Providing a rich customer experience (CX) is every brand’s aspiration, and they take numerous efforts in that direction. This is possible only when you have the customers’ best interests in mind at each touchpoint. Building a great product or providing great service is not the only thing making or breaking your customer satisfaction or CX initiatives. It is a collective of aspects such as website, billing, delivery, support, etc.
What do customer touchpoints mean?
Customer touchpoints are the various stages or points where your brand interacts with customers from start to end. Let us consider this example. Somebody saw an ad for new sports shoes online, they visited the brand’s website for details, checked reviews on some customer reviews website, contacted your support or service rep for the address to a local store, and bought it. The purchase was made at your physical store, but the journey started online with an ad and went through various mediums. This is why all your customer touchpoints are important and designed to serve the customers right. Based on which phase of the customer journey your customers are in, customer touchpoints are divided into 3 buckets:
- Before purchase
- During purchase
- After purchase
Why are consumer touchpoints important?
We’ve already mentioned how they provide interactions and encounters between consumers and your brand. But what impact does that have on your company from a practical perspective?
Consider these three reasons:
- Customer touchpoints are the deciding factor for consumers along their journey from discovering your brand to becoming a loyal customer. There is no phase in your relationship with consumers that do not involve touchpoints, so how you plan and create these moments can make or break your customer acquisition and retention results.
- Customer touchpoints can be customized for your demographic and individual consumers. That’s helpful for marketers and product developers because you don’t have to create just one monolithic path and miss out on consumers who may not interact with every single touchpoint just like you expect them to do. There’s room to be agile, and that’s great news.
- Customer touchpoints can help you measure and track your progress. In the next section, we explain several assets that you can create to facilitate touchpoints for your brand. You’ll recognize quickly how you might measure engagement with each medium, whether that’s video views, search rankings, time spent on-page, or clicks. And when you measure data from consumer touchpoints, you can curate content and refine your strategy for greater success.
Customer touchpoint examples
Now that we know what touchpoints are let us look at some of the key ones based on the customer journey.
Also known as digital banner ads, these are the ads that you see on various websites either on the side, bottom or on the top. This is an effective touchpoint that helps drive traffic and leads to your website.
With social media channels such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc., you can reach thousands of people or potential customers. You can target these people via posts, hashtags, paid ads, etc., and comes in quite for handy customer acquisition. Not only this, but you can use it forge relationships, keep an eye out for customer reviews, boost brand reputation, etc.
Word of mouth marketing or referrals is more effective than any promotional or marketing campaign that you might run. A staggering 83% of customers said they trust their peers, family, and friends for referrals.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Almost every brand with an online presence relies on search engines to connect with consumers, and search engine optimization (SEO) helps you take control of those connections. By making your website and online assets easy to find for curious Google searchers, you open your brand up to more engagement and, ultimately, more conversions. SEO utilizes strategically selected keywords and queries with high search volumes and leverages several other technical strategies that allow search engines to “crawl” sites and serve them up as relevant search results.
Posting quality content on a blog on your website can grow your organic search traffic by over 400 percent. But solid SEO results isn’t the only reason blog content facilitates some powerful consumer touchpoints. When your blog posts are well written, visually appealing, and built on accurate information and data, prospective customers will see you as an authority in your industry. Consumers will find you because of a search-optimized blog, but they will seek out new touchpoints because you are helping them find what they’re looking for (your insights and your products or services!).
Your company website
At some point, consumers will come to your company website. To make this an enjoyable and useful consumer touchpoint, spend time developing the UX/UI and check all of your content to ensure that it is error-free, fully functional, and up to date. This may be a multi-faceted process if your site has many different kinds of pages, such as a blog, e-commerce, an interactive portal, and/or embedded media. A website is a representation of the company as a whole, and too many organizations overlook small errors that end up turning an otherwise compelling touchpoint into a distracting experience.
Boosted social media content
Boosted social media content has marketing dollars behind it. Using the tools provided by each platform, you can segment and target particular groups of people based on information shared on their public profiles, such as region, gender, age range, and even interests and activities. This allows you to put content in front of consumers who are most likely to find it relevant and compelling. It does require a portion of your marketing budget, but the spend can be worth it, thanks to the precision and results you can achieve when you turn boosted social engagement into a consumer touchpoint.
There’s a reason successful YouTube content creators have incomes with more than six figures. Video is the most frequently consumed content medium on the internet, and YouTube is the second most visited site after Google. If that’s not a big enough incentive to start producing branded videos, there’s more. In 2018, the two most shared pieces of content on social media were music videos. When you create video content, you’re telling a story that appeals to multiple senses. Plus, video helps you connect with consumers when they are looking for entertainment and self-improvement — the ideal position to offer solutions.
Not all consumer touchpoints take place on your website or with content you share yourself. Utilizing partnerships can help you extend your reach to more people in your target market by reaching consumers who trust and follow your partners. Partnered content can take many forms. It might be an asset or event that you create for a partner to share on their platforms, or an asset that you sponsor and your partners create themselves. These partners can be experts, authorities, or influencers in your industry, or other businesses you’ve agreed to promote in a mutually beneficial campaign.
Never underestimate the power of a well-crafted press release. When shared with trusted members of the news media, press releases provide consumers and experts in your industry and community with timely updates about your company and its offerings. If you’re launching a new product or developing a groundbreaking new feature or study, share this in a press release (and other platforms). You’ll draw a different crowd of curious consumers than you do on social media or via a blog — consumers who are specifically hoping to learn something new and relevant. This could be your opportunity to show them exactly what they’re looking for.
