5 Must-Know Steps to Winning Customer Journey Orchestration


As many as 60% of consumers share the sentiment that talking to a brand feels like talking to several separate departments, instead of one cohesive company. 

With statistics like that, sometimes it’s no wonder that customers are becoming increasingly impatient with brand experiences. People are increasingly willing to switch to brands that keep things consistent, personalized, and timely.

We can tell you one thing for a fact: The businesses that retain consumers the best (and win over frustrated wanderers) are those that invest in customer journey orchestration (CJO).

Yet…60% of customers in that disjointed frame of mind about brands makes it pretty clear that CJO isn’t as prevalent across industries as it ought to be. That said, let’s explore a little about CJO, and why it’s a subject that shouldn’t be skipped.

What is customer journey orchestration?

A lot of marketers get used to looking at their prospects as groups that share similar traits—also known as segments. Segments do help inform a lot about who our potential buyers are and what’s important to them. However, segment journey orchestration has its limitations. 

Any number of people with similar traits may have reached their current point through different paths. And those different paths of approach can easily mean different end journeys. So, no matter how many traits these people share, one nudge, message, or offer likely won’t have the same effect on all of them.

Customer journey orchestration addresses this issue. It involves evaluating consumers individually and analyzing their omnichannel journey data in real time to predict the next best engagement. From there, customer orchestration involves testing new experiences across pivotal points in individual customer journeys to find optimal ways to engage.

Why is customer journey orchestration important?

It’s only becoming more and more important to present unified experiences with your brand. But when your customer experience spans many channels, and those channels are managed by many different teams, it’s easy for things to become disjointed.

Customer journey orchestration not only helps to understand and predict consumer paths on the individual level, which increases meaningful engagements. It’s additionally an essential part of the process toward connecting experiences across all channels, and teams.

Gathering customer journey data from all your channels in one place also makes it much easier to sync up with automation systems capable of triggering future personalized engagements. So, instead of reacting to data after the fact, you can engage with journeys as they happen.

Who Needs Customer Journey Orchestration

To put things plainly: When you have a lot of data circulating and an enormous amount of touchpoints with consumers across their lifetime…CJO is the way forward.

CJO helps break down key interactions with consumers as individuals and establishes real-time reach out at make-or-break moments, which is vital for the success of businesses whose funnels are so large and widespread.

And if your company struggles to connect, retain, or improve the lifelong value of prospects, it’s likely because the stages of the journey are too siloed and disconnected.

That said, there are a handful of industries for whom CJO is especially important. Take a look at some of these industries and the ‘why’ behind CJO below.


Online shopping presents endless opportunities for make-or-break moments. And the line between make and break is shockingly thin. Consumers have very little patience for companies whose digital experience orchestration doesn’t meet their expectations.

Brick-and-mortar businesses might benefit a little bit from upset patrons having limited alternative options in the surrounding area. Online, there are near-limitless options they could shift attention to at any time—like the moment a site search doesn’t yield the results they need.

CJO helps ecommerce businesses catch points of contention in their digital experiences as they happen and helps them quickly course-correct consumers who have become flippant.

Telecommunication providers

Few industries experience a gamut of interactions as complex as telecom. For a lot of telecom businesses, consumer interactions happen in-store, over the phone, or online.

Each step of this journey is vital to maintaining customers for longer lifecycles, from plan education and selection to activating service, troubleshooting issues, paying bills, new devices, and much more. Success isn’t as simple as one purchase—it’s a combination of signups, payments, renewals, and upgrades.

Telecom companies need CJO to understand how these intricate touchpoints affect each other over an extended journey and to see where the biggest pain points for retention are among them.

Healthcare providers

Keeping patients engaged throughout their healthcare journeys takes a lot of planning and a lot of engagement across various experiences. 

While the biggest piece of the healthcare journey happens offline (the appointment), it usually starts over the phone, persists through email or text reminders, and delivers results and prescription notifications through an app or site portal. From there, the battle turns to patient retention: Which is a unique cycle in itself.

For healthcare, CJO is essential to understanding how all these online and offline components fit together, and where patients drop off between them. It helps healthcare businesses know when and how to remind and reengage patients for continued retention.

Steps to successful customer journey orchestration

It’s important to keep in mind that customer journey orchestration (CJO) is an intensive and ever-evolving investment. Successful CJO efforts are built on significant amounts of data and testing to see how individuals respond to different personalized engagements. Experimentation and incremental gains are part of the territory.

Even when you have customer data orchestration in place, and you’ve done a lot of testing, journeys always change. So you’ll need to be prepared for constant evolutions of your experiences across channels to appeal to new journeys, and better engage familiar journeys.

