What is Journey Orchestration?

Journeys and Journey Orchestration

Before we detail what Journey Orchestration (JO) is, we have to understand what a journey is. A customer journey is a progression of steps that together comprise the complete, end-to-end experience a customer has with a company as they attempt to accomplish a specific goal or outcome – from their perspective. Journeys are rarely as simple as getting a customer from point A to point B. The customer journey is the path the customer itself defines to achieve his or her goal. Getting there might involve multiple touchpoints across channels and platforms and over the course of days or much longer.

No matter what, the customer is going to go on a journey, one that could end in an overall satisfying experience or in frustration and potentially lost business. Journey Orchestration then is the discipline that focuses on an individual customer, consumer, or account to deliver seamless and personalized experiences across channels, enabling the customer to accomplish what they want in a way that is also beneficial to the business.

Journey Orchestration would not be possible without specialized platforms that make technology, data, and channels work in harmony to deliver the best possible outcome for your business and the customer. Platforms and systems grant enterprises the ability to monitor customers in real time and actively shape their experiences across channels, systems, and teams 


Despite the advantages of JO, this innovation is still new, so as many as 75 percent of businesses are not yet orchestrating a specific customer’s journey across channels in real time. But brand loyalty is no longer enough. One bad experience can put today’s customers off a brand forever. Businesses need to embrace JO in order to thrive in a world of demanding customers and hungry competition. 



Why do you need JO?

Overcoming Organizational and Technology Challenges

Most businesses are operated using outdated models where teams and platforms are isolated from one another, with each one specializing in only one segment of the customer journey, mostly oblivious how the rest of the teams function and how they act together to create a customer journey. Each team purchases technology and invests in platforms that service their needs, which doesn’t always interface well with other systems. This siloing of the organizational structure and technology landscape contributes to poor customer experiences, which in turn, has a negative impact on the business.


The negative outcome is slow growth, steady migration of customers to other businesses, and an increased cost to serve. Why an increased cost? As customers experience poor automated systems, they turn to more hands-on and pricier solutions, like calling a customer line or using a text service. The churn of customers mean constant “training” of a new base with none of the benefits of steady growth.


The goal of JO is to deliver the best customer experiences that maximize customer and business outcomes. JO can help overcome those organizational silos to drive up customer loyalty and sustained growth.

Data driven visibility into what’s working and what’s not

You might think you have a journey map, but if it’s gathering dust in a PowerPoint file few to no one opens to look at, it’s not doing any good. In order to be effective, the JO map must be front and center, actionable, and revisited again and again. Where is it falling down? Where is it working? Data-driven revisions and constant fine-tuning are essential. When was yours last updated?




Driving Meaningful Business Impact/Use Cases

Growth

Use what you know about customers to create personalized upsell opportunities that drive organic growth.

Retention

Captivate customers on day 1 with 1:1 onboarding and win them for life by preventing negative outcomes before they happen.

Cost Reduction

Drive down cost to serve by being proactive at scale, increasing digital adoption and improving the efficiency of customer journeys.

Who can use a JO?

Business Types

You might wonder if your business needs JO. It does! There’s a common misconception that JO is just for customer journey orchestration. But it’s not just for business-to-customer (B2C) enterprises. It’s also for business-to-business (B2B), business-to-business-to-client (B2B2C), and more. If you are part of any business where personalization and ease of use matter, JO is vital. If there is a customer, partner, account, household, agent, broker, advisor, member, patient, etc. who would enjoy a personalized experience interacting with your business, JO is right for you.


Teams

Journey orchestration isn’t just for customer experience teams. Remember, that’s the old silo approach. All teams benefit from a journey approach to doing business. If a team owns data and technology and wants to improve the way they interact with customers, JO is right for them. That could include customer experience, digital, marketing, customer success, business teams, and more.


As journeys have gained a foothold, a new operating model has emerged, so complex enterprises can adopt an outside-in, customer-centric approach. The most innovative enterprises are re-evaluating their organizational structure to better respond to how customers want to interact with them and what resources they need to marshall in order to make that as successful as possible.



What is a Journey Orchestration Platform?

Journeys are cross-functional and cross-channel. When you open a bank account, you might use the bank’s ATMs, branch services, call center, credit card service, and more. Because just one bad experience in any of these areas might mean losing a customer, companies have started looking for solutions that enable them to orchestrate experiences holistically across their entire service and technology ecosystems.

According to Forrester Research, “Journey orchestration vendors help firms use real-time data at the individual customer level to analyze current behavior (journey discovery) and predict and adjust future behavior in the moment (journey decisioning). These tools provide an integrated, actionable, and real-time view of the customer across marketing, product, and customer service journeys.” In other words, Journey Orchestration Platforms predict what the customer is going to do next and adapts in real time to pave and smooth their path forward.

Platform Overview

A good Journey Orchestration Platform has three interactive qualities:


Monitoring

Monitoring grants businesses the ability to track customers in real time across all channels and touchpoints in order to identify friction and provide the foundation for proactive intervention. 

