How To Understand Customer Touch Points And Their Impact
Jenny wakes up every morning at 8 am. While sipping her coffee, she opens up your company’s app to check the weather that day. Later, between work calls, Jenny checks your website on her laptop to see if it’s going to be windy in the afternoon – maybe it’s a good day for a bike ride? In the evening, while scrolling through Instagram, she sees your ad to subscribe to a new weather newsletter catered to cyclists. Jenny decides to sign up through the embedded form on your mobile site. Then, just before bed, she peeks quickly at your mobile site and ends up reading a blog post about snowstorms.
Each of those five moments of connection between Jenny and your company is a valuable customer touch point. Identifying every touch point along your customer journey, and their business impact is the first step toward creating a customer journey map and making sure your customers are satisfied every step of the way.
Before digging into how customer touch points can impact your business, let’s first understand what touch points are and how they impact your customer’s journey.
What is a customer touch point?
Customer touch points are interactions between a company and its customers that take place during the customer journey. It includes the device being used, the channel (where the interaction occurs, like email, phone, chat, social media) used for the exchange, and the specific task that is requested, or completed.
These moments all play a part in how customers feel about a brand. By studying and understanding all of those interactions occurring during the customer journey, brands can find opportunities to improve the customer experience and increase their business impact.
Customer touch points aren’t limited to the channels of engagement. Any digital interaction your customers have with your business is also a customer touch point.
What are the key customer touch points for a business?
Customer touch points are generally not isolated. They happen as part of a customer journey. To see how these touch points interact, we can use a customer journey map. When you study touch points with your brand, you combine them in chronological order to show what an average customer experience is like. By actually seeing this essential information in sequential order, it’s much easier for CX teams to identify touch points that relate to a poor experience, improve them, and provide a better customer journey.
Fundamental interactions for a business in a customer journey can be divided into four phases, according to when your customer interacts with your brand: awareness, research, pre-purchase nurture, and post-purchase support.
With the above layout, it’s easier to see the overall view of all the touch points during the different phases of the customer journey. All these phases can have positive, negative, or neutral interactions—the lower the touch point on the graph below, the more friction between your customer and that interaction. For example, if your customer doesn’t get the help they need from the support team, the experience will be negative. When you view customer interaction in this way, it’s easier for you to find the areas that need improvement to increase customer happiness.
During the awareness phase, customers interact with you as they get to know your brand. At this moment, you focus on building relationships with clients and strengthening your overall brand awareness and reputation. A typical customer touch point here would be a post on social media or an ad campaign. A point of friction would occur if the information on your website was unclear and your customer couldn’t find what they were looking for.
The research phase signals the moment when your customers interact with your brand when looking for information. For example, when they download an e-book or case study from your website or when they look up reviews of your product, curious to find out what others think. A poor experience example would be your website not loading correctly on mobile devices.
Pre-purchase nurture is the stage when your customer or potential customer communicates with your brand. Here, for example, they could be receiving a product demo or help from a support agent. It’s important to also note that too many touch points can result in a negative experience. An example of pre-purchase friction may be getting hassled by an over-eager salesperson.
Purchase and continued nurture relate to when your now customer interacts with your brand after they’ve made a purchase. For example, interacting with your customer through a series of post-purchase moments like offering personalized support (by checking their account info, behavior history, etc.). Here, friction could be something like a bug in your product, or being put on hold for too long to get support.
How can customer touch points be improved?
Keeping a close eye on the performance of touch points ensures that every step of the customer journey is a positive one. Here are a few areas you can focus on to improve customer touch points:
Build out customer personas
Building a customer persona will help you identify selling opportunities, product and service expectations, and iron out potential pain points. Determine who your customer is, what they are interested in, and how they spend their time. This demographic information helps you put yourself in your customers’ shoes to understand their preferences and align your customer experience, support, and products to their needs.
