When it comes to orchestrating communication to drive engagement, an omnichannel engagement hub can be crucial.
By Brent Haumann, MD of Striata
An omnichannel engagement hub, also known as a customer engagement hub (CEH) is a technology stack made up of platforms that are able to orchestrate with each other to provide relevant, personalised, consistent, digital experiences across all channels.
Typically, a CEH framework can consist of 12 to 18 categories of functionality and can be enabled by as many different technologies.
There are multiple vendors which specialise in different aspects of the omnichannel experience stack. Complex integration is required across all source systems and all channels.
An orchestration platform is essentially the nervous system of the omnichannel technology hub. This platform records all engagement information, across all the activation channels, including digital communication, portals, call center. By collecting data in real time, the orchestration platform stitches it together with previous actions, associates related data from multiple data sources and uses these data points to make intelligent, real-time decisions on the best path for this individual engagement
The outcome is an experience that is hyper-relevant to the person based on all previous information available to the orchestration software. Relevance promotes further engagement, which means the customer is more likely to continue until they achieve the intended result (whether spend, action, adoption).
The goal of journey orchestration is ultimately to provide the most relevant information, at the right time, wrapped into the right experience, all of which drives the intended result. Another benefit is the visual reporting that enables humans to analyse behaviour and refine the decision criteria in real time, which then immediately amends the very next experience in a customer’s journey.
Intelligent orchestration drives engagement which is the future of competitive advantage.
In marketing and customer communication circles, you’ll often hear people talk about customer journeys. A lot of virtual ink has also been spilled talking about the importance of mapping the experience a customer goes through whenever they engage with the organisation. The trouble is that the word journey suggests a linear progression from point A to point B. The customer starts with an online application and proceeds as predicated to the intended outcome. In truth, things are seldom that simple.
Because customers are human, they don’t adhere to linear journeys. Instead, they go on tangents, make mistakes, take breaks from a process, get frustrated, abandon whatever they were trying to do, change channels – all of which mean they don’t progress through a planned A to B journey.
While customer experience teams can set up specific journeys for their customers, doing so means losing out on customised journeys. Each individual interaction offers a multitude of possible directions, making the visualisation of an engagement process more of a spider’s web of potential journeys.
That’s why the future of customer experience management is not based on mapping linear customer journeys, but rather the intelligent orchestration of customer engagements.
What intelligent orchestration means
Orchestration, simply put, involves taking millions of data points and ordering them in a way that enables a specific, hyper-personalised experience. From the moment a customer interacts with your organisation, on whatever platform, the direction of each next step is determined by a set of criteria (imagine a tree branching off) that is unlikely to be the same for any two individuals. The end result is a truly individualised journey for each customer.
Intelligent orchestration means the system improves its ability with each additional data point, and makes increasingly intelligent decisions. Across channels (call center, social media, communication), the system makes a decision on the next best step to send the right message on the right channel, at the right time.
It’s able to do so because of artificial intelligence executing algorithms to make decisions based on masses of data. But how does the system know who’s engaging?
There are a couple of ways it can do so:
- When a person is identified as part of the engagement (authenticated, logged in), the system adds the engagement information to the known identity.
- When the person is not identified (browsing a website), the system looks for similarities or unique identifiers (such as IP address) and based on the data on hand, resolves the identity of the person in order to continue building on that identity.
Meeting customer needs
Today’s customer expects personalisation at all levels, whether they’re dealing with a retailer ,insurer or their bank. They also expect it, no matter which channel they’re on and across channels. Equally importantly, they expect to switch between channels (which may even straddle departments) without losing the status of their process or issue.
Forcing them into specific pathways won’t facilitate that. Instead, it will alienate them. It’s therefore imperative that you take an intelligent, orchestrated approach to communication. Doing so will allow you to provide adaptive experiences that suit each individual customer and drive engagement, adoption, and experience.