I’m not a great fan of too much business jargon, the term ‘customer touchpoint’ though I like. I’m often asked to help improve the ‘customer journey’ (sorry, jargon) and what better way to develop an effective action plan than to just sit down and think (hopefully in a fairly sequential fashion) of all the ways in which real customers experience first-hand your business, its product or service.
To keep things nice and orderly, I prefer to think of all of these customer touchpoints according to the major phases in a buying cycle:
During each phase there’s a whole load of different customer touchpoints. Indeed, branding experts will tell you that there need to be at least half a dozen to sufficiently impress a prospective customer.
These phases and their respective touch points simply won’t be the same for each business – they’ll depend on your own business sector and the type of product or service you sell.
Consider just the first phase for now, ‘awareness’, during which a potential customer first discovers you and starts to learn about you. Make a quick list of the touch points you offer the customer. You may have a lot more or a lot less than this:
- Business card
- Business directories
- Direct mail
- Exhibition stand
- Frontline staff
- Landing pages
- Mobile apps
- Pay-per-click adverts
- Press releases
- Retail outlet
- Text messages
- Verbal interaction
- Visitor book
- Word of mouth referrals
Whatever your own particular set of customer touchpoints, to make the best possible impression they each need to be in-keeping with your brand identity, and ‘on-message’ (sorry, again.) They all need to be joined-up.
And please do remember that a comfortable, trouble-free customer journey is as much to do with the words you use to communicate, and your tone of voice, as it is about graphic design and page layouts.
Consistency and attention-to-detail is critical in ensuring that touchpoints aren’t fractured and your customer journey not derailed along the way. A customer has a high expectation of you and what they experience, what they see, hear and touch, needs to be carefully managed at every junction.
So make a complete list of customer touch points for your own business, and for all the phases of your own buying cycle. Take a big step back and look at each of them from the customer’s perspective. Empathise with the customer. Do any of your touchpoints risk losing a future sale? If so, get them fixed.