Find what your customers want to solve for
Once you’ve identified your ideal customer persona or ICP, draw out their ideal purchase decision experience. Every buyer has a goal that brings them to your business. For instance, if you’re a retail vendor, your customers’ main goal is to make a purchase in the right size for them. So, in this example, build out the scenario of your ICP landing on your website, looking for a product – what questions might they have? What is restraining them from making a purchase? where do they need more information, or a discount code, or a proactive message from the chat window?
Identify the ideal trip through your website, product pages, and pricing, building an engagement plan that will provide a hassle-free journey through every stage, from awareness to research to final purchase. Surveys can be a great way to get a gist of your customers’ aspirations.
Actively reach out for customer feedback
Don’t wait for your customers to find issues during the customer journey. Instead, anticipate and rectify a potentially poor experience by actively asking for customer feedback. The specific customer questions will depend on your goals and the area you’re trying to improve, but here are some examples:
- Where did you first hear about us?
- Have you used our product/service before?
- How would you rate your experience?
- How do you use our product/service?
- How has our product/service made an impact on you/your business/your lifestyle?
- What would you tell your friends or colleagues about us?
- Has any part of our business exceeded your expectations?
Regulate cross-team collaboration
It can be pretty tiring for customers to be transferred when they are on a call with customer support, especially when they have to explain the problem again to someone else. Often, you can avoid cold transfers between customer touch points by internally collaborating with other teams. For instance, if there’s a supply chain issue, your agent must have the functionality to cooperate with the partner on the ticket itself.
Leverage self-service as a prime support channel
Ensure optimal customer experience and also reduce touch point friction by giving your customers a self-service portal to help themselves. This win-win solution lets customers find instant answers to simple questions without having to wait for agents. Also, agents spend less time answering repetitive issues and can focus on more complex problems.
How to create seamless customer experiences across touch points
Offering support on multiple channels is only one piece of the puzzle. Customers still need to have a seamless experience across all the touch points, and that’s where the right omnichannel customer service software comes in.
Take a look at your omnichannel ecosystem. Identify your customer touch points by making a list of all the places and times your customers might interact with your brand. What channels do you support? Across which devices?
Study the touch points of everyday customer journeys to understand the context of each interaction and how customers are using your current solutions to complete tasks.
“Examining your omnichannel ecosystem in this way can propel you toward fully understanding your channels and how customers are using them to make strategic improvements to the customer experience,” according to the Nielsen Norman Group.
How an omnichannel helpdesk like Freshdesk helps improve customer touch points
Businesses need to invest in omnichannel support to create a seamless, and therefore delightful experience for their customers. Here are some examples of how you can improve customer touch points by investing in an omnichannel helpdesk:
- Consolidated view: Don’t miss any customer request regardless of the support channel. Unify communication and enhance support quality across chat, email, social, phone, messaging, and more channels by bringing these interactions into one page.
- Single source of truth: Access your customer information without any complications. By looking at your customer’s non-support information such as purchase history, demographics, and behavioral intent, you can personalize support regardless of the customer touch point.
- Fluid, hassle-free integrations: Bring your integrations under the 360-degree customer view instead of asking your support agents to switch between channels. CRM, payments gateway, APIs, marketing stacks, and other third-party data no longer have to be located outside of your helpdesk. Make informed decisions to enhance your customer touch points from within the helpdesk.
- Automations to streamline support: Streamlining your customer service processes helps in creating workflows that go around like clockwork. Build ticket routing workflows and automations that send customer requests to the right support team based on workload, touch point info, ticket type, channel, and more such personalized rules.
- Contextual, actionable reports: Use the reports and analytics generated by the helpdesk to identify pain points in the customer journey. Get tailored AI suggestions on the admin console to improve your support team’s performance across every customer touch point.
Optimize customer touch points to improve your business
Every moment a customer interacts with your brand, even the tiniest connection, contributes to how customers feel about a brand. Identifying those touch points is the first step toward creating a customer journey map and satisfying your customers every step of the journey.
By studying and understanding all of those touch points occurring during the customer journey, you can find opportunities to improve your entire customer experience.