Customer Touchpoints: What they are and why they matter!
Updated: Jun 2
Welcome back to the blog!
After our week-long hiatus, we bring you an essential blog post to cover a key element of the customer journey: customer touchpoints.
When it comes to branding and marketing you have one goal: convey your business in the most attractive light to appeal to your ideal customer. With this in mind, we believe it is vital to analyse the process your client undergoes before, during and after purchasing from you. If the customer journey isn't satisfactory, they may not follow through with the purchase, and they definitely won't become a loyal client!
What exactly are customer touchpoints?
Customer touchpoints are the interactive moments a prospect, buyer, or loyal client experience during their contact time with you and your brand.
Ensuring this system is seamless is one of the best things you can do for your business. Humans will always opt for convenience, it's just in our nature. If you can make your customer's experience as enjoyable and easy as possible, you will gain them as a client over the competition.
Let's first look at the pre-purchase situation, here are some common customer touchpoints:
Before the purchase
This can be a great tool to market your brand's message, but it is also extremely valuable because it is trackable. On Facebook & Instagram (...and the list goes on), you can constantly check what sort of engagement each different post type gets. This is recorded and your content can constantly be improved to increase the engagement across channels. Not only that, it is also the perfect place to share the personality behind your business. Whether you opt for a more serious or relaxed professional approach you can customise your content to suit you perfectly, attracting those aligned with your surface level values.
Once attracted, people will be able to communicate with you. What system do you have in place to respond to comments and private messages across social media platforms? This is essential. Social media is the most personal form of media platform, when someone messages you they need to get a response!
Extra tip: To maximise the statistics you can reap from your social media channels, you can also carry out surveys and polls. Ask about different content ideas or what people most enjoy from you, and get an idea of the knowledge your audience has on specific topics related to your business.
These are pieces of content and touchpoints that can make or break the topic discussed. You want to make sure your language is congruent with your other media avenues. You want to approach them with a plan of WHO you are speaking to and WHY you are speaking to them. Is this going to be a positive interactive touchpoint for the potential customer? Work and word it with them in mind. Think of the customer's perspective when this press release pops up on their phone.
An obvious touchpoint. Do yours encourage interaction? These are awesome tools to utilise in attracting more people to your website, a.k.a your 'home' online. Think about if someone sees your ad and clicks on to your site. What will they anticipate seeing on your site that your ad implies? What promise is expected? All these little components need to add up, congruently.
Yes, these are the future. Even if you don't have these in place yet, you still need to realise the potential they have to improve the customer experience, but also how they can diminish it. Be considerate of your potential client's time and get to the point. Be straightforward and offer questions that can be easily answered. These can be used at any time and offer direct, immediate contact with the prospect. Use them intelligently, you can offer extra ideas to the customer which adds lots of value without using up your time. For example, if you have a car company the chatbot could introduce the prospect to a couple of insurance options. It is all about facilitating purchasing from you!
Now, they have opted in. They want to purchase your product or service. They've added to cart or had the closing call with you.
What customer touchpoints are available during purchase?
Who is your customer's port-of-call? Do you have a Client Relations Manager? Is this something you place high importance on? It needs to be!
The brand voice, your voice, your company representative's voice... They all contribute to the customer experience. If someone buys via the online ad which led them to your site and then receive an email from a representative with a different tone of voice, message, and overall air to it, then they may not be happy. They could even feel robbed, depending on the scenario. Each step must match and come together without a hitch.
A great action you can take right now is to go over the brand mission, values, and characteristics with your team so that no matter who the prospect speaks with, they are comfortable and feel everyone in the business is on the same page.
When done wrong, this can be detrimental for a business. Don't overlook the importance of this customer touchpoint!
If you have an e-commerce site, the emails and messaging customers receive can make or break you. What atmosphere does the site give? Is the 'basket-to-checkout' process seamless? Do you send a reminder email when they leave something in their basket without purchasing? Have you got a customer service portal for them to ask questions and get a quick reply?
It all comes back to making things easy. Go onto your e-commerce site now and attempt to make a purchase, rate your experience honestly. Are they contact points you can add or omit?
We all love to hear from experience. Having former or current clients share their positive encounters with your business is the best advertisement you can have. Placing testimonials on your website is an excellent way to increase the efficiency of the customer journey.
90% of customers say that buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.
If you can slot them in along the customer journey, they'll definitely have a positive impact on the user experience and whether or not they choose you over your competitors.
Note: We are focusing online for this post due to the worldwide situation, however, if you have a physical store you can think about checkout lines, music played in store, etc.
The key to generating relationships and loyal, long-term clients lies in your post-purchase operations!
