The customer experience has always been defined as the sum of all interactions a customer has throughout their relationship with the brand, however, more recently this definition has evolved to include the emotions, sentiments, and perceptions the customer has about those interactions. Customers have many more opportunities nowadays for their voice about a brand to be amplified, regardless of whether it is positive and negative, Businesses therefore must do all they can to ensure the customer experience delivers on their rapidly changing expectations.  CEO of Mercedes Benz USA, Steven Cannon, summarized it best: “Customer experience is the new marketing.”

Journey mapping vs. journey orchestration

Journey mapping is the first and vital step businesses use to understand the customer experience. It provides customer-driven information on how they view their experience with a brand. Sixty-three percent of businesses rely on journey maps to understand the customer experience. Other methods incorporate a data-driven approach to providing customers with an experience that delivers value while also solving their problems. Journey mapping provides marketers and CX leaders with the tools needed to understand their customer journeys across all touchpoints. 

Customer journey orchestration is about influencing the journey as it occurs. Successful orchestration includes automating better experiences by understanding customer behaviour in real-time, intelligently interacting with highly personalized, relevant content, and delivering next-best-actions to influence customer behavior.

It includes coordinating the elements of a situation to produce a desired effect or outcome. It delivers on an expectation so many customers have today: that their experience is not only seamless and consistent across channels but also relevant and personalized. It is vital that brands align the disparate parts of their customer experience to meet that expectation. In order to achieve that, journey orchestration also brings together siloed cross-functional areas to work together and collaborate in the best interest of the customer. It’s this type of partnership within a brand that helps drive a true omnichannel strategy that is agile enough to shift with customer expectation.

Journey orchestration is a success differentiator

Journey orchestration delivers on an important concept for brands: focus on journeys, not on touchpoints. This is the mantra for customer experience success.  As Forrester VP, Joana de Quintanilha says, “You can’t become customer-obsessed without being journey-centric.” While it is important to look at the individual steps and touchpoints, moments of truth, and channels of the experience, it’s more important to remember the entire experience the customer has with your brand. Focusing on the entire journey affords businesses the ability to design and deliver an exceptional customer experience. Essentially, it’s the business version of it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Since boosting journey satisfaction increases overall customer satisfaction by 20%, businesses who can best influence their customer experience to deliver on expectation are most likely to reap the benefits of that increase though increased sales and retention.

How customers and brands benefit from journey orchestration

Customers praise the personalized experiences – not just personalized for them as individuals but also personalized in real-time – as well as the fact that they are achieving value, fulfilling their needs and solving their problems, and seeing the outcomes they’d hoped for. They love the consistency of the omnichannel experiences, too, which is proven by the fact that 49% of customers have made impulse purchases simply for receiving a great customer experience.

Brands, of course, benefit, too. They are driving more-effective and more-efficient engagement – and building trust – through responsive and real-time experience enhancements, which leads to new business, cross-sell, and upsell opportunities. They have broken down or connected organizational siloes, which improves morale and eliminates not only inefficiencies but also pain points for both employee and customer experiences

There’s still much work to do to ensure that businesses truly grasp the importance of journey orchestration in delivering a great experience. Perhaps the biggest takeaway is to remember that data and systems are at the root of success. A purpose-built platform or system to enable the customer to achieve their outcomes in a way that is simple, consistent, and personalized will be key to success.

There’s more to learn about journey orchestration; read our whitepaper to further understand how it can help drive your customer experience to new levels. 

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