Activation

Activation allows companies to react in real time, guiding customers to the next step in their journey using underlying systems and channels. The customer might not see it, but they can tell when there is no obvious path forward.

Optimization

Optimization is the ability to test and learn at scale, so you can iterate your way to the best outcomes and quantify the impact of CX initiatives. 

Together, these three capabilities give enterprises greater visibility into the most valuable asset of their business: the customer. Additionally, they improve agility with the ability to test and learn, so you can continually optimize experiences over time. The end outcome for the business is greater profitability, resulting in customer relationships that increase revenue, reduce cost-to-serve, and improve retention.


Differentiating Capabilities to look for in a Journey Orchestration Platform


The keyword when looking at Journey Orchestration Platform’s capabilities is agility. At every step, customers are empowered to cultivate the journey they want, using provided systems that work for the customer on their terms.

1

Dynamic Pathing

No more our-way-or-the-highway journeys. (Because all too often, customers will choose the highway to find a competitor!) Dynamic pathing allows customers to define their own journey and meets them on their terms. This is tracked dynamically instead of forcing customers down a predefined path.

2

Outcome Oriented

Instead of shuffling customers from discrete system to discrete system, the focus in JO is on delivering the best customer and business outcomes. There is little regard for optimizing for point-in-time interactions or lagging metrics. Because, ultimately, it doesn’t matter how long a customer looks at your website or how polished your post-experience survey is if the customer isn’t happy.

3

Open

There is no reason to use only a single vendor for every system. A good JO doesn’t ascribe to vendor lock-in. A good JO incorporates a diverse mix of legacy and homegrown systems, internal IP, AI/ML, and customer data that make up complex, cross-functional journeys. Whatever gets the job done, no matter the number of vendors.

4

Agile

One benefit of vendor diversity is that you can get started with the tools you have today. There is no need to rip and replace your existing tech stack. Business teams can create new journeys and test and learn over time.

What Journey Orchestration Platform is not:

There are a number of other disciplines and strategies that bear a passing resemblance to JO. It’s important to draw a clear distinction between JO and these other approaches.

Marketing Automation Campaigns

Marketing automation campaigns come in the form of emails, robocalling, and social media ads. While this and JO are alike in being automated, marketing automation campaigns are business-centric while JO is customer-centric. A marketing automation campaign outlines what the customer should do rather than enable them to accomplish it on their own. In automated marketing, like a TV ad spot, communication is one-way, from the business to the customer.  Today’s marketing automation applications are primarily seen in email campaigns that execute on batches of user lists in a time-based sequence.


But marketing automation does not adapt in real time based on events or consumer behavior and does not personalize the customer experience. It is static and inflexible, and it’s limited only to marketing.

Experience Management

Experience Management (XM) was a truly innovative idea when it first debuted. Survey-based tools (e.g. Medallia and Qualtrics) measured and gave voice to customer experiences. XM’s greatest shortcoming is that it’s always backward looking. The process of sending out surveys and waiting for responses is by definition a lagging indicator.


With XM, there is no concept of a journey, no real-time data, and no opportunity to correct an issue while it’s in progress, only apologizing after the fact. What good is knowing that a customer was upset two weeks ago when he or she is already gone for good? Customers expect businesses they patron to intervene before things go wrong and re-route them to prevent bad experiences.

Real-Time Interaction Management

Customer’s online behavior and expectations are different depending on whether they are on their smartphone or laptop, whether they are at work, on the bus ride home, or browsing in bed. Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM) technology delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility.  at the appropriate moment in the customer life cycle via preferred customer touchpoints.

But RTIM is laser focused on the next step, not on the end-to-end customer journey, like JO. Success with RTIM is measured in interactions—opens and clicks in a browser—not churn, revenue growth, digital adoption, and problems resolution, like JO. Journey orchestration knows where the customer has been, is now, and where to go next to achieve positive outcomes. RTIM only can see the next fork in the road. Since RTIM lacks the concept of a ‘customer journey,’ you can't monitor the health of each of your customers. Journey orchestration vendors monitor journeys in real time to show friction points and necessary areas for intervention


Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) optimizes internal business processes, not customer journeys or experience. RPA refers to a business process with a wide range of structured—often chained—activities or tasks conducted by people or equipment to produce a specific service or product for a particular user or consumer.

While JO is external and customer-centric, RPA is internal and organization-centric. The goals and targets are different. In addition, RPA needs a hand on the steering wheel, being a company-led and controlled process according to a predefined workflow system. On the other hand, JO is dynamic, non-linear, and unpredictable. JO has the goal of influencing customer behavior and shaping customer experience while RPA influences only internal processes.




Conclusion

No matter your customer, client, or team, Journey Orchestration can make a difference in their experiences over time with your business.

You’ll no longer have to merely hope that your systems and touchpoints are adequate, they can adapt in real time to your customers’ needs and expectations. Experience Management might have been adequate in the day when customer loyalty reigned, but today’s customers need an agile system anticipating their needs, alleviating pain points, and moving them forward on their journey.

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