Optimizing Contact Center Experience with Customer Journey Orchestration

Annette Franz

March 4, 20243 min read

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In this article, Annette Franz, CX thought leader, explores journey orchestration in contact centers, highlighting its strategic role in optimizing customer experiences through a customer-centric culture, data-driven insights, personalization, and automation. Benefits include a simplified, consistent experience fostering satisfaction and loyalty, while challenges involve data integration and balancing automation with the human touch. 

The contact center is a pivotal touchpoint in the customer journey. Customers use contact centers as the primary channel to interact with your company, especially post-purchase. Given that, the experience must be simple and effortless. One of the primary tools that brands can use to ensure those are two attributes customers use to describe their experience is customer journey orchestration.  

What is it? What are some of the critical ingredients to execute a journey orchestration strategy? What are the benefits of using journey orchestration in the contact center? Are there implementation challenges? 

Let’s explore all of that in this article. 

Table of Contents

 Journey Orchestration Defined

Journey orchestration is still a mystery to many folks, so let’s start with clearing that up and explaining the concept.   

Google/Oxford Languages defines orchestration as “the planning or coordination of the elements of a situation to produce a desired effect, especially surreptitiously.”  

Think of it as a strategic approach to managing and optimizing the end-to-end experience a customer has with a brand across various touchpoints and channels throughout their entire journey with the brand. It involves designing and delivering personalized, seamless, and consistent interactions across channels that cater to the individual needs and preferences of a customer at every interaction. 

It's about creating a positive, cohesive, and memorable experience by coordinating all interactions and touchpoints, whether digital or not, to provide customers with a smooth and engaging journey that ensures their needs are met, and the jobs they are trying to do are achieved. 

Critical Ingredients of a Journey Orchestration Strategy

 Like any other work you’ll undertake to design and deliver a great customer experience, there’s got to be a clear strategy for how it will be executed.   

Critical ingredients for a successful journey orchestration strategy include a customer-centric culture, customer understanding, data-driven insights, personalization, and omnichannel integration.  

That strategy has critical elements and principles that must be considered for success, including the following.  

  • Customer-Centric Culture: Designing and delivering an outstanding experience starts with a culture that puts the customer at the center of all it does, ensuring the customer will be at the heart of your orchestration strategy.    

  • Customer Understanding: Do the work to understand who your customers are, as well as their preferences, pain points, journeys, and problems to solve. Personas and journey maps are critical tools to have in your orchestration toolbox. 

  • Data-Driven Insights: Customer journey orchestration relies heavily on data collection, analysis, and usage. Companies gather and leverage customer data to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and interactions and then use it to tailor the experience accordingly. 

  • Personalization: Orchestration aims to deliver personalized experiences for customers. You must use customer data and insights to provide targeted content, product recommendations, and support. You’ve to make the journey more relevant and meaningful for each individual and ensure they achieve their desired outcomes with a bit of help/nudge from the brand. 

  • Omnichannel Integration: With the proliferation of communication channels, customers expect a seamless experience when interacting with a brand across multiple touchpoints. Customer journey orchestration seeks to unify these channels to ensure a consistent and cohesive experience across the board. 

  • Automation and Artificial Intelligence: Automation and AI significantly scale personalization and deliver real-time interactions. Use them to analyze customer data and behaviors to provide relevant recommendations, automate routine tasks, and offer proactive support. 

  • Continuity and Consistency: Customer journey orchestration ensures that the experience is consistent across different touchpoints and stages of the customer journey. It ensures customers avoid repeating information or starting over when switching between channels. 

  • Adaptability and Flexibility: Customer journeys can vary based on individual needs and external factors. Orchestration strategies must adapt to changing customer preferences, needs, and expectations. Think of it as a conversation or a two-way street that adapts to where the customer is in the journey relative to the desired outcome.  

  • Value Creation and Delivery: Your interactions with the customer along the journey and the proposed next best actions must create and deliver value for the customer and ensure that the customer achieves her desired outcomes. 

Benefits of Journey Orchestration  

Why orchestrate customer journeys? What are the benefits of doing this? I can think of a few different benefits for customers, including:  

  • A simplified, personalized, and consistent experience across all channels and touchpoints. 

  • An experience driven by recommended next best actions that helps the customer achieve her goals and desired outcomes. 

  • Fewer customers abandon what they’re doing; you’ve eliminated the friction along the journey and guided them to achieve the jobs they are trying to do. 

  • Higher satisfaction because needs are met and value is delivered. 

  • Increased loyalty and retention because customers are delighted that their needs have been met and they’ve achieved their desired outcomes. 

In the symphony of customer interactions, orchestration is the conductor that harmonizes seamless engagements, propelling satisfaction, loyalty, and business success.

The customer benefits translate into good things for the business as well. Just some of those benefits include:  

  • Upsell and cross-sell opportunities increase because the business has a comprehensive view of the customer journey and can identify appropriate moments to offer additional products or services that align with customers' needs and preferences. 

  • Brands achieve better customer insights because data usage and collection during orchestration are cyclical processes: using data to orchestrate and gather data while orchestrating. 

  • Orchestration means delivering targeted offers and content; Personalization can increase conversion rates. 

  • A well-designed and orchestrated journey can be a unique selling point for a business. The competitive advantage and differentiation it afford set the brand apart from others in the industry. 

  • Orchestration involves continuously monitoring and refining your strategy based on customer feedback and changing market dynamics, allowing the business to be more agile and adaptable to customer expectations to stay relevant. 

Challenges of Orchestrating the Contact Center Journey 

Yes, journey orchestration has a lot of positives, but it can also present some challenges. It is best to be aware of them, plan and adapt your strategy to avoid or mitigate them. Here are a few challenges you may encounter when implementing your orchestration strategy in the contact center. 

  • Data availability and accessibility: orchestration is rooted in data from various sources, but your contact center (or your company, in general) may have data stored in disparate systems and databases. Data integration can be complex and time-consuming. 

  • Legacy systems: Your contact center may be fraught with legacy systems and infrastructure that might not be able to support the needs and requirements of orchestration. 

  • Organizational silos: Orchestration requires collaboration and data sharing. If your organization lives and operates in silos, orchestration will be challenging to achieve. 

  • Lack of real-time data and insights: Orchestration also requires real-time, in-the-moment decision-making. With it, your ability to personalize interactions will be unlimited. 

Scale actionable insights from contact center to other parts of the organization seamlessly

  • Balancing automation and human touch: Contact centers often rely on human interactions and automated processes. Finding the right balance will be essential to deliver personalized experiences that don’t skimp on understanding and empathy. 

  • Scalability: As your contact center operations and customer base grow, it will be essential to ensure that your orchestration strategy can scale to handle larger volumes and complexities that often come with growth.  

While there are challenges to implementing any strategy, the benefits outweigh the challenges. As with any other strategy, take the time to conduct a pre-mortem to minimize the challenges and mitigate the risks. And upon implementation, conduct a post-mortem to assess the process to adapt moving forward. After all, orchestration is an iterative process in and of itself. 

Improved customer experiences, increased agent productivity, and better business outcomes are worth it!  

Using a strategic approach, collaborating across departments to ensure seamless and consistent experiences regardless of channel, and having a customer-centric mindset is the root of orchestrating a successful journey for customers interacting with the contact center. 

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