What are customer touchpoints?
A customer touchpoint is created every time your customer or audience interacts with your brand or service. For example when a new customer looks at an advert or downloads an app. Interactions with brands and services are how relationships are formed, managing the success of these interactions is vital to the success of your business.
In this article, I have outlined a number of themes you should be looking for when thinking about customer touchpoints. These build together to create an actionable map that you can use to prioritise activity.
What should I look for?
When mapping your customer touchpoints remember to map both areas that you have control of and those you don’t. For example, the areas you control you might cover:
> A sales email sent to prospective customers
> Advertising campaigns
> The experience of unboxing your product
> Interactions with call centres such as customer service
Those you don’t control may include:
> What your customer’s peers may have told them about your brand
> Reviews by other customers
Even though you don’t have control of the second list it’s important to take them into account.
How do I map these touchpoints?
Map the points above against the lifespan of your product or service from left to right, if possible segment these areas for example:
– ongoing use
At each step of the map contextualise the motivation and environment of your customer at the point of interaction. For example, they may be in a rush, or under stress. If you have customer segments it’s worth defining motivations for each of these as they can be very different. Think about how effective your interaction is at this point by putting yourself in the mindset of the user. Don’t assume the answers to these questions, ask your customers and if possible observe them as they interact.
Map the use of channels
Touchpoint interactions exist in a number of areas and via many mediums, we call these channels of communication. For each interaction document the channel used to provide the information, for example an advertising board or social media platform. A separate analysis can be performed of your effectiveness in each channel, do you have a good understanding of the relevant medium and are you making it work hard enough?
Map who has responsibility for each area. For smaller organisations this can be quite simple but larger organisations often suffer from a siloed structure, this can be incredibly detrimental to the customer’s overall experience. By mapping and agreeing responsibilities you can flag early on any political issues you may have.
Effectiveness score and weighting
Rate the current effectiveness of each touchpoint, give each one a score out of 10 taking into account the feedback you have received from actual customers.
Apply a weighting that identifies how important each touchpoint is for your users. For example if your service is delivered through an online platform a lot of weight should be placed on the digital user interface.
Based on these scores identify the areas that have the most weighting but the lowest current effectiveness score – these are the areas to focus your activity.
Combining a touchpoints timeline with information on channels and responsibility creates a customer journey map. Using that map to prioritise activity and track the impact provides confidence that each incremental improvement is working towards the overarching goals of your organisation. The customer journey map is the essential starting point and ongoing guide to your own journey of optimising customer experience.
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About Make it Clear
The key battleground for modern business is Customer Experience. It’s the essential factor in engagement, cost reduction, maximising lifetime value and growth. Experiences are created at every point of interaction between any organisation, its staff and its customers.
At Make it Clear we help organisations improve those interactions, designing the conditions for great experiences through the entire life of the customer relationship. From branding to product support and internal comms, we use an evidence and research based approach to design solutions that are specific to the needs of our clients and their audiences.
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Blaise Pascal (1657)