How Journey Orchestration Enables Real-Time Decision Making
by Alfie Powell, on 8 July, 2021
Throughout her extensive career, Joana de Quintanilha, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, has helped companies move the focus more to their customers and, in her own words, make clients “more customer-obsessed and improve their customer experience”.
In her talk during our wonderful Mini #MarTechFest Dial Up, Joana spoke in detail about how Journey Orchestration has been a game-changer for many companies, both this year during the pandemic and equally - if not more so - now as we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel.
Customer experience has changed dramatically since the pandemic. Customers are doing new things now, and there has been a big shift online. Survey data indicates that they intend to continue these new behaviours afterwards, and this makes CX even more important.
Customer expectations around CX are greater than ever before, and it's your job to keep up...
Customers want transparency. They want to know what’s being done with their data, where they are in the buying journey, how many steps are left, and so on. This is why we can now track delivery drivers from many services, and who is picking us up on Uber, what they’re driving and how other customers have viewed them.
Along with this, customers are more likely now than ever to want to make purchases from companies whose values reflect their own, which includes social and environmental policies, and even politics.
As companies continue to digitise their CX more and more, the need for the human feel or human touch has subsequently increased. Essentially, customers prefer hybrid experiences.
Authenticity and more so trust have become vital in how a customer chooses who they buy with, which has seen huge steps taken to make up for the likes of over-selling and data/privacy breaches.
Finally, customers - whether knowingly or not - have expected more orchestration in their journeys. With huge companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft and more introducing more and more orchestration, tying together fundamentally different parts of their business for their customers’ ease and familiarity, customers will now expect this level of experience elsewhere.
Forrester defines Journey Orchestration as:
“The use of real-time data at the individual customer level to analyse current behaviour, predict furniture behaviour and adjust the journey in the moment for increased customer lifetime value, operational efficiency, and business results.”
Basically this means understanding how a customer flows through their journey so you can adapt that if needed, and also predict how they will move in the future, so you can make the necessary changes before they’ve even been required. It’s all very clever.
One thing Joana makes abundantly clear that is essential for companies to understand the human element of their CX. Customers’ journeys are lived experiences that stay with them forever. They’re not numbers on a spreadsheet, they’re not a marketing funnel and they’re not a business process.
For this reason, we need to use all of the data available to pinpoint every detail of their journeys; where they failed, where they succeeded, what their pain points were and what they found easy.
Every journey is unique and dynamic and every context is equally unique. Sometimes a customer will be in a huge rush to get something done and will consider closing the loop as a matter of life and death, while other times they could be relaxed, have time to spare and be willing to read the acres of terms and conditions available.
Naturally, the pandemic changed the context of each journey drastically and companies have done their best to keep up with that. Along with contexts changing, multiple journeys can also be happening concurrently.
As Joana explains, she could be halfway through a password reset journey with her bank, while also applying for a mortgage with them. If one of these journeys is difficult or negative in any way at all, then it can hugely affect the parallel journey.
“Journey orchestration enables real-time decision-making in times of crisis and recovery”
The key principles of journey orchestration are:
- Individual (resolves customer identities to individual journeys)
- Contextual (analyses journeys to reveal intent and context)
- Continuous (it must be able to bridge all silos, touch points, devices)
- Emotionally attuned (it must be viewed from the customers’ perspective and follow their emotional curve)
- Progressive (it adjusts the journey in the moment and adopts a long-term view, focusing on building value and trust)
How companies have used journey orchestration over the past year:
- To understand new customer behaviours as they happen
- To focus on retaining existing customers by meeting immediate needs
- To direct customers to happier paths by detecting struggles in their journey
- Transition customers to new, unfamiliar touch points
- Design emotionally attuned journeys
- Support employees working remotely to connect with customers virtually to nurture new relationships
- Access vital corporate services remotely
An example of a company who used Journey Orchestration well is ScottishPower, as they pause, accelerate and launch new journeys.
- They paused noncritical journeys by identifying thousands of customers with appointments for a smart meter installation, and rescheduling them for a time when the social distancing measures were more relaxed and they would be able to fit said meters faster and more safely.
- They accelerated specific journeys. Journey analytics helped the firm identify customers struggling to submit their meter reading. ScottishPower educated them on how to do this online, freeing up time for call centre agents to tackle more complex issues.
- Launching a new affordability journey. ScottishPower orchestrated a new affordability journey for 1.4 million customers looking for information about bills or how to make changes to direct debit instalments.
Similarly, car manufacturer Nissan have also used orchestration efficiently, being able to use their data on customer behaviour during the pandemic to set up what was essentially a well-oiled and effective crisis team.
They were also able to translate the new behaviours into preferences from customers, such as features for their cars, transmission types, fuel types and feed those insights into their supply chain and keep up with the new demands.
So how do you kick off with journey orchestration?
The first step is to create a journey atlas, a catalogue of the customer (and employee) journeys your firm could focus on.
Prioritise this by asking three questions:
- Which journeys need to be paused or restarted?
- Which journeys need to be accelerated to highlight digital options and maintain service levels?
- Which journeys need to be launched to deal with new pressures around affordability and health and safety?
After this, you need to work with data experts on prioritised journeys, and tailor your experiences to the emotional needs of your customers.
Take a use-case-by-use-case approach and use a cross-functional team to keep building your journey orchestration capabilities.