potentially pause any marketing and sales communications. This way, the customer doesn't receive unwelcome communications while experiencing an issue with the product.

When a customer's cross-channel behaviors are tracked, logged and analyzed, businesses can better predict the next steps the customer may take and capitalize on those interactions in real time to deliver a better user experience through personalization.

How customer journey orchestration works

Customer journey orchestration platforms use AI and machine learning technologies. A machine learning model can analyze or listen to the customer behavior on a larger scale than an individual team or department can. The machine learning findings help the business make critical decisions with confidence and speed. The predictive capabilities of AI serve up the right content at the right time to the right user based on the historical patterns of unique users.

Customer journey orchestration is an advanced form of customer journey management, which is the process of optimizing the customer experience using technology to create unique interactions with prospects to move them through the marketing and sales funnel. This process is accomplished via a collection of tools that monitor and deliver unique interactions and isn't usually done in real time.

Both customer journey processes provide insight into customer journey analytics and customer journey mapping. Customer journey analytics data can be collected from a variety of tools and interaction touchpoints but aren't always viewed in a single location. Customer journey mapping tools, which visualize a customer's journey at every touchpoint with a brand, can track across some but not all channels. Customer journey orchestration can listen to and optimize every engagement on every channel used by a company. Data can also be viewed in one location.

Benefits of customer journey orchestration

The customer journey orchestration process benefits businesses and customers, who get a personalized and dynamic experience with a brand. Here are some examples:

  • Closing customer service gaps. Customers get frustrated when they make multiple inquiries to customer service teams to resolve issues. Using customer journey orchestration tools, teams can improve first call resolution When more information about the user is available to internal teams, it can be used to help address their needs.
  • Better communications across campaigns and channels. As companies move toward digital transformation and expand their digital footprint, they use more customer-facing channels. Using tools that listen and track interactions across social, web, mobile, live chat and support channels increases the ability to sync messaging and experiences across platforms.
  • Empowered customers. With highly personalized experiences and real-time messaging, customers receive the most relevant information based on their needs. This type of customer engagement fosters strong and long-lasting relationships and creates a more human experience.
  • Increased cross-team efficiency. Departments that can share customer information are able to work more efficiently and know when to push or pull back certain communications or campaigns.
  • Insightful data. Teams can more confidently identify customer profiles or recognize trends and customer interactions when they can access a full view of the customer's journey and the channels they engage with. This data can also be used to personalize the customer experience at each step on their journey. Data also provides information about which steps in the process create friction or reduce customer loyalty.
  • Improved performance and increased customer lifetime value (CLTV). Improved customer experience yields loyal fans and increases retention and revenue rates leading to higher CLTV.

Challenges of customer journey orchestration

Despite the advantages of customer journey orchestration, there are challenges that businesses should keep in mind:

  • Costs. Startup costs to implement a customer journey orchestration strategy can be high and include platform or service fees, and implementation.
  • Clearly defined goals. Articulating the outcomes of implementing a customer journey orchestration plan can be difficult, given that each channel within a company potentially supports different business goals. Layering an orchestration platform on top of each department's individual goals, requires creating a new set of goals that tie back to revenue. The bigger challenge of defining goals is the need for cross-team collaboration, which requires good project management.
  • Knowing where to begin. Many companies have an idea of the ideal flow a customer would go through with their brand, but it's not always correct. Sometimes it takes implementing the orchestration platform to collect the right data to get an accurate picture of the customer. While many organizations have numerous data and analytics tools at their disposal, they only see a piece of that journey, and it's often not tied back to a specific user. Customer journey orchestrations requires an accurate journey map to take advantage of the AI, machine learning and automation that come with journey orchestration.

Customer journey orchestration tools

There's been a lot of recent movement in the customer journey orchestration platform space. During 2021 and 2022, there were several acquisitions of CJO vendors, resulting in market consolidation, as well as an increase in capabilities. Here are a few of the top customer journey orchestration tools:

  • Adobe Journey Orchestration
  • Alterian Real-Time CX Platform
  • Engage Hub Customer Journey Tracker
  • Medallia Customer Experience Cloud
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Pointillist
  • Qualtrics CustomerXM
  • Salesforce
This was last updated in January 2023

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