Print and out-of-home campaigns
Consumers sometimes set their devices down and explore the world; when they do that, you want to make a connection. Print and out-of-home campaigns, such as billboards and public transportation advertisements or paper flyers, might seem old fashioned, but they are still effective, and they can meet people at many different phases in their consumer journey. Don’t expect to duplicate the information they can access on a blog post. Each touchpoint serves a unique purpose, after all. Think of these conventional advertising consumer touchpoints as nudges or reminders that your brand exists, it’s relevant, and it can make their lives better.
We’ve reviewed just a handful of the ways you can facilitate connections with consumers. Admittedly, our customer touchpoint examples are mostly digital because the majority of today’s customer journeys take place online. Pay attention to the ways you encounter other companies and the assets that make these moments engaging to you. Ask yourself if they compel you to move forward with these brands in the consumer journey. When the answer is yes, you know you’ve just found a successful touchpoint.
Product catalogs or brochures are a great way to showcase your products or services, be it via online soft copies or hard copies. Images and descriptions of products help customers get all the information needed to make a purchase.
There are a ton of websites that lets customers post product reviews; they can rate the product and post specific information or comments about aspects. It’s important to remember your potential customers are referring to these reviews and evaluating their purchase decisions.
Point of sale
A final touchpoint before your customers will make a purchase, this is a crucial touchpoint in the ‘during purchase’ phase. The sales reps will provide information about the product and what concerns, needs, and requirements it will take care of.
Sent after product purchases, these customer feedback surveys help evaluate the customer experience. If the customer experience was amazing, what made it so? If not, what could be done better? These are just some points that you can get information on and improve your customer operations.
Many of your customers would want to receive your emails about new products, offers, etc., and they will sign up or those. This is an excellent opportunity to upsell or cross-sell your products. Also, your customers will always have additional needs, and if they are happy with your offerings, they will come back to you time and again.
This is probably the least important touchpoint for many brands, but we respectfully disagree. Just because they’ve purchased something does not mean your customers won’t have any negative experiences. Billing errors, delays in responses, etc. can be off-putting and may even cost you customers.
Community management is what turns a good social media post into a great one. When people comment and share your content, a community manager is there to respond and keep the conversation moving in a positive direction. Take these moments to infuse your company with a brand personality and solve problems for current customers. Dealing with complaints on social media isn’t ideal, but it’s very common, making social media one of the vital customer service touchpoints in your toolbox.
Using customer touchpoints to collect customer feedback
Knowing your touchpoints in the before, during, and after purchase stages is vital, and that’s not the end of it. To elevate customer satisfaction, you need to deliver a great customer experience across all the touchpoints and meet customer expectations throughout the customer journey. One way of knowing where you stand is by conducting customer feedback surveys at critical touchpoints. QuestionPro CX can help you these surveys and provide insights into delivering exceptional customer experiences. The CX management software will help transform customer experiences to increase customer lifetime value (CLV).
What does touchpoint mapping mean?
Touchpoint mapping refers to the summarizing of every interaction that your customers have with your organization or brand. It helps look closely at each phase of the buyer journey and the points where customers interacted with your brand. Touchpoint mapping is essential since it allows brands to understand customer experience at every step and how it can be improved. All customers and potential customers are unique, and so are their buyer journeys. The touchpoint maps hence differ from brand to brand. You can start creating maps by imagining all possible avenues your customers will use to interact with your brand.
How and where to begin touchpoint mapping?
To start touchpoint mapping, you need to be mindful of these 4 important aspects. Without these points, it may not work as an effective marketing method.
1. Identify each touchpoint
Your customers will interact with your brands at various stages. You need to recognize these and bucket them as:
- Word of mouth
- Product demos
- Point of sale
- Checkout lines
- Thank you messages
- Customer surveys
2. Map them
Once you know the stages at which your customers will engage with your brand, rate the experiences in chronological order. Classify them as awareness, consideration, sale, and purchase.
3. Improve touchpoints
Identifying touchpoints is only half the battle. What comes next is important, improving your touchpoints to improve customer interaction. If it’s customer service, then ensuring all queries are resolved in a timely fashion, if it’s billing then, making sure there are no discrepancies, etc.
4. Review regularly
With after purchase touchpoints, you will always interact with your customers through advertisements, marketing emails, and customer surveys. These need to continually visited and refined for improved customer interaction and experience.
Optimizing consumer touchpoints in the customer journey
We can’t have a complete conversation about consumer touchpoints without discussing how they all fit into the customer journey. As consumers move through the phases that lead them to choose your brand and become a loyal customer, they do so because each touchpoint along the way compels them to do so. This journey has five stages: awareness, consideration, decision, action, and loyalty (retention and advocacy). You can learn more about mapping the customer journey here.
To enhance your understanding of customer touchpoints, let’s consider where different opportunities fit best on the journey map. Keep in mind the customer journey is rarely linear, and many assets will connect with people at multiple points along their path.
- Awareness: SEO, paid social and paid ads, blog content, print, and out-of-home campaigns.
- Consideration: Organic social media and community management, press releases, partnerships.
- Decision: Videos (reviews, tutorials, branded content), surveys, blog content.
- Action: Website UX/UI and on-site content.
- Loyalty: Organic social media and community management, surveys, video, partnerships. You’ll notice that retaining customers involves just as much strategy and active engagement as acquiring them.
When you leverage consumer touchpoint opportunities at various stages in the customer journey, make sure you optimize them for that particular stage. For example, surveys about key factors in the decision-making experience will address different concerns than customer satisfaction surveys that measure your Net Promoter Score (NPS). Think about the questions and expectations consumers will have at each junction and optimize their experience accordingly.
The right resources make all the difference in mapping, implementing, and measuring the most successful customer touchpoints for your company. QuestionPro CX offers intuitive customer surveys and professional research services that will help you get the most out of connections you make with your consumers. Get started today!