What Are Customer Touchpoints?
By definition, customer touchpoints are the actual or potential contact opportunities that customers have with a business throughout a customer journey map. The initial touchpoint can include a social media advertisement, direct mail, online reviews, retail stores, word-of-mouth marketing, or search engine results.
In addition, touchpoints can span both digital and in-person communications, such as a customer seeing an advertisement for a product through an online marketing channel before researching the item to learn more, then visiting a storefront to make a purchase.
Brands can leverage touchpoints to guide the shopper through each stage of the customer experience and improve customer satisfaction with hands-on support. Touchpoints are typically divided into three categories based on where the user is in the customer journey:
- Pre-purchase touchpoints
- In-purchase touchpoints
- Post-purchase touchpoints
Identifying, developing, mapping, and improving touchpoints can significantly enhance the customer experience and enable companies to control variables, such as friction during the shopping process, that result in preventable churn. At the same time, touchpoints increase the amount of user data available in a company’s customer relationship management tool, allowing brands to have greater insight into the customer’s preferences, problem solving, priorities, and desires.
Why Are Customer Touchpoints Important for Customer Service?
Customer touchpoints impact more than marketing and sales teams. In fact, customer service departments have some of the earliest opportunities to make direct contact with shoppers through various communication channels.
Each interaction represents an opportunity to move the shopper through another phase of a customer journey map while ensuring a positive customer experience. With nearly 90% of customers expressing a willingness to pay for a great customer experience (CX), businesses across every industry can leverage touchpoints to improve the quality of their CX and obtain a crucial advantage other their competitors.
Customer touchpoints can offer several other benefits as well, including:
1. Improved Customer Engagement
Simply put, touchpoints are opportunities for companies and their audience to interact – or engage – with one another. Raising customer engagement metrics can substantially impact other key performance indicators (KPIs), including retention rates, revenue, sales, and brand loyalty. Further, businesses that invest in customer engagement and CX can expect to double their income in as few as three years.
2. Streamlined Customer Experience
Well-designed, convenient customer touchpoints result in a streamlined, cohesive customer experience. However, more isn’t always more when it comes to interaction opportunities. Instead, customers would prefer fewer, higher-quality touchpoints to access customer service teams, product information, or self-help resources.
With that in mind, companies can focus on developing touchpoints to deliver an exemplary experience rather than adding as many communication channels as possible.
3. Increased Customer Loyalty
Customer touchpoints are one of the most critical factors that customers consider throughout the customer journey. Touchpoints help transform new leads into loyal promoters, improve customer satisfaction, and keep previous purchasers coming back for more.
How to Identify Customer Touchpoints
To identify customer touchpoints, consider the three broad stages of the customer journey:
Before a customer makes a purchase, companies have the opportunity to communicate using marketing channels such as:
- Social media
- Online advertising
- Web content
- Search engine optimization
- Company websites
- Brand partnerships
Some businesses believe that the customer journey comes to an end following a purchase. As such, they may not prioritize touchpoints throughout the entire user journey. Nevertheless, communication while checking out can help satisfy shopper questions and ensure that they don’t regret purchasing decisions.
Consider incorporating touchpoints such as customer reviews, point-of-sale (POS) software, product brochures, and live chat assistance from call centre employees to help encourage consumers to click “Buy Now.”
Customer contact teams can transform the customer experience from “good” to “great” by following up through post-conversion touchpoints. These vary based on the brand and industry but may include emails, phone calls, invoices, surveys, or community engagement.
If you and your team are having trouble mapping customer touchpoints, put yourself in your audience’s shoes and consider the following factors:
- Where you go to solve a problem
- How you discover the product or service that solves the problem
- How you make your purchase decision
- How you interact with a company after conversion
- How factors like referral marketing, targeted advertising, and brand awareness impact the the purchase funnel
Leveraging Customer Touchpoints in Customer Service Departments
Developing and mapping deliberate customer touchpoints into a customer journey helps ensure a positive experience. Touchpoints enable a business to connect with users at all stages of the buyer’s journey. In addition, touchpoints guide users through the awareness stage and into the purchasing and promotion chapters, making them a critical addition to customer service, marketing, and sales efforts.