Experience Orchestration: 4 Key Elements to Personalize the Customer Journey

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Bo Lykkegaard, Associate Vice President for the enterprise-software-led expertise centers at IDC Europe, including customer experience, explains what it takes for experience orchestration to be successful.

Think about a recent customer experience you had in which your expectations were met or exceeded. How did it make you feel? Now, think about the last dreadful experience you had. What happened? Consider the differences between these two types of experiences — and the feelings they evoked.

For me, the “bad” example was when I tried to cancel my TV and internet subscription with a service provider I had been with for over a decade. Not recognizing any of my account history — and without understating the reason I was canceling — the agent reached for his customer win-back script and started offering me package after package, with standard off-the-shelf discounts for irrelevant content meant to attract me to stay.

Had this brand known me, my preferences, and what I wanted, it may have had the chance of retaining me as a loyal customer for another decade with experience orchestration.

Customer expectations of brands knowing and understanding them have been rising, especially given how aware they are about the vast volume of customer signals companies now capture and analyze across the customer journey. Today, the expectation is that brands ought to know us better by now and, therefore, offer more relevant, personalized experiences.

Personalizing the Customer Journey with Experience Orchestration

IDC research has found that 84% of customers believe personalized experiences are as important as a brand’s products or services, 73% expect brands to understand their needs and expectations, and 66% are willing to pay more for a great experience.

Organizations need to take advantage of this by turning customer data into customer understanding — and in turn deliver the kind of timely, orchestrated experiences their customers demand. The business benefits are undeniable: IDC research shows that these outcomes then translate into reduced cost to serve, improved customer loyalty, and lifetime value, with associated CX improvements having been shown to result in a 25% profitability increase, 24% improved retention, and 24% average expansion in customer spend. 

So, how should your organization go about doing this — and at scale? Let’s explain the key elements of experience orchestration that allow you to personalize the customer journey.

#1. Omnichannel Feedback and Signal Capture

Yes, brands have a lot of data. But is it the right data? A holistic understanding of customers relies on the capture of signals across their whole omnichannel journey.

This means not just the direct feedback you’ve asked for, but also the indirect feedback — passive signals — from touchpoints and interactions that are already happening, such as contact center call logs, sales data, and social media posts. Historically, these signals were locked in adjacent and disconnected customer experience management (CEM) platforms.

Industry-leading CEM platforms, however, now include experience orchestration to build a contextualized picture of customer behavior and intention. 

#2. Unified Customer Data

One of the biggest barriers enterprises face in achieving customer experience excellence is data fragmentation. Any pursuit of timely, relevant, and seamless end-to-end experience delivery through experience orchestration relies on data silos to be broken down and data to be unified to form an authentic view of the customer.

#3. Contextualized Analysis

Once the barriers have been traversed and a single version of customer truth established through unified data, the stage is set for analytics to develop an understanding of each individual customer journey with the brand. This is where all the captured signals indicating a customer’s transactions, preferences, and conversations are translated into contextual understanding.

#4. Real-time Decisioning

After a single view of the customer has emerged and analytics is undertaken to develop a contextual understanding of the customer, an activation layer enables the organization to respond. Crucially, this needs to happen in real time, enabling the brand to determine the next best experience that is relevant to add value to the customer journey in the context of everything known about a customer up to that point. When context, relevance, and timeliness converge, true experience orchestration is achieved.

Orchestration is not only reactive to customers’ needs. It’s also preemptive, using predictive analytics to anticipate needs before a customer is aware of them.

Overcome Organizational Fragmentation and Unlock CX Success with Experience Orchestration

Experience orchestration needs omnichannel feedback and signal capture, unified customer data, contextualized analysis, and real-time decisioning to improve overall customer experience.

Here’s an example with a global automotive manufacturer. The business centralized data and insights from 3,000 dealerships and 40,000 employees across more than 120 countries. The insights gained were used to guide employees to eliminate friction, improve engagement quality, and reduce response times. The highest priority experience issues were identified, forming a “shopping list” from which the team worked to resolve, based on observed behaviors.

Finally, the experience orchestration system was used to coordinate an omnichannel communications and engagement strategy, allowing the company to engage the customer in a seamless, joined-up interaction no matter which channel the customer engaged on.

Implementing experiences that are seamless, timely, relevant and, ultimately, helpful adds value for the customer. So there’s no doubt experience orchestration makes sense to any customer-centric organization prioritizing CX and targeting customer experience metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer satisfaction (CSAT), and customer effort score (CES).

To do so, your organization needs to overcome a handful of common fragmentations that prevents experience orchestration from being implemented successfully:

  • Data silos: Break down data silos to achieve a unified customer view that forms the foundation of seamless experience orchestration.
  • Organizational silos: Organizational silos prevent the interdepartmental cooperation necessary to deliver services that are coordinated and connected across channels.
  • Tech stack fragmentation: One of the biggest issues reported by CX leaders is the proliferation of tools they need to navigate to manage customer experience. Understand the key components of experience orchestration and organize and harmonize your tech stack around this.

Bridging these disconnections and bringing the business together around the customer positions a brand to deliver differentiated, timely, and relevant customer experiences. IDC research is also very clear about the operational building blocks benefitting the organization in this pursuit: 46% of organizations cited improved customer query and issue resolution as a top benefit, along with contributing to improved products/services (39%), reacting quicker to moments of customer attrition risk (36%), and enabling differentiated and more accurate pricing (27%).

Check out this IDC infographic sponsored by Medallia to discover everything CX leaders need to know about experience orchestration.