The foundation of any fantastic customer experience is the ability to offer an interconnected digital experience that encompasses all channels. The modern customer expects nothing but a seamless and simplified experience that provides them with the information they need at a blazingly fast speed. It might seem like a high standard (and it is), but when businesses fight tooth and nail for moments of attention, every second counts.
Adoption of digital innovations and technologies can provide a helpful boon to any business, but it needs a complete approach from the entire company for the channel to work effectively. If a business can build marketing touchpoints that seamlessly connect and highlight the brands unique selling points, they can create a positive customer experience that can create lasting, long-term success and elevate customer lifetime value.
Want to identify and construct customer touchpoints that lead to business success? Read onward to find out!
What are customer touchpoints?
Simply put, customer touchpoints are moments in a customer journey where a person interacts in any form with your business before, during, or after they purchase something from you. From seeing a post on social media, reading an email, to searching your website to find a certain product, any time a potential customer encounters your brand is considered a touchpoint.
Nothing is worse than having a bad first impression, and that saying holds true for any business. Have a poor website experience? Now, they might show apprehension in clicking any email that happens to go into their inbox. Did a customer have a hard time requesting or receiving a refund? Now, they might not endorse your business to their friends.
As such, it is critical that your business takes the time to identify, review, and optimize each potential touchpoint, as they can have a direct impact on their overall customer experience. While you might not be able to completely control each customer touchpoint, as a business it’s essential that actions are in place to at least influence every potential interaction.
Want to know how to identify your customer touchpoints? Let’s dive in!
Finding your customer touchpoints
Before we start identifying each touchpoint, it’s important to note that there are three key stages in the purchasing journey: before, during, and after a purchase. That might seem a little self-explanatory, however, having three clear categories will help you understand the perspective of each customer during their journey.
Here’s a quick list of potential marketing touchpoints that may relate to your business.
- Ratings, Reviews, and Testimonials (Both from first and third-party websites)
- Word of Mouth
- Advertising (Both physical and digital)
- Content Marketing (Blog posts, product videos, instructional guides)
- Social Media
- Store or Office
- Website (e-commerce site)
- Store or Office
- Interactions with Staff / Sales Team
- Point of Sale System
- Phone System
- Product / Service Catalog
- Transactional Emails
- Billing / Invoices
- Follow-up Emails
- Online Support
- Phone Support
- Thank You Email / Card
As a note, this is not a definitive list by any means but simply a starting point for your organization. Touchpoints can change from business to business, so the time must be taken to complete a comprehensive audit of how customers interact with your company.
If you’re a little stuck finding touchpoints, consider putting yourself in the perspective of your customer instead. What would they do and where would they go to solve a problem that your business can solve? Be sure to think on a very granular level and look outside the box for methods one might use to find a solution. For example, a Google search might be the obvious answer, but a potential customer might look to Google Maps for businesses located near them instead!
Once you’ve completely exhausted your brain for marketing touchpoints, it’s also smart to consider getting ideas from the source itself: your customers. Consider putting out a survey to past and current customers to ask how they first found out about your brand.
With this, you should have an expansive list of touchpoints that your business can optimize to significantly improve the overall customer experience.
What do customers expect from touchpoints?
It’s easy to say that customers simply desire perfection, but it’s more than just ‘being the best’. At every touchpoint, customers expect an experience that is at least one or more of the following:
- Relevant: The touchpoint provides a solution that answers the problem they currently face. E.g. A Google search for the business’ opening hours appearing in the first result.
- Meaningful: The interaction to the customer was considered as important and had purpose. E.g. A successful call with the support team to repair a product.
- Appropriate: The context of the touchpoint was considered applicable to the customer. E.g. Receiving an Invoice email after purchasing a product.
- Endearing: The interaction formed a positive connection between the business and the customer. E.g. Reading an insightful guide from the business’ blog helps build trust between the customer and its products.
- Simple: The experience should provide the solution in a manner that is convenient and easy to understand. E.g. The product page on the website clearly outlines the items specifications, price, and if it’s available.
By incorporating most or all of these four values into every marketing touchpoint, your business can create a positive purchasing experience that adds value at every stage of the journey.
In turn, it’s vital that with the touchpoints previously identified above, you then take the time to dot these out on a sprawling touchpoints map.
How to use your touchpoints map to personalize the customer experience
With your touchpoint map completed, it’s finally time to identify ways you can improve each and every interaction during the journey.
One proven method to improve the customer experience is adding some form of personalization to your marketing touchpoints. With a study showing that 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand when it provides a personalized experience, adding those little touches could provide that boost in conversion your company needs. You can start by segmenting your audience.
There are obvious examples – like placing a customer’s first name in their emails – but anything more overt can seem a tad creepy to the average person.
Rather than showing off all the data you have on a customer, think about providing an experience that is relevant to them. For example:
- Has a customer purchased from you already? When they visit your website again, add a widget on your page guiding them to the support center.
- Are they interested in a couple of products in your shop? Show them an ad on social media with those exact products.
- Do they regularly read through your blog? As part of your content strategy, include new blog posts when you send them future emails.
These soft personalization ideas allow you to provide that intuitive, relevant, and meaningful experience that further encourages customers to come back over and over again.
But how do you exactly create this incredible personalization? The answer: data, and lots of it.
The little problem with personalization
Sadly, you can’t just ask a person to willingly send them all your information in one go. Customers generally care about their personal information (as I’m sure you do too!), and having a business upfront ask for everything can seem untrustworthy. Instead, you’ll need to play the long game, with actions and incentives that over time provide you the data needed to create the personalized experience.
Your customers want to feel like they are being looked after while they interact with your brand, but they also don’t want to feel like the brand knows everything about them. Brands who can carefully walk that tightrope successfully will reap the benefits, boasting a customer experience that people happily purchase from regularly.
What about other emerging technologies?
While we’ve talked endlessly about personalization, what about other emerging technologies?
Video marketing, chat bots, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, each of these innovations among many others deserve consideration as a potential new or enhanced touchpoint for your business. They can prove to be powerful boons to your brand, allowing you to connect to new customers you would never reach by other means.
However, it’s essential that any of these new technologies are to be introduced, it needs to be done with the full support of the entire organization. A half-backed approach will only lead you down a path of limited success, so be sure to use these potential technologies in a way that meaningfully connects to every other customer touchpoint.
Well, now that you’ve created a list of improvements, it’s time to make them a reality! While it might seem like these improvements can be done internally, certain areas – such as SEO – could potentially be done more efficiently by an external team of specialists. With almost half of all B2B content marketers outsourcing at least one form of content marketing activity, it might prove handy to take advantage of the fruitful opportunity for your business to further grow!
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