Why do customer touch points matter?

Customer touch points can help identify where a competitive advantage may lie.  If you’re not sure what customer touch points are, they include all the ways a prospect or customer comes into contact with your company or product offering.  Customer touch points include your branding as seen in promotion campaigns – both online or offline –  plus the people, products, service and images your company conveys, which may influence how your customer or prospect perceives your business and its offerings.  Put simply, customer touch points includes anything that ‘touches’ your customer or prospect whether they are actively involved in the buying cycle or not.

Customer touch points are important to understand because if you discover touch points that your competitor does not have or ones that you can excel at in comparison, you can differentiate your offering, giving customers a reason to buy from you – not the competition.

Examples of customer touch points

  • Advertising and public relations
    • Online: search results, banners or site sponsored ads; email campaigns; newsletters; videos; company website; mobile ads; mobile applications; and comments or ads on social media and networking sites
    • Online devices provide different customer experiences whether tablet, smart phone, or desktop
    • Offline: magazines; direct mail; billboards; TV advertising; flyers; collateral; in store displays and promotions
  • Product packaging
  • Press relations
  • Community involvement – sponsorships, employee support or giving programs (both online and offline)
  • Service level received from sales people or customer service or technical support (both online and offline)
  • Service level received from partners, service providers, and subcontractors on your company’s behalf (both online and offline)
  • Company communications
    • Invoice
    • Purchase Requisition
    • 800# service
    • Collateral
    • Signage
    • Technical assistance
    • Product quality and performance
    • Customer satisfaction survey
    • Customer referrals or success stories
    • Loyalty program
  • Business location and office esthetics: reception area and conference rooms; retail space – layout and design; plus office equipment used

Keep in mind…

Some customer touch points can be controlled; others cannot. Customer touch points allow your customers to experience your company by giving insights into:

  • What your company provides
  • How your company provides its offerings
  • Your commitment, promise, and relationship your company fosters or enables

Goal:  a positive customer experience

Whenever possible, you will want your customer’s experience to be as positive as possible so that customers promote your offering and remain loyal to your brand.  To ensure a positive customer experience, try and control your image or message to the marketplace; this comes back to understanding all of your customer touch points and ensuring they convey the image or message you desire so that prospects and customers buy from you, not your competition. This 360 degree view of your customer – one where you know all of the customer’s interactions with your business’s touch points – will help you improve your ability to serve and anticipate their needs.  You’ll also want to consider your competitor’s customer’s touch points.

Which customer touch points should you be concerned with?

Customer touch points vary by product and industry.  To develop a list of ‘key’ touch points for your business:

Evaluate the marketing mix or the 4 marketing Ps – product, price, place, and promotion – of your product or service to determine where prospects actively and inadvertently ‘touch’ the competitor’s products.  In high level terms, the 4 marketing Ps describe the marketing mix that you’ll use to go-to-market.  For instance, product describes what you sell and to whom; place describes where you sell your product and how; price information details what and how you charge end customers and channel partners; and promotion tells how you plan to extend your reach.

How do external factors impact your customer’s willingness to purchase your good or service?  Consider:

  • The general economic outlook
  • Prevalent social values
  • The political environment
  • Religious beliefs
  • New technology advancements
  • Industry trends

What aspects drive your customer’s decision or behavior to purchase the product?   If you’re not sure, ask them.  Develop a customer survey or ask a limited number of prospects what their thoughts are to learn more about their purchasing habits or product preferences.

If your business is well established…

Try mapping the customer’s journey by showing their interaction with your business’s customer touch points. The visual understanding will help identify ways to improve your customer’s experience, which in turn creates loyalty and increases sales. You’ll discover new ways to reach them with promotional messages that resonate, plus your organization will be better positioned to adapt to changing customer product preferences and purchasing habits.

When you’re done, imagine what the competition’s customer journey is like.  If you’re not sure, ask customers and prospects about their impression of competing products and services by conducting a customer survey  and look at competitor reviews via secondary sources.

With customer touch points in hand…

The fun begins. Look for touch points that your competitor does not have or ones that you can excel at in comparison; these touch points may set you apart from the competition.  For instance, you may have product packaging that has multiple uses, a business decor that entices customers to visit more often due to esthetics, signage that appears in coveted locations due to relationships you have nurtured, dedicated customer support known to be best in the field, or some other way to reach customers in a manner that your competition cannot.

Soon you’ll be able to develop a go-to-market plan for extending your reach.  You’ll know when, where, and how to reach customers to let them know about new offerings. And if you create a positive and consistent impression across your customer touch points, you’ll gain trust and brand equity.

Discover More…

  1. Boag, Paul. “All You Need To Know About Customer Journey Mapping.” Smashing Media AG. Last modified January 15, 2015. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/01/all-about-customer-journey-mapping/.
  2. Carr, David F. “3 Ways to Differentiate Your Brand With Modern Customer Service.”  Forbes. Last modified October 28, 2014.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/oracle/2014/10/28/make-customer-success-part-of-your-dna/.
  3. De Clerck, J-P. “Four Multi-Channel and Touchpoint Marketing Models.” i-SCOOP. Accessed July 30, 2019. http://www.i-scoop.eu/four-multi-channel-touchpoint-marketing-models/.
  4. Galetto, Molly. “Top Customer Journey Mapping Tools:  50 Useful Software Tools to Map and Visualize Your Customer Journey and Improve the Customer Experience.” NG Data. Last modified July 3, 2018. https://www.ngdata.com/best-customer-journey-mapping-tools/.
  5. Hoski, Kathleen and Phil Goddard. “5 Essential Components of Effective Customer Journey Maps.” TandemSeven (blog). Accessed July 30, 2019. http://www.tandemseven.com/blog/5-essentials-for-customer-journey-maps/.
  6. Kurz, Allison. “Engage Customers Beyond the Purchase: Market Like Vitamix. PR 20/20 (blog). Last modified March 17, 2015. http://www.pr2020.com/blog/engage-customers-beyond-the-purchase-market-like-vitamix.
  7. Krell, Eric. “The 6 Most Overlooked Customer Touch Points.” CRM Media, a division of Information Today, Inc. Accessed July 30, 2019. http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/Editorial/Magazine-Features/The-6-Most-Overlooked-Customer-Touch-Points-43348.aspx.
  8. Maechler, Nicolas, Kevin Neher, and Robert Park. “From Touchpoints to Journeys: The Competitive Edge in Seeing the World Through the Customer’s Eyes.” McKinsey & Company. Last modified July 2016. http://www.mckinseyonmarketingandsales.com/from-touchpoints-to-journeys.
  9. Richardson, Adam. “Touchpoints Bring the Customer Experience to Life.” Harvard Business School Publishing (blog). Last modified December 2, 2010 (9:32 AM). http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/12/touchpoints_bring_the_customer.html.
  10. Toporek, Adam. “7 Tips to Get Started with Customer Journey Mapping.” Convince & Convert, LLC. Accessed July 30, 2019. http://www.convinceandconvert.com/community-management/customer-journey-mapping/.

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