That said, when you’re just getting started, there are a handful of key steps you can use to ensure a successful start and healthy evolution over time.

1. Choose robust customer journey orchestration tools

Most companies have several different tools that track and interact with consumer journeys. However, not all of these tools work together with one another, and switching between them tends to break data up into siloed pieces.

To start orchestrating effectively, you’ll need tools that can help you:

There are a lot of customer journey orchestration software out there that fit the bill for each of these categories. But the best tools for the job integrate seamlessly with one another, can process large amounts of data without restrictions, and can gather data from any source (online or offline). The large suite of Adobe journey orchestration tools, for instance, are world-class solutions to the entire CJO process.

2. Gather data, and establish key KPIs

Once you have a centralized data collection platform and a customer journey analysis platform in place, it’s time to connect those to every relevant data source you can and rake in the data.

You might have data flowing in from sources like your website, your digital advertising, your call center, your brick-and-mortar stores, etc. Any and every point your consumers touch is a data point worth bringing in.

While you bring in historical data and current data for a fuller picture, you’ll need to work on defining the core KPIs that determine the success of your soon-to-be CJO. This varies from business to business, but often the KPIs that matter most are the areas in which your company sees the need for most improvement.

Are you seeing that it’s harder to retain consumers than it used to be? Are churn rates unusually high this past year? Are you most interested in learning to pinpoint and acquire more prospects with a higher lifetime value?

All three of the above KPIs—retention rate, churn rate, and customer lifetime value—are related, and will each most likely play a part in evaluating the strength of your CJO.

3. Audit your existing customer journey

Where is your customer journey most cohesive? Where is it most disjointed? Figuring out your journey’s pain points and learning how your fans experience your brand will be your first (and most important) step toward orchestration.
One solid way to audit the paths your consumers take is by creating customer journey maps. These maps won’t be able to highlight every journey to exist, but you can certainly map out the paths most traveled, and gain insights that would also apply to alternate paths.

Look for commonalities across multiple different journeys, like consumers dropping off after receiving emails from you, or hesitations to complete checkout. These will be excellent indicators that something in your experiences is amiss, and it should be fairly easy to spot where the problems lie. Fixing them, however, will take more planning and testing through CJO.

4. Set up rules for automated personalized engagement

If managing individual consumer profiles and trying to engage with their journeys in real-time sounds impossible—don’t worry. No one’s asking you to individually watch and engage with thousands of people at any given time.

Marketing automation tools are a vital part of CJO for a reason: They respond to real-time triggers with timely personalized experiences on your behalf. For example, when someone has added something to their cart, but not checked out, that might be a trigger for your automation to send along an email nudge.

You’ll need to put in some work to set up the rules along your journey that determine when your automation will trigger and what they’ll do. But after that, your prospects will be receiving personalized experiences whether you’re there to deliver them or not, at the exact moments they’re needed.

5. Test small, and work your way up

When you’re first starting with CJO, and you’re able to see endless customer journeys stretched out before you, it can be tempting to get to work testing a lot of different variables.

But trust us, if you try to test too many variables in one journey at a time, your results will easily become complicated and unclear. 

A good rule of thumb is to start with your first introductions to a consumer, and slowly test different ways to nurture engagement in the subsequent touch. Once you’ve found the optimal engagement for that stage, continue onward.


There you have it—customer journey orchestration in a nutshell. By now, you should have a solid concept of what CJO is, why you need it, and how to make yours successful.

For enterprise businesses that want to succeed in an increasingly CX-centric world, CJO should be a necessity, not an afterthought. The customer journey orchestration platforms you bring on board will also make all the difference in how easy it is to achieve and maintain CJO success.

CJO is one of the world’s best (unintentionally) kept secrets. But if more businesses begin to adopt and nourish strong orchestration practices, more consumers will get the feeling that they’re speaking to unified brands, not isolated cubicles.

All that said—how many of your customers do you think see your brand as a unified front?


How is journey orchestration different from journey management?

Journey orchestration takes more of a magnifying glass to the individual consumer, and uses their past experiences with your brand to determine the next best interaction with them in real time.

Journey management, on the other hand, looks at customer journeys through a broader scope and evaluates the journeys of groups in similar segments. You may still be strategizing on the best ways to engage these segments in the future based on their shared traits as a whole, but you’re usually not doing it on an individual or real-time basis.

What are the three levels of journey orchestration?

There are three levels of journey orchestration. Orchestrating a generalized journey: You look at a general, linear path customers may take and orchestrate it as a whole. Orchestrating segmented journeys: You look at paths across various customer segments and orchestrate those journeys for whole segments. Orchestrating individual journeys: You look at individual customer profiles and orchestrate their journeys real-time.

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