Most companies (of any size) are able to identify and map the path of a customer from need recognition to purchase of a product or service. Many can also identify what they do to keep customers returning to make repeat purchases – what makes them loyal customers. The most successful of these companies also know how to maximize every customer touch point in the journey.
A touch point is an interaction between a customer or prospect and your brand, your product/service or representatives of your company. Touch points are also called “contact points,” or “moments of truth.” Touch points are identifiable in both B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) transactions. Each touch point is an opportunity to inform your prospect or customer and create an emotional connection with your brand or product.
Customer touch points occur in person, online, in advertising, and indirectly (through contact with an employee or coworker, for example). Your business success depends on consistency in several key aspects of touch point interactions:
- The voice of the company
- The message of the company
- Providing the customer the appropriate value
- Creating a consistent emotional connection
- Building trust
- Meeting customer needs
Touch Point Analysis
Most businesses with more than two or three employees are wise to conduct a touch point analysis. You might document your analysis as a simple road map. Each intersection of the customer with your business in any way should be noted and indicated on the map. The map should include the interactions that move a prospect or lead to a purchase, the interactions during purchase and delivery, and ongoing interaction with the client after the sale to build loyalty and encourage future purchases.
Next, note specifically how the customer interacts with your company – what medium (face-to-face, print ad, website, blog, social media, etc.) and which individual. Be as specific as possible in order to understand as much as possible about how the interaction can be shaped to help the customer and to build trust. Continue this process with each interaction on the road map. It might be helpful to talk with others who interact with customers at some or all of these touch points.
For each touch point, you need to know
- How does the customer reach this touch point?
- What is the customer’s primary need?
- What other customer needs should the business understand and address?
- How can the company best meet the customer’s primary need? Secondary need?
- What information does the customer need to move closer to a purchase?
- Does the customer need a demonstration of how the product works?
- How will your team handle the customer if the product is defective?
- How will your team respond if the customer believes the product does not perform as promised?
- How will you inform your customer that the product can do things in addition to the reason for purchase?
- How will you maintain a strong, positive emotional bond with the customer after purchase?
- How will you notify the customer of the next product s/he is likely to need?
- How will you make a satisfied customer into a brand ambassador or influencer?
Maximize Every Touch Point
Touch point analysis should provide all the information you need to begin developing strategies, materials, content, and messaging to meet customer need at every interaction. In addition, you should have the information required to craft a powerful customer experience at each touch point that will reinforce a positive emotional connection with your company, meet the primary customer need, and provide the appropriate value to the customer. Finally, you will know precisely what type of content or information is appropriate to deepen the customer’s relationship with your business.
Understanding and analyzing customer touch points throughout the life of the relationship with your business enables you to plan for meaningful customer engagement that will strengthen his or her bond with your company, building loyalty and emotional commitment, and result in repeat sales and advocacy for your product and/or your company.
By Vickie Pittard, Partner,
Little Black Dog Social Media and More