5 ways to improve your customer journey

Customer journey map

Today, every innovation-driven and customer-oriented organization makes use of customer journey maps to visualize several journeys and to ultimately improve the customer experience. The reason why we map out our customer’s journey for a specific service or product is to identify the gap between the current journey (as is) and the journey that the customer would find ideal (to be).

You’ll start with mapping out the current customer journey (as is). Here you can download our template for customer journey mapping. But once you’ve done this exercise, what’s the next step?

Once you have your customer journey map ready, here are a few options you can consider to trigger relevant ideas and improve the customer experience.

Remove the pain points.

First things first: identify the points where your customers are having a hard time. Do your very best to remove these pain points from your journey because these are the ones the customer will remember. Start ranking the pain points in your customer journey and then attack them one by one. Not all pain points can be completely removed: if so, focus on other elements that can make the experience less painful.

Reducing the pain points is the most obvious approach when looking at a customer journey map. There are some other things you can do, though, that are just as important: what follows are our favorite ones.

Raise the bar.

Congratulations! Now your customers are generally happy throughout their experience with your service or product. Don’t stop there: ask yourself what you can do to raise the bar and deliver an experience that exceeds the expectations, with the potential benefit to establish a closer relationship with your customers.

Example: Tomorrowland excels in creating a 360° experience, before, during and after the festival. For instance, the entry bracelet is sent via mail in a packaging that changes at each edition.

Start earlier, finish later.

Usually, the customer journey is mapped from start and end of the interaction with your service or product. But what if you could have an impact on what happens immediately before and after the experience the customer has with you? Design is much about an end to end solution, so extend your start and finish lines by 1-3 steps and look for opportunities in those areas.

Example: at their core, banks provide you with an account and means of payment. Today, many banks extend the journey of their service by offering, for example, statistics on your expenses, hints on how to save money, or expenditure ceilings on Friday nights to help you reduce your weekly alcohol intake.

Cut the crap.

Wherever you can, remove any unnecessary steps required to perform an action. Think about the difference between an apple and a banana: eating an apple requires you to go and grab a knife, and peel the apple – it will take you at least 30 seconds. With a banana, instead, you can skip the knife and reach the pulp more quickly – just 5 seconds. Try to design services and products that resemble more a banana rather than an apple. How can you minimize the effort (time, cost, number of steps, reasoning) that your customers need to take in order to enjoy the core of your service or product?

Example: creating digital accounts required you to fill in an email address and a password. Today, many services allow you to log in via Facebook, which turns the registration into a one-click (or one-tap) procedure.

End with a bang.

The final touchpoint in your customer journey is likely to be vividly remembered by your customers – make sure it’s memorable.

Example: ever been to IKEA? Ever considered the strategy behind showing a whale-sized sign of a 0,50€ hotdog? IKEA’s customer journey is a finely-designed shopping experience: while the journey through the store showcases the quality and aesthetics of the products, the huge hotdog at the exit makes sure you remember a feeling of extreme convenience and low prices.


I’m Simone Petersen, Service & User Experience Designer @ Clockwork Belgium. Spreading innovation culture is in Board of Innovation’s DNA – if you liked the read, contribute to their mission by sharing this article.

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