What are customer touchpoints?

Sarah Edwards

User Experience Consultant

13 January 2017

A customer touchpoint is created every time your customer or audience interacts with your brand or service. For example when a new customer looks at an advert or downloads an app. Interactions with brands and services are how relationships are formed, managing the success of these interactions is vital to the success of your business.

 

In this article, I have outlined a number of themes you should be looking for when thinking about customer touchpoints. These build together to create an actionable map that you can use to prioritise activity.

 

What should I look for?

When mapping your customer touchpoints remember to map both areas that you have control of and those you don’t. For example, the areas you control you might cover:

  • A sales email sent to prospective customers
  • Advertising campaigns
  • The experience of unboxing your product
  • Interactions with call centers such as customer service

Those you don’t control may include:

  • What your customer’s peers may have told them about your brand
  • Reviews by other customers
  • Even though you don’t have control of the second list it’s important to take them into account.

 

How do I map these touchpoints?

Map the points above against the lifespan of your product or service from left to right, if possible segment these areas for example:

  • Pre-purchase
  • Installation
  • Ongoing use

 

Customer motivation

At each step of the map contextualise the motivation and environment of your customer at the point of interaction. For example, they may be in a rush, or under stress. If you have customer segments it’s worth defining motivations for each of these as they can be very different. Think about how effective your interaction is at this point by putting yourself in the mindset of the user. Don’t assume the answers to these questions, ask your customers and if possible observe them as they interact.

 

Map the use of channels

Touchpoint interactions exist in a number of areas and via many mediums, we call these channels of communication. For each interaction document the channel used to provide the information, for example an advertising board or social media platform. A separate analysis can be performed of your effectiveness in each channel, do you have a good understanding of the relevant medium and are you making it work hard enough?

 

Responsibility

Map who has responsibility for each area. For smaller organisations this can be quite simple but larger organisations often suffer from a siloed structure, this can be incredibly detrimental to the customer’s overall experience. By mapping and agreeing responsibilities you can flag early on any political issues you may have.

 

Effectiveness score and weighting

Rate the current effectiveness of each touchpoint, give each one a score out of 10 taking into account the feedback you have received from actual customers.

Apply a weighting that identifies how important each touchpoint is for your users. For example if your service is delivered through an online platform a lot of weight should be placed on the digital user interface.

Based on these scores identify the areas that have the most weighting but the lowest current effectiveness score – these are the areas to focus your activity.

Combining a touchpoints timeline with information on channels and responsibility creates a customer journey map. Using that map to prioritise activity and track the impact provides confidence that each incremental improvement is working towards the overarching goals of your organisation. The customer journey map is the essential starting point and ongoing guide to your own journey of optimising customer experience.

 

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We’d love to talk to you about how Make it Clear can support your organisation. Book a call here.

 

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