A New Era for Journey Orchestration

Journey orchestration is the ability to deliberately create individual journeys for customers based on your data, sending the right messages at the right time to the right customer.

Platforms from Salesforce, Adobe, and others incorporate this capability into their platforms, and third-party offerings from Thunderhead, Kitewheel, Usermind, and Pointillist work across systems, without having to put everything into your CRM.

It still surprises me how slowly the marketplace has grown since Heart of the Customer first began offering journey orchestration capabilities almost two years ago. According to Owler, the four cross-platform companies I named above have a combined estimated revenue of less than $50 million.

For years now, it’s felt like this capability was just about to take off, especially given the strong return on investment it offers. Deliberately orchestrating journeys is a great way for one company to differentiate itself (and lead) in the marketplace, with their competitors playing catch-up and scrambling to follow suit soon after.

But it hasn’t played out that way. Yet.

There’s now good evidence that it’s about to, based on changes with two of these companies I mentioned.

First, CSG purchased Kitewheel. That may have gone unnoticed by many in the CX community, but it certainly captured our attention. Suddenly, Kitewheel’s journey orchestration and analytics capabilities are a part of a larger family of offerings, providing a much larger sales and marketing engine.

But that was nothing compared to the announcement of Usermind’s acquisition by Qualtrics. We’ve worked with Usermind for awhile now, even co-creating white papers, webinars, and a survey of CX leaders.

Potential and possibilities

Integrating their capabilities with Qualtrics has the opportunity to be a game-changer. Now it will be even easier to combine communications, journey management, and surveys into a seamless journey.

Imagine a life insurance purchase journey. When the journey begins, the company can push a survey asking how the customer feels about the potential purchase, and determine whether she’s excited, anxious, or noncommittal, and whether she wants to receive updates on the journey through text, email, or another method.

Armed with that information, journey orchestration kicks in. If she selected “anxious” in the survey, the company delivers a message to her agent sharing how she’s anxious, including a guide on how to communicate with anxious customers. The preferred communication is updated in the CRM, verifying the contact information. When the operational system updates to show that she has a health exam, the orchestration engine looks to the CRM to see that she wants a text, and sends a request to the communications management platform to send her a link to a document on how to prepare for an exam, also sending a notification to her agent.

Qualtrics’ purchase of Usermind results in the company owning four of the five pieces of the CX Tech Stack, including VoC software, customer health dashboards, journey analytics, and journey orchestration. All that’s missing is journey mapping software.

Which begs the question: Who’s next?

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