Understanding the role and value of customer touchpoints

A customer touchpoint refers to any interaction between a business and its customers, stakeholders or prospects. This can be face-to-face, online or any form of communication.

While many businesses give due consideration to the main touchpoints, such as websites and printed material, few take the time to fully map out the interactions that occur daily.

Touchpoints play a key role in the success of every business, as each time a customer interacts with them, it gives them the opportunity to formalise their prior perceptions of the business and form an opinion.

In marketing terms, touchpoints are applicable to six of the ‘Seven Ps’, specifically, promotion, people, physical evidence, process, place, and product. Your aim as a business should be to make sure that the opinion formed by any interaction is a positive one.

Let’s take a look at this example…

A new customer contacts your sales department after seeing your advert on social media. Sales staff provide great customer service and the customer happily purchases your service. Your customer has experienced just a few of your customer touchpoints: the advert, your customer service and soon, your service information. They seem happy and so do you having gained a sale - but if only business was always this simple.

When the customer’s materials arrive with the customer, they are all in order, but there is one small amendment required. The customer struggles to find a customer service number as your information and website is hard to navigate and heavily geared towards sales. Finally, the customer rings the sales number again, only to be re-directed to customer service with an extensive delay. Mildly exasperated, the customer is then greeted by someone rude and incompetent.

The post-sales customer experience has swayed the customer’s opinion from glowing praise to anger and frustration. The customer is no longer happy and may go on to tell others of the bad experience they have had. This could affect future sales and the reputation of your business.

This is a basic example of how customer touchpoints affect your customers’ experience, in this instance, even after a sale has been made. Every customer touchpoint is valuable, from the initial acquisition, during and even after making a sale. You must continue to give your customers and potential customers the best experience possible.

Have you ever really thought about all the other ways in which your customer experiences your product/service?

Here are a few examples of customer touchpoints:

  • Answering the phone
  • Conducting a meeting
  • Staff attire and conduct
  • Web presence
  • Business cards
  • Email
  • Logo and branding
  • Product packaging
  • Adverts
  • Printed material
  • Vehicles
  • Premises
  • Customer service
  • Aftercare

A good practice exercise is to list all the customer touchpoints you can think of and ask yourself if the customer would have a positive or negative experience throughout their journey. Is your business represented in the way you want across all of these different points in the customers’ journey?

If not, then take the time to assess whether there are methods to improve key touchpoints.

 

About the author

Hazel leads our e-learning design team and ensures that all our online learning material is engaging and of high quality. Before RWA, she worked as a Learning Support Assistant for secondary education where she developed a variety of teaching methods and skills which she applies to her current role.

As a student, Hazel won D&AD Best New Blood in 2010 and won a commendation D&AD Student Award for a TV campaign for E4 that she made. Hazel has also worked with AMV BBDO and various other advertising agencies across the UK, providing creative concepts for advertising campaigns for clients such as English Heritage, Sports Council for Wales, Met Police and Macmillan Cancer Support.

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