Retailers using touchpoints have developed a more complete picture of their customers’ journey. Each touchpoint is an interaction that customers have with the brand.
A touchpoint can influence a customer’s decision to purchase or cause them to turn away. So, the only way you can improve these interactions is to understand what they are and where they take place. Without this information, you won’t be able to measure the impact that your brand has on potential and repeat customers.
The easiest way to begin the identification process is to separate your touchpoints into three phases:
- Before Purchase
- During Purchase
- After Purchase
These will help you stay focused. Plus, they take you out of your role as retailer and put you in your customer’s shoes.
Get Every Department Involved
Your customers interact with every aspect of your business. And, depending upon their experiences, they may interact more than others, usually if they have a problem with products or services.
Each area of your business has a list of touchpoints. Let’s look at these in a little more detail.
Marketing touches each phase of the customer experience. Whether it’s social media or direct mailers, these customer touchpoints may be brief yet significant. Most of your brand’s first impressions come from your marketing efforts.
Make a list of all your marketing activities. Then, look at all of the other connections your brand may make that are outside of these efforts, such as online reviews and word of mouth. These are considered passive advertising but have a huge effect on your business. Packaging and delivery are also considered touchpoints, as well as emails, texts, and surveys for after the sale.
Great customer service depends upon operational excellence. During the customer’s purchase, this area of your business contributes to product availability, showroom atmosphere, and storefront visibility. Make a list of every aspect of your operations that touch upon the customer experience. Once you have your list, you’ll be able to understand how your warehouse and vendors affect your products and services.
Sales will provide some amazing insight into how you can improve upon what customers are really looking for. Employees are part of every phase of the customer experience. They have a direct impact upon the customer experience, so your list should be filled with every interaction they make. These can be in-person, over the phone or through virtual connections, such as email or social media. Improvements to these touchpoints may involve training or empowering them to make the sale.
Now that you have your list, it’s time make a touchpoint map. The map places touchpoints along each phase to build a timeline—called the customer journey. You should be able to differentiate touchpoints by order of importance, as well as place them within categories that describe which ones need the most improvements. Some touchpoints occur early in the decision-making process or have more influence on customers than others.
Customer touchpoint mapping is important because it outlines your customer journey. It also helps you visualize how to improve every possible experience they may have with your brand.