A guide to understanding the complex customer touchpoint landscape
My great-grandfather built houses for a living. When he needed supplies he visited the local hardware store or drove to a lumber yard. He hammered nails, hung siding, and covered roofs, and when something he purchased didn’t work well or broke he packed it up and brought it back to the store he bought it from.
His interactions with suppliers were straightforward. He might see an ad or two in the newspaper, but the vast majority of the time he only interacted with businesses face to face with employees inside the stores he visited.
Today’s online society has dramatically changed the old norms.
Consumers are constantly bombarded by media and frequently connect with enterprises through a plethora of touchpoints. Do you know all your customer touchpoints? They are critical moments in the life cycle of every customer and are the front lines of satisfaction and customer loyalty. NewVoiceMedia estimates businesses lose $75 Billion every year due to poor customer service. Creating consistently satisfying touchpoint interactions enhances customer experience and develops your brand. Businesses are no longer small, local shops where every customer walks in the front door. Many companies operate brick + mortar, as well as online stores, complicating customer service and exponentially increasing potential touchpoints. With the explosion of social networks and the onslaught of media customers consume in our digital world, turning every touchpoint into a positive experience has become even more critical for every enterprise. One disappointing touchpoint can have a cascading negative impact on every other customer interaction. Step one for avoiding your touchpoint downfall is to understand your entire customer interaction landscape. Step two is to help those touchpoints work towards the same goal: excellent customer care.
What Is A Touchpoint?
Put simply, a customer touchpoint is any interaction a potential or actual customer has with an enterprise’s product, service, brand, or corporation. This definition is purposefully broad. A critical thinker will realize it includes interactions outside of our control. We can’t go out and delete every negative review of our company circling the internet. That doesn’t mean we can’t influence these touchpoints. If we had paid attention to making every other touchpoint a positive experience, it’s likely those negative reviews wouldn’t have been written in the first place.
“A customer touchpoint is any interaction a potential or actual customer has with an enterprise’s product, service, brand, or corporation.”
Here is a simple method for understanding and paying attention to every customer touchpoint before it’s too late:
Types Of Touchpoints
The primary touchpoints customers have with your enterprise are straightforward: using your product/service, interacting with salespeople, or calling and talking with customer care professionals. These direct touchpoints are critical, making up many of the interactions between corporations and customers.
They aren’t the only ones that matter. Don’t forget secondary touchpoints. They include media like ads, blogs, online reviews, and user guides. These indirect touchpoints aren’t immediately related to what your enterprise does, but they still interact with customers often.
After that, ancillary elements support every interaction. The look and feel of your company website, events and partners that display your brand’s logo, even the design of the packaging of your product have an impact on the way customers perceive your brand.
Finally, some elements that customers never see still influence their experience. Does every employee at your company understand and exemplify your positioning statement? How are analysts treated when they interact with your enterprise? Is your office and employee experience enjoyable? Customer service and experience expert, Shep Hyken, emphasized the impact employee experience can have on customer experience in a recent blog post.
Every element should work together to build a wholistic CX vision. Supporting every element is difficult, but it’s impossible if you don’t first understand, identify, and map out your touchpoints.
Touchpoints Have An Immense Impact
Take time to seriously brainstorm the various touchpoints your customers experience. A perceptive touchpoint analyst will realize the customer interaction doesn’t end when they click the “Complete Purchase” button on your website. The interactions don’t even end when the product they ordered is delivered. The modern consumer experiences touchpoints and interacts with corporations throughout three phases: pre-purchase, during purchase, and post-purchase — the time between when a customer receives a purchase and they decide they are satisfied with that purchase. You can use the matrix below to help put into perspective what your customer interactions look like.
At Zappix, we focus on the often neglected post-purchase phases of customer touchpoints. According to the 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report, 56% of us have stopped doing business with a brand because of poor customer service. The leading cause of frustration driving customers away is poor IVR or automated telephone systems.
We want to change that. Zappix self-service platforms transform post-purchase touchpoints in many ways, but one that stands out to many users is the efficiency Zappix Visual IVR offers them. Instead of waiting through useless spoken menu trees, our platforms let customers quickly and easily navigate to whatever solution they need. On average, Zappix reduces the length of successful customer service calls from over 6 minutes to under 1 minute.
The number of customer touchpoints has exploded since the days of your local hardware store. Our non-stop modern media culture means customers are constantly interacting with your enterprise. By fully understanding your touchpoint landscape, you can begin to put into perspective the importance of customer service and take the right steps towards creating a satisfying customer experience.