Resources | 10 min read
What are Customer Touch Points?
Touchpoints are each interaction between your company and your customers. This interaction can be at any stage of the purchase from initial consideration to delivery of the product or service.
Touchpoints shape our customers’ perception of our company and greatly influence the final decision-making process and whether they chose to purchase from you again in the future.
Types of Touch Points
First and foremost, there are two broad categories of touch points: We have:
- Direct Touches: Such interactions are when a company plays a direct role in creating customer experiences. This could be your website interface, contact centre support etc.
- Indirect: Touches: These include interactions whereby a company does not play a direct role in creating user experiences. For example word-of-mouth marketing, customer reviews etc.
Mediums of Touch Points
One important thing to realise before moving on is to identify the mediums through which interactions between customers and your company take place.
There is no one-size-fits-all and it’s important that you make a full list for your company.
Common types of touch point mediums include:
- Live Chat
- Social Media
Significance of Identifying Customer Touch Points
That’s great. But why is it important to map our our touch points? Improving brand image by providing excellent Customer Experience (CX) is critical for all business to drive engagement and repeat business.
The identification of customer touch points is the first step in building out a rockstar CX program.
Customer experience is a proven method to gain a competitive edge over other similar companies.
It helps you turn a first-time buyer into a repeat customer. It also enables you to reduce churn rate and improve net promoter score (NPS).
All of these factors help drive your sales and increase market share.
“Always keep in mind the old retail adage: Customers remember the service a lot longer than they remember the price.” – Lauren Freedman
Identifying your customer touch points enables you to have a better understanding of what your customers are feeling at each stage of their buying process with your company and through different mediums and channels.
It tells you what each customer expects and how you can exceed those expectations in order to create “WOW Moments”.
Once you have identified key points where your customers connect with you, you will be better placed to create enhanced experiences for them and devise effective marketing strategies.
Identifying Your Customer Touch Points
So, we have established that through extraordinary customer experience, companies can get ahead of their competitors.
Well, you can only create such outstanding experiences once you identify the key customer touch points, and work to simplify them – reducing the friction as much as possible!
Identifying customer touch points is not that difficult.
We are going to talk about Customer Journey Maps and Categorising Touch Points in detail which will prove to be helpful in your quest of identifying customer touchpoints and enhancing them.
Customer Journey Maps
Customer journey covers the entire path a customer takes when interacting with your brand.
CJM is an excellent tool to identify your customers’ touchpoints. It provides a visual representation of what each interaction looks like from the consumer end.
“Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.” – Clare Muscutt
Understanding customer journey is like closing a loop and seeing improvement opportunities for yourself.
Here’s an example of IKEA’s Customer Journey Map that it uses to identify its touchpoints.
It is evident that visual representation helps identifying the touchpoints and the rating subsequently helps in making improvements.
Mapping helps to design a realistic customer journey and in identifying the touchpoints. Once you do that, your way to improving things become better and more transparent.
Your customer touchpoints can be divided into three categories. These are, before, during and after the purchase.
At all these times, a customer interacts with elements associated with your company and creates a perception of you that we call ‘brand image’ in marketing terms.
As mentioned earlier, all businesses can’t have similar customer touchpoints. Given here is just a general idea that you can take the help of to tailor your crucial customer touchpoints according to your business model.
There’s always a starting point when a person gets to know about your brand. Apart from impulsive buyers, most buyers will first identify their need for something.
Chances are they just look it up on the web and came across your website or hear about you from a friend/colleague who has had a previous shopping experience with you.
The next step would be to see your social media pages and check for other customers reviews and ratings.
Your website and social media have the potential to either win the customer or never have him coming to your store. Hence, it’s vital to create a strong and crisp social media presence.
In a nutshell:
Following are the possible customer touchpoints before purchase:-
Once a customer is satisfied with the reviews/demos you provided, they will come to visit your store. The in-store experience is clearly very important in making the final purchase decision.
