Customer Journey

Mastering Customer Journey Management: A Holistic, Cross-Functional Guide

Antti Nivala
Customer Journey

Mastering Customer Journey Management: A Holistic, Cross-Functional Guide

Antti Nivala
November 17, 2023


In the complex web of today's organizations, managing customer journeys often becomes a task divided across various departments, from marketing to customer service. This fragmented approach can lead to inefficiencies and missed opportunities. Our comprehensive guide on effective digital customer journey management highlights the importance of a holistic, cross-functional strategy. We'll delve into how centralized leadership and customer experience (CX) leads can transform this crucial aspect of business, ensuring a seamless experience that benefits both the company and its customers.

A realistic take on how journeys are managed

In many organizations, the ownership of the customer journey is distributed among different departments. Marketing typically handles awareness, sales focuses on the sales funnel, IT manages the back-office order and payment process, and customer service (or customer success, in case you operate in B2B) handles customer needs following the purchase. Oftentimes, this means that multiple teams and individuals are involved in managing and measuring the customer journey.

To illustrate how distributing ownership can negatively impact the customer journey, let's consider an example from the travel industry. Campaigns are planned by the marketing department based on annual marketing plans, seasonalities, and occasional changes in weather patterns, with success measured by email open rates, click-through rates, or site traffic, whereas IT looks at system performance and uptimes, customer service monitors incoming tickets and sales focuses on short-term revenue impact. The actual, holistic impact on the business as a whole may be difficult to piece together.

In the digital sales channel, optimizing the conversion process is crucial, but it should be viewed as part of the entire customer journey. Beyond basic metrics like AOV and conversion rates, understanding the nuances of customer lifetime value (CLV) and cart abandonment rates offers deeper insights. These metrics not only illuminate the effectiveness of the purchasing stage but also reflect broader customer engagement and satisfaction across the journey.

For example, a high cart abandonment rate could indicate friction not just in the transaction phase but also in earlier stages of the journey, such as in the transition from consideration to purchase. Addressing this by simplifying the checkout process can enhance the overall customer experience, leading to improved satisfaction and loyalty.

In an ideal scenario, customers enjoy a smooth journey, but there can be unforeseen circumstances where tickets need to be canceled, rescheduled, or refunded with the help of customer service. Customer service has access to tens of systems to check and verify how the customer interacted with the company in the past, but a typical customer journey in problematic cases might lead to customers telling the same story of their issue over and over again to different customer service agents, leading to many frustrations.

Thus, a focused approach on these key metrics, integrated within the context of the entire customer journey, provides a more comprehensive understanding of customer interactions and helps in developing more effective strategies across all touchpoints.


Effective Digital Customer Journey Management

Our approach to effective customer journey management is to evaluate the impact of each exercise around the customer journey holistically to be able to measure the impact of each stage and to gain full control of each touchpoint in the customer journey, ensuring a seamless experience for both customers and the company. 

This approach minimizes the impact of internal ownership on the customer's interaction with the sales funnel.

In large organizations with complex product or service offerings, customer journey management becomes more challenging. To measure and develop customer journey effectively we believe that the team needs to have visibility and input on marketing, funnel optimization, and development activities that all contribute to the customer journey. In reality, these activities are managed by different teams from different departments with separate budgets. We propose to have a cross-functional team that has visibility on all ongoing major activities that impact customer journey and can therefore help to plan different activities and to measure and evaluate the impact on customer journey.

To enhance the efficiency of customer journey management, the role of Customer Experience (CX) Leads is pivotal. Traditionally, these individuals have faced challenges such as unclear roles and a lack of executive mandate, which can detach them from day-to-day operational impact. Our approach advocates for structuring a virtual, cross-functional team around the CX Lead. This arrangement empowers the CX Lead to not only steer strategy and oversee management but also to drive concrete execution. By centralizing leadership in this way, CX Leads can effectively coordinate across departments, ensuring that the customer journey is cohesive, strategically aligned, and directly responsive to customer needs and feedback.

For example, marketing campaigns should be planned from both product and customer perspective: Are new products or services something all our customers want or could the campaign targeting be more granular and personalized?

After the launch of a campaign the impact should be measured throughout the sales funnel and user activity should be tracked when possible to measure the impact on the sales. The activity that campaigns create in the funnel should be separated from the technical or UX improvements or new elements that are added to the site or service. The more complex the funnel or product is, there will be more individual components that can impact the performance and the conversion of the site.

The larger the organization, the more complex the customer journey management becomes, but centralizing the planning and execution of actions can lead to more effective customer journey management and improved results throughout the funnel.


Effective management of the customer journey demands a shift towards centralized ownership. By placing the responsibility within a cross-functional, dedicated team, it becomes possible to oversee, analyze, and optimize actions that affect the customer journey. This approach aims to create value for both the customer and the company while eliminating potential disruptions caused by fragmented ownership of customer touchpoints.

In today's ever-evolving marketplace, the true measure of success isn't isolated KPIs; it's the overall satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy of your customers. In the digital race for consumer attention and loyalty, mastering the art of customer journey management is the key to lasting success. Embark on this journey and watch your business thrive in the digital age.

We hope this helps! If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out.