Thank you letters
An automatic email should be sent out upon purchase completion, as a simple thank-you for their business and engagement with the brand. Other actions can include offering help, and reaching out for a review which can be recycled in your marketing. There are so many opportunities to get the most out of each purchase!
This is also an opportunity to make the customer feel good about their purchase. What can you add to make your business different from the competition?
Bonus tip: Holidays are also the perfect time to send out physical cards to thank previous clients or current clients for choosing your company to work with. Whether it is a handwritten Christmas card or an Easter e-card, both are great ways to show your customers you care!
Customer / User Portals
Again, make life easy. Is the log in page for your portal clear cut or is it extremely complicated? You want them to want to use your service / product, so that they will realise it's value and return in the future. Make it as enjoyable as possible. Be aware of certain elements that you can optimise. You should also run through it as if you are a customer and rate your experience from their perspective.
Billing / Invoices
Another moment of opportunity! If you haven't realised by now, there are endless customer touchpoints. Every interaction counts. If you are billing for a one time purchase, subscription renewal or sending across an invoice you should have a clean, clear system in place. Are you set up for receiving payments from the countries necessary? Do you have the proper equipment? You don't want the actual transaction to be difficult. Facilitate every possible scenario and be ready for the unexpected.
Also, ask for feedback! Always strive to deliver at the highest level and ask clients what they loved and what they didn't love. It is free market research that can help a lot in the long run!
Finally, the overall key to a seamless and exceptional customer experience is the ultimate customer touchpoint: customer service.
This needs to be A1. Maintaining a personal & professional approach is what people want. Having strong support channels will be one of the best investments you can make. Whether that be with time or money. Be there for customers. You should of course set boundaries, but remind them that help is there. If you can solve any hiccup they have during your process, they will understand your company offers solutions and remember that when they come back to you later.
Becoming a brand that goes above and beyond, without actually necessarily investing too much time, is completely achievable. Look at the Virgin Group, for example. Their customers know what they can expect from them and they anticipate a pleasant customer journey, whether they realise it or not.
Think of your favourite companies to work with... What makes the experience that bit better than their competition?
There are so many customer touchpoints to think about. This is simply an overview and insight into how accessible they are to implement and perfect.
The main thing to realise is that customer touchpoints are there to be used efficiently. If you are going to use social media, maximise it! Hopefully from this post you can see how little things can be tweaked here and there in order to create not only a better customer experience but also give you an opportunity to discover more about your client's needs.
The most useful thing you can do with this post is use it to guide you through the entire customer journey your company currently offers. 'Walk a mile' in your customer's shoes through each stage of the buyer journey, from discovering your service / product to receiving the purchase confirmation.
Keep in mind that different things matter at different stages of the journey. Remember, if you offer a phone service that connects to different departments of your business, each department needs to be on the same page. Sometimes, customers get passed from person to person and have to explain their issue over and over again. Repeating themselves is not a positive customer journey experience, nor is being misunderstood. Keep the customer as happy as possible and avoid frustration by building your internal communication processes and strengthening your team!
Maintaining a seamless customer-centric approach is key. Let clients feel that, although each department is different, it is all one company with the same face and brand.
Another bonus tip: Check out your ads to see what you seem to be promising. Consider what the customer is expecting to get from you, versus what they actually get from you. Instead of over-promising and under-delivering, delight your customer! For example, what is the response timeframe you promise? Are you committed to delivering that 100% of the time? All these 'little' elements contribute to the end user experience, so focus on optimising them.
Finally, the make or break moment: Analytics!
From disengaged viewers to losing a prospect, do you have a system that tracks your analytics? For example on YouTube, you can check your insights to discover how many watch until the end or click out after 5 minutes (etc.). Check your insights regularly to see what enticed people to engage with you in the first place. What are your most popular posts? Are your ads on Facebook more attractive to customers than your ads on Instagram? It could be a different audience, or it could be that one ad is more appealing than another. You need to know what encourages them further along the customer journey and what makes them cut their journey short of a purchase. Always be checking and always be testing!
What you can do right now
Follow your customer journey. From the very, very start right up until the end. We recommend doing it a couple of times to test different paths a client may go down. Note the positives and the negatives, and how you feel about each stage as a non-biased customer.
Map out your unique customer journey in chronological order. Take that feedback from the first exercise into consideration and optimise from there! Analyse what you just experienced and alter it accordingly. Try to really think about the details. Maybe you can add in some extra touchpoints to stay at the forefront of their mind? Perhaps you just need to start improving your current ones? There are many variables to this and it can always be updated but let's try make the most of the customer journey you currently offer.
On that note, we have said enough about customer touchpoints for one day. We hope that you enjoyed this post and can't wait to see how you map out, develop and optimise your customer touchpoints moving forward! As always, for any guidance feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, head over to our Instagram and DM us! We love to chat with you.
Until next time,