They say, ‘the first impression is the last impression’. The way you present your store, environment, vibes, sales staff and even toilets have an impact on the impression your customers are going to take.
According to a study, 32% of consumers never returned to businesses that appeared dirty.
Web-stores are the modern storefronts. It is equally vital to keep your website interface clean, products well-organised and an overall classy look for the customers to have a convenient browsing experience.
The virtual live chat option here plays the role of a sales attendant, so make sure to add a bit of personalisation there!
The check-out experience is also very vital to take care of. Most online businesses struggle to know the reason behind customers abandoning their carts and not making the payments.
Make your check-out process seamless and fast, so you don’t have to worry about stranded carts.
In a nutshell:
During purchase, your customers will be considering you majorly through:
- Sales staff
The work is not done yet. Customers who have made a final purchase are yet to be entirely satisfied for them to return and recommend you in their circle.
Regular follow-ups, service provision, contact centre experience all play a role in building loyalty amongst your clientele.
Customers who have a fantastic approach to marketing customer touchpoints go the extra mile to satisfy their customers.
Seasonal greeting emails or texts, product recommendation based on previous experience, discount offer emails and referral coupons are just some other ways to win your clients over and grow your business altogether.
In a nutshell:
Few of the touchpoints that matter after making a purchase are:
- help/contact centre
- Follow-up service
- Recommendation emails
- Loyalty program
After identifying your customer touchpoints, come up with ideas to further enhance each touchpoint.
The goal should be to reduce customer effort and minimise the time it takes for your customer to reach from one point of the journey to another.
Innovation is the key to success and brainstorming ideas to improve customer service will take you to the path of guaranteed success. Here are some essential recommendations:
You must provide consistency as a whole. All customer touchpoints add up to the ultimate customer experience.
Companies should remain consistent in the service they provide at touchpoint because customers perceive their experience as a whole and not what it’s like in individual departments.
Take the path as a customer
To identify loopholes in your customer journey, you must walk the path yourself as a customer. It will you insights into what customers feel at each touchpoint and how you can make facilitate it for them.
Feedbacks validate your customer journey and touchpoints that you have established previously. The feedback from customers helps you make improvements and further enhance the customer experience.
Collecting feedback is one of the most effective methods companies use to fill the gap between what the company wants to ‘give’ and what the customer actually ‘gets’. After all, it’s the customers who live your brand and only they can tell you better, what’s working for them and what’s not. Feedbacks help to understand and alleviate customer pain points.
Identifying your customer touchpoints is vital for you to create excellent customer experience just from the start till the end. It helps you build loyalty among customers and compete with your opponents.
We talked about Customer Journey Mapping as a way to identify your customer touchpoints and then walking the path to look for any loopholes present.
Customer categorisation is also an effective way to categorise your customer interactions into three main groups, i.e. before purchase, during purchase and after purchase.
Consistency among different departments, walking the customer path yourself and collecting feedback were the steps recommended to take the best out of your touchpoints identification venture.
For further reading: Here’s an example of Apple’s Customer Touchpoints.
Why is it important to identify customer touchpoints?
It is important to identify touchpoints to deliver the best customer experience. Better customer experience than those of competitors enables you to have improved loyalty and advocacy of customers
What happens if we don’t identify the right touchpoints?
If you don’t identify the right touchpoints, you wouldn’t be able to deliver value to customers when and where they interact with your company. When you don’t deliver value, customers will not feel special and naturally go to your competitors.
Is there any automated system to identify customer touchpoints?
Feedbacks are a great way to know what the customer experience is like at each point. Feedbacks can be generated automatically, but they ought to be designed in a way to aid in identifying customer touchpoints.
Is a customer journey map and customer experience map the same thing?
Yes, Customer Journey and Experience maps are almost the same except that the journey map focuses on the touchpoints a customer has with your company. It encapsulates both the front-end and back-end dynamics. While the customer experience maps are focused on the customer’s side of the view and how they feel at every interaction.