Greg Kihlström advises on CX, Marketing, and Digital Transformation at GK5A, hosts The Agile Brand Podcast, and is a best-selling author.
Customer journey orchestration promises a seamless experience for your customers and greater revenue through timely and relevant offers and actions. These types of experiences create customers who buy, buy more often and bring their friends along as well. Getting to that point, however, takes careful planning, coordination across teams and choosing the right platforms and metrics to tie it all together.
I’ve been fortunate to work with many organizations to help prepare them for this big step and to work to ensure success at and after launch of customer journey orchestration. In this article, I’m going to discuss how to prepare your people, processes and platforms for customer journey orchestration.
Let’s start with the people who will be envisioning the strategy, integrating systems and creating the campaigns and content for customer journey orchestration. As you can imagine, customer journey orchestration requires teams to work together in new and different ways across the organization, and often in closer collaboration.
It might go without saying that your marketing teams will need to be in close alignment when preparing for customer journey orchestration, but there are several other teams that need to be involved early and often. This includes data teams who are responsible for customer data and are aware of customers’ eligibility to see content, as well as their privacy and consent requirements.
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Engineering teams will need to be involved to integrate systems together. Depending on the journey orchestration tool you use, this may be as simple as API calls or, in other cases, it may require more complex integrations.
Finally, your sales and customer service teams need to understand how orchestration might affect their workflow as well. Salespeople may be relieved to know that the organization is going a step beyond drip email marketing and taking steps toward omnichannel communication and personalization. Customer service and technical support teams will want to understand how the orchestration is taking into account the customers who might have recently complained about a product or service. Those people are not going to want to be bombarded with orchestrated communications right away, no matter how valuable the offer might be!
While some people and teams in your organization might have a full understanding of the benefits and opportunities that customer journey orchestration brings, it helps to share that vision with all of the groups that will be affected by it. This will gain buy-in and might bring some great new ideas from different perspectives.
We just talked about who is helping with orchestration, but now let’s talk about how it will be enabled across the organization. Customer journey orchestration requires changes to the way people do their work, and it’s an opportunity to become more customer-centric as an organization.
Remember, creating content, campaigns and tracking for multichannel customer journeys has some key differences to the way things might currently be done. First, creating content means that it needs to align across channels so that depending on a customer’s choices and their specific journey, they still see the types of content you want them to see. A customer might prefer to use your mobile app over your website, or they might prefer getting SMS messages over emails, but you still want them to be part of the journey.
This means that you need a way for your mobile app, website, SMS and email teams to create content that is all aligned around the same goals. I’ve seen this done successfully when an enterprise-wide taxonomy or naming convention and categorization structure is used to help multiple teams align their output.
Finally, you can’t do everything at once. Your process needs to include an agile, incremental way to achieve functional milestones that get you closer to your end goal of a fully orchestrated customer journey. Using continuous improvement methods to get there means that you can test and iterate and make quicker progress.
When consumers experience seamless communication and personalized touchpoints across the journey, customer journey orchestration has achieved its goal. Getting to this point requires alignment of customer data, content, personalization and measurement platforms, which is no small feat for established enterprise organizations. I’ll discuss a few here, though there are several others that may be needed by your brand.
Customer data is critical for orchestration, and successful organizations are utilizing customer data platforms (CDPs) along with other sources to ensure consistency and reliability across channels.
Content management is also key, and using a headless CMS is a great way to serve content to many types of platforms and channels from a single source. This makes the process of creating and categorizing content a lot easier as well.
Personalization and testing helps enable continuous improvement, and using multivariate testing and recommendation tools ensure your journeys don’t remain static. These, along with analytics and reporting, ideally with multitouch attribution—the ability to understand all of the channels that contribute to a conversion instead of just the first or last—will help you truly understand how your multichannel journeys are working.
Last but not least, you need a platform to orchestrate your journeys. Make sure it is robust enough to handle the breadth and depth of channels and types of communications you need to serve to your customers today. Ensure it is easy for both your engineers as well as your marketing team to use. Finally, make sure it is flexible enough to grow in sophistication as your organization expands its orchestration and your customers expand their needs and preferences.
As you can see, customer journey orchestration takes coordination and cooperation across people, processes and platforms in order to deliver optimal results. By taking these areas into account and mapping them to your customer and business requirements, you will be well on your way to success.
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Author: Greg Kihlstrom, Forbes Councils Member