person's  arm with  a  map of the world  tattoo
PHOTO: Don Ross III

Effective customer journey maps aren't the purview of only one department. Companies need to involve stakeholders and experts from the right departments in the process, executives agree. But which departments to involve is a matter for debate. 

Among the recommendations of what departments to include are:

Marketing, Customer Support, UX

"Proper journey mapping is key to success," said Joe Terrell, founder of Drifted. "In this way, you understand how your users think and know their pain points in order to offer them the desired experience."

Terrell sees including representatives from the following departments as essential in developing customer journey maps:

  • Marketing: This is a pillar of building the journey mapping as it research the target audience, their preferences, the trends on the market and matching value proposition of the company with the user demands.
  • Customer support: These people are working on the frontline with your customers, so they first receive the negative feedback from your users, complaints that something is not clear for them and common types of requests, so they can give their inputs and contribute to building the portrait of the target persona, Terrell said.
  • UX team: These people are researching the best ways of interactions with the system, user behavior, common pain points when working with certain interface elements and psychological aspects of building the experience. So they will be a valuable asset when it comes to prototyping the user journey.

Related Article: The Secret to Actionable VoC and Customer Journey Mapping Programs

Don't Bring Everyone in at the Start

Having multiple stakeholders involved too early in the process can result in the "too many cooks" phenomena — dragging the process to a standstill before it even gets off the ground. Bringing in stakeholders to review potential journey maps eases the process and respects everyone's time.

“The best journey maps start in the UI/UX department, then are reviewed with stakeholders for input on each subject matter,” said Amber Sawaya of Anchor & Alpine. “Sales may tell you that customers aren't connecting with the marketing messages. Marketing may tell you that customers are harder to reach in a certain vertical. Tech/dev may have a novel new way to solve customer frustrations or bottlenecks. Including finance will often help that team understand the business in a new way, but can also give insight into what happens in accounts receivable and how the entire process can be improved. There are often a set of circumstances that impact the usability of a product — from how it looks, to how well it functions, to what it costs, to uptime and availability. When you understand why customers act like they do, from a variety of insightful perspectives, you are a lot closer to solving their problems.”

Related Article: Customer Journey Mapping: Navigating a Course to Better Customer Relations

Always Involve the Voice of the Customer

“When we do journey mapping exercises as part of our product planning workshops, we like to a have a representative set of cross-functional roles present,” said Adam Fingerman, chief experience officer for ArcTouch. “What matters most is that regardless of the role, they all have an opportunity to speak as the ‘voice of the customer.’ That’s the key part — everyone has as voice.”

Some voices are louder and represent a more significant part of the customer journey, Fingerman added. Other voices are softer, but all are heard.

“We have found that front-line facing roles, such as field sales, customer success or customer support representatives often have some of the most insightful input to mapping the customer journey,” Fingerman said. “Their contribution is often invaluable, but they are sometimes left out of the process. We make sure not to.”

Related Article: Empathy Fuels Today's Voice of Customer Programs

Know Your Ideal Customer

Business leaders are responsible for communicating their overall goals and mission with their business, which is important to target where customers and profits originate, said Zach Reece, owner of Colony Roofers. Understanding who the ideal client customer is gives a company the opportunity to excel in that particular area, and to map out a customer journey map that drives the business forward.

Business development managers are essential to journey mapping because they can innovate new ways to help the business progress, whether it's through acquiring new products, development of marketing campaigns, customer experience procedures, as well as the back end development of an organization, Reece added.

Related Article: Not All Customers Are Created Equal

Don't Forget DevOps 

“Sales and marketing departments are essential in being involved with journey mapping because they are key to understanding how and what to present to consumers on the front end, while DevOps departments are in charge of responses to all if not the majority of consumer feedback that would be acquired through sales and marketing campaigns and initiatives,” said John Li, co-founder of Fig Loans.

The whole premise of a services-based business runs on these factors — data gathering, development, outreach through marketing, sales campaigns, consumer feedback, further development or improvement, and upgrades — all of which involve sales, marketing and DevOps departments, Li explained. Similarly, upper-level management and decision-makers have the final say when it comes to these initiatives.