Customer touchpoints play a critical role in shaping the customer experience and can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. By optimizing these touchpoints, businesses can create a seamless and positive customer journey that improves their overall experience with the brand and help influence the outcome of your marketing strategy.
Understanding customer touchpoints is essential for businesses that want to develop effective marketing strategies and improve customer service. A business needs to know its customers and how they interact with the brand in different situations. This understanding can help businesses identify the critical touchpoints where they need to focus their efforts to improve the customer experience.
What Are Customer Touch Points?
Customer touch points refer to every instance a customer may interact with your brand or business either online or offline. These interactions can occur at any stage of the customer journey and can be mapped out on a customer journey map.
These touch points are essential as they can impact a customer’s perception of your brand, influence their decisions, and determine their overall experience with the company. Identifying customer touch points and optimizing them can improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately drive business growth.
How to Determine Customer Touch Points
As mentioned, customer touch points are recorded on a customer journey map. These maps show, in a chronological order, what a customer’s interaction with a business was.
Journey mapping helps customer service and marketing teams to identify customer touch points that may cause upset to customers so that these touch points can be removed from the journey.
Brands can learn more about customer touch points by doing customer feedback surveys and asking questions regarding brand and customer interactions. The questions should result in feedback on experiences before purchasing a product, during purchase, as well as after purchase customer experience.
Test it Out
Brands can request employees to play the part of a customer to better understand customer touchpoints. For example an employee can make an online purchase or visit a brand’s store and report on the entire experience.
Examples of Before Purchase Touch Points
Social media is one of the easiest ways to acquire new customers. It allows brands to interact with potential customers or promote products and services. It also makes a brand seem more approachable and allows brands to build relationships with existing and new clients. A good social media presence can enhance the reputation of a brand which will draw new customers.
Online Advertisements (Banner Ads)
Banner ads are displayed at the top or on the side of a webpage and are a low-cost way to reach your target audience and drive traffic to your website. Attractive online advertisements may entice customers to click on the advert, which will redirect them to a brand’s site, which in turn may introduce more touch points and help them along their journey.
Internet Marketing Content
Internet marketing content (or digital marketing content) is any marketing material that a brand publishes online. This content can include blog posts, videos, GIFs, images, and infographics, all promoting the brand or specific products.
Company Organised Events
A sales team or marketing team may be all too familiar with attending expos where they had to stand behind a booth to promote their brand. These organised events are excellent ways to attract new customers and allow direct interaction with customers.
Friends and Family Referrals
Word of mouth marketing is a powerful tool, and people tend to trust their friends and family more than brand advertisements. Customer surveys have revealed that 83% of customers trust the opinions of their peers.
Before purchasing a product, many customers turn to online reviews to determine whether they trust a brand or product. Brands that consistently deliver good service are likely to have excellent online reviews, which is crucial to attracting new customers.
Examples of During Purchase Touch Points
Conversations with Sales or Support Teams
Customer journey mapping should show the importance of direct contact with customers when they visit the store. Interactions between customers and staff can have an instant impact on the perception the customer has of the brand and whether they will make the purchase or not.
Product catalogues that showcase your brand’s identity along with your products are excellent tools to aid customers wanting to make a purchase. Whether a hard copy is received in the post you have an online catalogue, customers are more likely to make a purchase if they can see an image of the product along with a description.
Re-targeting ads are used to get people to return to your website after leaving the site. 97% of people who visit a site leave without making a purchase, and re-targeting ads is a method used to bring these customers back to the website.
Ecommerce is an effective way to reach a wide customer base from across the globe. Through Ecommerce, a Server Message Block (SMB) makes it possible to provide products to customers on the other side of the world from where the brand is based.
Using email as a customer touch point allows brands to directly communicate with customers, promote their products, or share company news. The power of email can allow brands to drive traffic to their website or to get customer experience data through surveys.
Although customer reviews remain an important pre-purchase touch point, product reviews are also crucial to customers while shopping since smartphones allow them to access reviews while in the store.
Online stores also include positive product reviews on their product pages, which will allow customers to assess the product without having to navigate from the webpage.
Point of Sale
Point of sale is the final touch point on the entire customer journey before making the purchase. This is the final step, where the sales reps make their cases and pushes the customer to make the purchase.
Examples of After Purchase Touch Points
Thank You Letters
The best way to secure a repeat customer is to send them a personal thank you letter. Thank you letters show customers that the brand cares about them as an individual, and you are likely to get business from them again.
Loyal customers are likely to renew their subscription to your business if they are happy with the services they have received. It is therefore crucial that the subscription renewal process is as painless as possible for a customer.
Product Feedback Surveys
Product feedback surveys are important tools to analyse the experience of current customers. These surveys are sent after a purchase has been made and will ask about their customer experience throughout the journey, from the website accessibility and the purchasing process to satisfaction with the product.
The information gathered can then be provided to the marketing team, web developers and product design team.
Although billing happens after purchase, it remains an important customer touch point. A negative billing experience – or even if there are requests for refunds or returns that are denied – can taint a brand’s reputation.
Upsell or Cross-sell via Emails
Most of the time, a brand’s interaction with a customer does not stop once a purchase has been made. Often times customers require assistance from your business or additional communication once they are using the product.
This is the perfect time to upsell or cross-sell more products to a current customer, such as products that work well with the item they purchased.
If a product requires skills to use, then customer onboarding is a crucial touch point. Many customers may not have the right knowledge or know-how to use a purchased product, and the brand’s service team should step in and onboard their customers to ensure they benefit from the product and that no friction is caused.
Customer Service Channels
Customer service channels, or customer support channels, are platforms used by customer service agents to directly interact with customers who have made a purchase. This can be done through product review sites, social media, email, phone calls, chat applications, or a live chat option on the brand’s website.
Customer Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs award loyal customers and entice them to further interact with the brand. These programs offer discounts or awards to customers, strengthening the relationship with the brand and making the customer feel special. This can result in positive peer reviews from your customer, driving more customers to your business.
The Importance of Using Customer Touch Points in Your Business
Although customer touch points are about improving customer experiences with the brand, it is also crucial for a brand because it can bring in new customers or retain existing customers.
Not all touch points work for all businesses. For example, some businesses might not benefit from a product catalogue, or perhaps a customer loyalty programme is not suitable for your brand.
Is word of mouth a customer touch point?
Yes, word of mouth or peer referrals is an important touch point.
How do customer touch points create business opportunities?
Customer touch points, especially those prior to purchase, have the ability to attract new customers through marketing strategies or interaction with customers that would not ordinarily come across your brand.
What is the difference between customer touch points and customer journey?
The touch points are individual interactions with a brand or business that occur during a customer journey (from pre-purchase, to purchase, to after purchase). Client touch points can be used to improve the customer journey.
Having a proper understanding and analysis of your customer touch points before, during and after purchase is crucial to understanding customers’ experience better. A brand will benefit from mapping touch points to deliver a better service and to better support customers along their journey.