The fundamental norms of customer/brand interactions have changed over the last 18 months, from businesses learning to navigate digital-first and work-from-home expectations to customers making sense of in-person shopping with new health and safety considerations.
But this doesn’t have to be too complicated. In this blog, I’ll explore real-time journey orchestration, which is key to engaging customers in times of shifting norms and expectations.
What is journey orchestration?
Forrester defines journey orchestration as: ‘Using real-time data at the individual customer level to analyse current behaviour and predict and adjust future behaviour in the moment.’ In other words, journey orchestration is about coordinating the perfect customer journey.
But wait, you say: ‘Isn’t that just standard customer journey mapping?’
Well, no. Journey orchestration goes one step further than standard journey mapping because it uses automation to personalise journeys in real-time. This means journeys aren’t mapped based purely on historical data or experiences. Instead, they’re mapped based on the here and the now, and you can account for subtle shifts in customer behaviour as they happen.
What’s so special about real-time?
When you’re operating in a crisis situation – which we all have been for the last 18 months – real-time journey orchestration becomes critical. Previous facts and assumptions no longer apply, and it becomes more important to understand what your customers are seeking and doing in the moment.
What’s more, unlike extreme weather events or sudden IT failures, pandemics don’t end abruptly, so life doesn’t quickly shift back to how it was before. Journey orchestration can help you understand and move through different phases. Not only does it help you establish new baselines for key journeys, but it also helps flag anomalies that indicate you’re moving into a new phase.
By shaping your customer journeys around what your customers are thinking and doing at a particular moment, you can more quickly adapt to fluid scenarios and deliver hyper-personalised journeys at scale. This personalisation is vital for retaining existing customers, as it shows them you’re able to meet their immediate needs and anticipate their struggles before they become problems.
But what if we’re not in a crisis?
While real-time journey orchestration certainly comes into its own during times of crisis, it still has an important part to play in business-as-usual operations.
Take the banking industry. In our latest webinar, featuring guest speakers from Avant Money and Forrester, we looked at the example of fraud detection and prevention. In 2019 alone, criminals stole £1.2 billion through fraud and scams, putting increased pressure on banks to up security and prevent further losses. Using AI, financial services organisations can monitor and analyse customer interactions in real-time, making it quicker and easier to spot and prevent potential fraud.
This shows you the orchestrated journey a banking customer would take. The bank’s systems identify a potentially fraudulent transaction. This data is then added to a central repository, which analyses the customers’ information and triggers an automated process that adapts based on how the customer responds. Here, communication goes from one channel to the next to ensure the customer is notified and encouraged to contact the bank. It’s 100% automated and personalised based on customer preferences, enabling an efficient response to a real-time threat.
How should you integrate journey orchestration into your business?
I recommend a 3-step approach:
1. Adopt a ‘journey’ mindset that focuses on the end-to-end customer experience and transcends departmental silos – this involves bringing all customer-related data together in a unified platform (which can sit on top of existing systems),
2. Deploy a tool like Engage Hub’s Customer Journey Tracker that helps you visualise and analyse all that customer data – by showing how customer journeys evolve across all offline and online channels in real-time,
3. Start by focusing on 3 questions that will help you prioritise customer journeys and experiences that matter most in the current environment:
- Which journeys need to be paused because they are non-essential or hard to uphold in times of social distancing?
- Which journeys need to be accelerated to highlight digital options and maintain service levels?
- Which journeys should we launch to deal with new pressures around affordability and health and safety?
Want help with implementing and using journey orchestration? Get more tips, watch our webinar, featuring guest speakers from Forrester and Avant Money.