Whether you run a small business or a mega enterprise, understanding the individual transactions through which customers as well as prospects interact with your brand is an essential part of your customer experience strategy. You want to ensure customers are happy with every interaction whenever they connect with your customer service, website, sales staff, or any kind of marketing content. Since a customer’s journey entails several things that happen before, during, and after their experience with your brand, connecting these dots along their journey will help you improve your performance.
That said, where do you start?
First and foremost, you need to understand what customer touch points really are before you delve deep into how they can impact your business. Let’s take a look.
What are customer touch points?
Customer touch points are simply defined as the points of interaction between a company and its customers across three main phases of a customer’s lifecycle – from initial awareness through post-purchase support. The touch points include the device being used, the channel where interactions occur (social media pages, live chat, email, phone, etc.), and the specific type of service requested and completed. These points of interaction have a great impact on how customers perceive your brand. Therefore, identifying your customer touchpoints is the very first step in creating a journey map that will help you manage their expectations effectively.
What are the key customer touch points for a business?
Customers interact with your brand at different points along their journey. However, key points of interaction along the customer journey map can be grouped into five phases, depending on when they get in touch with your brand:
- Pre-purchase bonding
- Post-purchase support
This is just a summary of what a typical customer journey might look like. The phases might be different for every business depending on the type of offering. For instance, if you’re in the hotel industry you might want to expand the list to factor in key elements such as check-in, use of facility, check-out, and departure.
It’s important to note that all these phases can either have a positive or negative impact on your interactions. For instance, if you fail to meet your customers’ expectations at any given point of their interaction with your brand, it turns out to be a negative experience that works against the success of your business. With that in mind, you’ll always endeavor to identify areas that need improvement and consequently improve your customers’ satisfaction.
Let’s review the different phases below:
Customers get to know you when they interact with you across different channels, for example your social media pages. With a well-structured brand awareness strategy you should be able to build meaningful relationships with your customers during this phase. They might get in touch with your brand through a social media post or an ad campaign that redirects them to your site where they’ll find the information they’re looking for.
At this point, customers are aware of your brand and are looking for information about your product or service. They might want to read customers reviews to find out what others are saying about your product or browse through your website to learn more about your brand. If they’re struggling to get the information because your website is slow to load, that would be a point of friction. If you don’t provide a method for easily finding or requesting information, that could be another point of friction.
- Pre-purchase bonding
During this phase a customer wants to communicate with your brand before making a purchase. They can either contact your support team for help or request a demo to understand how a product works before making a decision. Here, a negative experience would be failing to respond to a customer’s query on time or trying to push them to make a purchase without the information they need. Your agents should be on standby to help the customers promptly whether it’s through email support or live chat support.
What’s your check-out process like? Must customers sign in to check out, or is there an option to check out as a guest? At this point, a customer wants to complete their purchase promptly and you should make it possible for them. If they have to go through many steps like signing up to check out, they’re most likely going to give up on the way.
Do you required them to enter more details than you really need on your contact forms? Research has shown that as you add more fields required to submit a contact form, the level of conversion drops dramatically.
- Post-purchase support
Anytime someone buys your product, you want them to turn into repeat customer. That’s where post-purchase follow up and support comes into play. Did they find your product faulty? You should be there to answer their questions and offer assistance as fast as possible. You might also want to suggest other products they might be interested in based on their purchase history to encourage them to interact with your brand.
How can you improve your customer touch points?
As you keep track of your customer journey, it’s essential to analyze the performance of each touch point and identify areas for improvement. You can achieve this through the following ways:
- Identify the needs of your customers
Customers are unique in their own ways and would like an experience tailored to their various needs. It’s up to you to identify the different types of personas you’ll come across and the kind of help they might need. What products are they looking for? Do they want quick support through live chat? What questions do they have? As you develop a customer interaction strategy for your business, ensure you address these questions to make every point of the journey hassle-free. For some business models, live chat might be prohibitively expensive. If you are selling high dollar items on the other hand, you might be willing to invest in real-time support to help move them through the purchase process.
- Leverage self-help
Often, customers prefer finding solutions to their problems without necessarily interacting with your agents. Reading a knowledge base article that answers their questions can be more efficient than submitting a ticket and then waiting for a response. Therefore, it’s essential to enrich your support website with knowledge base content that’s useful to your customers.
- Ask for feedback
Don’t wait until a customer publishes a negative review about your product so that you reach out to them. Instead, let them tell you about their experience with your brand during the journey to address the issues early. You can embed a link to the feedback form in your response email to ask them about their experience with your support team and any suggestions they have to make the experience better.
How an omnichannel support platform like iService helps to improve customer touch points
More than 90% of your customers use multiple channels to interact with your business, even when it involves making a single purchase decision. They still expect consistent interaction across all these channels as they assume you already know what they need the moment they get in touch with you. By adopting an omnichannel support approach, your business can interact with customers through their preferred channel without interrupting the flow of communication. iService allows you to store your customer conversations in a single integrated history so that your support team always has context for the next interaction. Whether a customer engages with your business via email, live chat, or form submission, they’ll always get a uniform experience.
Every time a customer interacts with your brand along their journey determines how they perceive your brand. Therefore, knowing your customer touch points and taking the necessary steps to improve your customer satisfaction is key.