Business buyers, consumers and employees are emerging from the past year with high expectations for a great experience. Eighty percent of customers say that “the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services” according to the Salesforce State of the Connected Customer, 4th Edition (pdf). And 92% of employees believe it’s important for their employers to listen to their feedback according to Qualtrics, 2021 Employee Experience Trends.
However, despite all the discussion about customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX) during the big pivot last year, many brands still aren’t meeting those expectations. Fifty-four percent of customers in the Salesforce survey said it often feels to them like a company’s sales, service and marketing teams don’t share information, indicating a fragmented and frustrating journey. Meanwhile, only 7% of the employees surveyed by Qualtrics said their employers act “really well” on their feedback, highlighting missed opportunities for experience improvement.
How can brands improve the experience for customers and employees, create a better journey, earn more repeat business and increase loyalty? They do so by gathering information and creating a cohesive experience at every touchpoint by orchestrating, not simply mapping, the customer journey.
Journey Mapping vs. Journey Orchestration
Mapping identifies what’s happening with the customer journey at any given moment. While mapping can be used to project what a journey should look like, customer journey orchestration is more effective for that purpose because it focuses on deeper thinking about the ideal journey. It also includes considerations about the user experience and design elements required to reach the ideal state.
For example, the customer journey map for an airline’s digital experiences might follow these essential steps:
- Booking a ticket.
- Checking in for a flight.
- Checking bags.
- Scanning a boarding pass.
- Finding a connecting flight.
- Arriving at a destination.
Orchestration will then carefully consider all of the connections — emotional, technological and sensory — at each of those mapped touchpoints.
For instance, in a popular airline app, passengers can opt-in to identify where they parked their car. Car location at the airport isn’t inherently part of the service an airline provides, but that extra interaction and assistance at the conclusion of a trip can put the bow on top of the journey for the customer and make the entire experience more engaging.
Orchestration can reduce customer stress at each step on the map by layering the right information on top of every step. For example, most of us are familiar with the worry that our checked bags won’t arrive with us at our destination. With proper orchestration, a passenger can check their bag and then receive a pre-takeoff confirmation that the bag is on the plane, followed upon arrival by a message telling them which carousel to go to for bag pickup. In this way, the airline enhances the customer journey by being considerate of the customer’s needs and concerns along the way.
Related Article: Decisioning vs. Orchestration: What’s the Difference?
Orchestrating the Employee Experience
Orchestration isn’t only about enhancing digital experiences. Frontline employees who deal directly with customers are critical to journey orchestration, too. What should those interactions entail and what resources and training do employees need? Depending on your business model, orchestrating a better employee experience may mean giving your employees more agency to make decisions that support excellent customer experiences. It could mean training your frontline workers to engage in a consistent way with customers so they know they can expect the same quality of service at any location.
Orchestrating employee planning and training, with feedback from employees about what they need to serve customers better, gives brands the ability to build in upsell and cross-sell offers during customer-employee interactions. Companies that enhance employee experience to create a better customer experience “achieved 1.8 times faster revenue growth,” according to research conducted in June 2020.
Related Article: What Design Thinking Can Bring to Employee Experience Programs
Preparing for and Implementing Orchestration
Journey orchestration starts with the right team, which will ideally include a digital strategist, user experience expert, service designer and visual designer. As a whole or in smaller groups, these people will conduct research and interview stakeholders — customers, employees, partners and other people involved in journey delivery — to define key personas, map their existing touchpoints and audit the current digital ecosystem or service-delivery experience.
Once you know where you can improve EX and CX, the next step is implementing those changes, whether they’re new digital features, new training and protocols for employees, or something else. As part of your implementation, decide which KPIs to monitor so you can measure the impact of your orchestration efforts. That can include traditional KPIs such as net promoter score, and customer and employee satisfaction and churn rates. It can also include revenue data for new upsell opportunities that your orchestration program creates.
Related Article: The Intersection of Employee Experience and Customer Experience
Creating a Harmonious Experience for Customers and Employees
Orchestration enables businesses to be competitive by meeting and exceeding customer expectations and creating a better EX. It does this by bridging the gaps in the journey map, enabling better employee-customer interactions, and reducing low-level stress and anxiety that customers might have during their journey. A well-thought-out orchestration program can lead to more satisfied customers, better customer and employee retention, and faster revenue growth.
Michelle Berryman leads interactive strategy for digital customer experience at Capgemini in North America. The practice centers on guiding the vision and innovation efforts for digital customer experience with websites, social channels, ecommerce initiatives, software, portals and applications.