Customers are the key to success, which is why understanding and nurturing them is so important. In this lesson we’ll look at the importance of customer touchpoints, how to use them to map the journey customers take online, as well as how improving the customer experience can help you achieve your goals.
So how can you make a customer’s experience better? Let’s start by explaining customer touchpoints and why they’re important. A touchpoint is any stage when a customer, or potential customer, comes into contact with a business.
Touchpoints are used a lot in offline business, particularly in retail. They can be receipts, bags, signage, customer service counters, and many other points along the way. Online, they can be a valuable way for businesses to build brand loyalty and trust. When a customer encounters a touchpoint multiple times, such as online ads, this provides consistent value and creates ongoing positive associations with a brand.
While people don’t all look and think the same, the way they buy things, and the touchpoints they interact with, have many similarities. To understand online user behaviour, you need to establish what those touchpoints are and where they take place.
To identify them, try mapping the journey a customer takes. Once you know the steps they take to get to you, you can plan how to impress them at every stage. Imagine a marathon - once you know the route, you can plan in strategic points to rest, drink, or top up your energy levels. The purchase journey is the same - knowing the route gives you an understanding of exactly how you need to strategise your online approach.
Because there are so many potential interaction points, figuring out the journey may seem overwhelming at first. To make it easier, try putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.
- where do I go when I need answers?
- where do I normally spot new brands or businesses?
- what helps me make a purchase decision? and
- do I see a brand again after I’ve made the purchase?
Another option is to ask customers directly about the route they took to find you. A simple face-to-face or online survey can break this journey down step-by-step, making it clearer and easier to visualise.
Once you understand the route a customer takes, it’s all about making sure the relevant touchpoints chosen are effective in drawing people in. If you have a website, does it tell a potential customer what they want to know whilst keeping existing customers interested? The more value a site has to someone, the more likely it is they will want to return to it.
Social media is another great tool to develop touchpoints and can help give a business character and a personal feel. Remember your customers are real people - so connect with them in a way that’s relatable and engaging.
Once your touchpoints are set up, remember to regularly review how they’re performing. For example, if your product or service is suddenly becoming popular with a new audience, like teens, you may need to make adjustments to your touchpoints, so that they resonate directly with that age-group.
To wrap up, here are some quick reminders to help you work on your own touchpoints:
- think about the journey you take as a customer when you buy something, and apply this information to your business scenario
- if you can, talk to customers to get real-world info on the touchpoints they encounter
- analyse touchpoint performance and optimise your message if required, so that the customer’s needs always come first.
- what customer touchpoints are
- how to map common online customer journeys
- how to identify customer touchpoints that generate business goals.