These days marketers know they have to give people what they want. Making sure customer journeys end up in a positive place has only gotten more important over the past few years. But how can marketers bolster customers through the various stages of their ever evolving odysseys?
Companies have put a larger focus on customer journey orchestration since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the goal of fostering relationships that result in recurring revenue, according to a MarTech blog post by Pamela Parker. “Adequate customer experiences are becoming table stakes,” Parker noted.
According to research by Gartner, “Thirty-one percent of respondents inside marketing departments reported they end their journey maps with purchase, lead acquisition, initial transaction or delivery of the product or service, omitting the important journey stages that follow.”
But for those endpoints to be achieved, a company needs good customer journey orchestration.
Below are four best practices:
1. Employing the Right Customer Journey Diagnostics
The first step in proper customer journey orchestration is diagnostic, not programmatic, and it comes in the form of integrated process and task mining, according to Sofia Passova, StereoLogic founder and CEO.
There is a known “gap” between what customers expect from their interactions with companies and what those companies deliver, yet often companies wait for the complaints to pour in before they can make a strategic adjustment, Passova said. “This is too late. With ongoing, unattended task mining software running in the background, companies can have a finger on the pulse of how employees in multiple departments are interacting in real time with customers.”
The software will evaluate trouble points like customers dropping out of online tasks, employees engaged in non-value-added tasks and sitting for too long on verified sales leads and lag times for customer service agents, etc.
"For customer journey orchestration to work, companies need to first evaluate and diagnose their internal processes and tasks that may take the whole project off the rails,” Passova said.
Related Article: How to Make the Customer Journey More Data Driven
2. Focusing on Retention for Customer Journey Orchestration
One of the biggest challenges for businesses today is that they are mostly focused on acquiring the next customer, instead of focusing on retaining an existing one, said Grant Freeman, chief customer officer at Thryv, a small business management software company.
The bare minimum to retain is delivering an exemplary experience that’s commensurate with what their customers experience with larger companies that they like doing business with on a regular basis, Freeman said. “It’s important for businesses to meet their customers where they are, and that ties back into the customer journey. Communication tools using email and text marketing are essential to the customer journey because it allows businesses to stay in touch and provide relevant messages and easy communication, with the option of automation. This also leads to retention and expansion of spend, which means that businesses actually have to spend less on acquiring new customers,” he noted
3. Understanding Mindset for Better Customer Journeys
“Consumers have more power than ever to control their journeys, and several entrances to the customer journey make it difficult for marketers to control messaging, understand intent and have a clear communication strategy,” said Tom Burke, vice president of sales for AcuityAds. “Touchpoints across search, social media, CTV/OTT, linear television, out of home, email and websites create fragmentation for marketers and make it more difficult to create meaningful connections.”
To create those meaningful connections, organizations must understand the customer mindset, Burke said. “The traditional marketing funnel is outdated and should be thought about as a metaphor to understand the consumer mindset. Organizing data and leveraging interpretation skills when it comes to consumer intent is becoming more and more important to give the consumer what they want, when they want it.”
Cultural relevance is important in understanding the customer mindset, Burke added. He noted that consumers are affected by cultural trends about what to buy and that marketers should consider major current events when targeting a consumer base. Staying up to date on what’s happening in the world is a must when it comes to being prepared to pivot marketing strategies, staying agile and building customer connections, he explained.
Related Article: 4 Strategic Approaches to Customer Journey Mapping
4. Embedding a Comprehensive Approach to Customer Journeys
“Customer journey orchestration is most successful when embedded within a comprehensive customer journey management approach,” said Steve Offsey, Genesys vice president of marketing.
Customer journey management focuses on the journeys your customers take as they seek to achieve a goal, rather than optimizing single interactions at each touchpoint, Offsey added. It’s a shift in mindset that enables you to not only measure, monitor and optimize CX, but align your entire organization with your customers’ goals.
“A journey management approach improves on the scattershot approach to journey orchestration typically employed today,” Offsey said. “Traditionally, individual teams like marketing may work independently to improve the flow of a specific campaign by running tests to optimize the conversion rate at each step.” But he warned that this method can tend to be myopic, since it can improve the performance of individual journeys from a business perspective but may degrade the experience from a customer’s perspective.
Effective journey management aligns each of your internal teams around customer experience and provides the foundation for successful journey orchestration, according to Offsey. Marketing, experience design, customer care and product and other teams can work together to prioritize high-impact journeys and identify the points of failure within them. By measuring and monitoring end-to-end customer journeys, teams can address points of failure to improve the overall experience.
The Lowdown: Good Customer Journeys Can Spark Loyalty
“To break through and engender customer loyalty, businesses must develop a deeper understanding of their customers’ journeys, as well as the motivations and values that drive them to engage,” according to Parker in the MarTech blog. Using the customer journey orchestration best practices above can be a critical strategy in achieving those results.