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.
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:
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.
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