Customer behaviors are constantly changing, and a host of factors (including the recent pandemic, inflation concerns and recession fears) only accelerated this trend. Without the proper insight into the current state of the customer journey, businesses have little way of knowing if their efforts to attract and retain customers are working.
But although businesses might collect huge amounts of data on their current and potential customers, turning data into insights and action is often difficult. According to a recent CMSWire survey, one in four respondents said “limited insight into the customer journey” was one of their organization’s top digital customer experience challenges.
To gain a better understanding of the end-to-end customer journey, many organizations are turning to customer journey orchestration platforms. These analyze your data and deliver insights into your customer journeys: identifying where customers are staying, where they’re dropping off and generally why they do the things they do.
Getting executive buy-in and making the business case for a new platform calls for a rethinking of the customer journey strategy, an understanding of how deploying a new solution can be done quickly and cost-effectively, as well as the recognition that any new platform should live within your existing tools and platforms, to further reduce costs and time to deployment.
The Customer Journey Is a Never-Ending Story
Gone are the days of transactional, one-and-done customer interactions. Customers these days want to be seen and heard by a brand. They want brands to cater to their needs, answer their questions and be there for them over the long term.
Keeping this shift in customer thinking in mind, businesses should focus on both acquiring new customers and retaining current ones. Understanding customer needs at each step of their journey is a solid business case for a journey orchestration platform. Only by recognizing where customers are in the moment and responding to what they need at that particular time will businesses keep customers engaged for the long haul.
Customer journey orchestration takes this new reality into account. True orchestration spans the entire customer lifecycle. New and current customers will make different demands on a business, necessitating an end-to-end orchestration strategy that reacts to customers’ wants and needs depending on where they are in their journey.
The Platform That Pays for Itself
Time and money are two things there never seem to be enough of. When asked about their top digital customer experience challenges, a third of CMSWire survey respondents cited “limited budget and resources” as a top challenge, while 1 in 7 cited the lack of time as a top challenge.
However, many organizations understand that they can’t afford to miss out on journey insights. This might explain why customer journey analysis and optimization is a top investment priority; according to 35% of CMSWire survey respondents — the second-most popular answer among two dozen investment areas. As one respondent said, “We'd like to have a good understanding of the end-to-end customer journey, how it correlates with CLV, our customers' biggest pain points in their journey, and actionable intel that allows us to measure customer effort and reduce friction.”
Being able to act on insights and optimize the customer journey can also reduce costs, by exposing inefficiencies and identifying more efficient journeys. Using customer journey platforms to identify drop-off points and main friction areas is a key use case, and can deliver solid returns if organizations can use this intel to close the gap and keep customers moving forward.
Within the Tech Stack (Not Replacing It)
When it comes to modifying your tech stack to improve journey orchestration, you should look for a solution that works within your existing stack, rather than replaces it — particularly if your existing stack already delivers on customer metrics and data. “Rip and replace” might get you a shiny new system, but such initiatives are often costly to implement.
Instead of shaking up your entire tech stack, consider the alternative. A journey orchestration platform that works within your current stack should be able to take the data you’re already collecting and deliver powerful customer insights. This will also reduce costs of the new platform by eliminating the need for a costly rip-and-replace or time needed to set everything up (and train users) all over again.
A successful customer journey strategy lets organizations delight customers, reduce ease of automation and move further toward being data- and automation-driven. When done right, customer journey orchestration can give you the ability to act on insights and deliver better customer journeys. Without journey orchestration, businesses have no way of knowing what journeys to focus on, where they should focus their efforts and which initiatives have a positive impact on customers.
Customer journey orchestration platforms turn customer journey data into actionable insights and help businesses make more strategic decisions around journey orchestration. Such tools can often be implemented quickly and efficiently, without needing to replace or greatly disrupt the entire tech stack. Armed with the tools to make the best use of their data, organizations can direct their time and attention accordingly and better guide customers to where they want to go.
Unless otherwise noted, all data points are taken from the 2023 State of Digital Customer Experience report by CMSWire.
Learn how Alterian can optimize your customer journey orchestration at alterian.com.