Creating a CJM: Which departments should be involved (and how)?

Key takeaways:

  • Customer journey map (CJM) creation involves multiple departments beyond marketing.
  • Sales, marketing, and customer service departments play crucial roles in developing the CJM.
  • Marketing initiates the process by outlining the customer journey and identifying touchpoints.
  • Sales provides insights into customer interactions, clarifying marketing messaging and identifying potential challenges.
  • Customer service adds final touches, ensuring the CJM aligns with customer sentiment and suggesting improvements.

Since creating a customer journey map is usually a group activity, it won’t be only you who will have to find a free time spot in the calendar. While it’s true that the customer journey map is mostly used by the marketing department and it sort of falls under its dominion, other departments will definitely have a role to play, too – if not in using it so much, definitely in developing it.

CJM is a crossroad of all customer-facing departments – marketing is an obvious choice, and it’s joined by sales and customer service. In some specific cases, someone from product or legal can stop by to give quick advice or provide some guidance, but generally, it’s the first 3. 

There may be a temptation for the marketing team to save some time by leaving others out of the conversation and trying to supplement the knowledge of the omitted departments with their own. That would be a big mistake – sales and customer experience are not trivial jobs and people working there have developed an understanding and intuition that can’t be matched by listening to them at a water cooler. The gaps and inaccuracies that can occur in the CJM as a consequence are simply not worth the couple of hours saved.

There could also be a temptation to hold the initial meeting with both sales and customer service together – that may not be a good idea, either. It’s likely that one department (or its members) is more dominant than the other and they won’t have enough space to express their perspective and go deeper into it.

Having that out of the way, let’s look at what exactly should each department contribute to the customer journey map:

Marketing department

Marketers will lead the charge and be the first to outline the customer journey map. They are in control of almost whole customer journey and their work is most fundamental for attracting customers. Starting with the initial interaction a potential customer has with the company, through the sale process in most cases, all the way to post-purchase interaction.

The first task will be to translate the ongoing marketing operations into the CJM by creating activities (touchpoints) and assigning them to their respective phases in proper order. Next, when the CJM reflects the company’s current marketing strategy, they can take advantage of the bird’s-eye view it offers and try to think about what the customer’s journey clearly lacks or what areas look like they’re not addressed properly. Of course, it’s possible to keep improving the CJM as you go, but there’s usually an influx of new ideas when you see it completed for the first time because it really gives you a fresh perspective of what you’ve been doing until that point.

When it comes to the activities/touchpoints that concern sales and customer service, marketers can add all they know about and then they will look at them closer with individual departments.

Sales department

When the marketing department has the CJM outlined, it’s time to bring it to the sales department. Salespeople’s main job will be to closer describe activities that directly concern them, review what’s already in place, and identify activities or their finer details that may complicate their jobs. 

The best example is overpromising. Marketers sometimes have their bubble where they think everything in the company works as it should and this is where salespeople who are more in touch with day-to-day operations have to step in and clarify any statements that don’t reflect what the company is able to offer. You don’t want marketers shouting from the rooftops that you have the fastest delivery times in the area when salespeople know that one of your suppliers has too much on his plate and your orders which your production is dependent on will be coming in much later than usual for the foreseeable future, rendering your fastest delivery times unrealistic.

Same as marketers, when salespeople have a chance (probably for the first time) to look at the consolidated marketing strategy of their company, a thing or two will very likely come to mind about what can be improved.

Customer service department

The final touches of the initial CJM draft will be done by customer service. Their knowledge of what customers care about, complain about and have problems with is instrumental in keeping the CJM in tune with the customer sentiment and they are able to suggest to marketers certain narratives and areas they can lean into.

Customer service representatives are the group that’s most aware of any product or service deficiencies because they have to deal with dissatisfied or angry customers regularly. If these deficiencies are something beyond the control of the departments we’re talking about in this article, there’s almost always a way to at least better handle the customers who encounter them, or prepare them that they could.

In the section above we’ve mentioned salespeople catching overpromising statements in marketing communication. Customer service reps can do the same, but from a little different angle: when there’s a problem with the customers’ expectations and the company didn’t overpromise, it very likely marketed its products or services in a way that made customers misunderstand the promise.

Additionally, they can pass on some insights they acquired by communicating with customers every day. Maybe the customer service of the fishing supplies online store noticed that they have a lot of newbie fishermen who are asking about fishing regulations in various places, which is a great content idea for the marketing team – put together an easy-to-understand fishing regulations guide for the most popular local fishing spots to reach other new fishermen looking for this information.

Iterations

After the marketing department incorporates the insights from sales and customer support, it’s a good idea to assemble all 3 departments and go through the CJM again together. It may take a few iterations to get it right – maybe there were some iterations needed after the initial meetings with respective departments, too. The point is that all insights have to be carefully integrated, and rather than quickly squeezing them into the CJM during the meeting, it’s better to note them somewhere and add them later while carefully considering their wider implications.

It’s also a good practice to schedule an interdepartmental meeting every month or so to review how the outlined strategy is working and discuss any updates. After all, a customer journey is a dynamic thing and it should be treated as such.

Do you want to create an interactive and easy-to-use customer journey map with powerful touchpoints, personas, automatic KPI import & monitoring, and much more?

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