Touchpoints (© Kaarle / Fotolia.com)
Touchpoints (© Kaarle / Fotolia.com)

A touchpoint is a marketing term that many people are not familiar with. It is not use that often outside of marketing circles, and even within those circles, usage is rare. However, understanding what a touchpoint is and how you can effectively optimize your business to take advantage of them is an important part of marketing success. In this article, we will be exploring touchpoints thoroughly.

 

What Are Touchpoints?

What exactly are touchpoints? A customer touchpoint is the point of contact between a business and a customer. These may also go by the terms contact points or points of contact, both of which are more common than the term touchpoint. But customer touchpoints are often not understood for what they actually are. People tend to make generalizations about touchpoints, not understanding complexity behind them. We will get into the complexities of touchpoints shortly, but as a general definition, points of contact between businesses and customers where they may engage in commerce or simply meet each other in passing is a good place to start.

How to Identify Customer Touchpoints

The first thing that you have to understand is that customer touchpoints are unique to the business itself, and to their customers and potential customers. Touchpoints may vary from one business to another. One business may have certain touchpoints while another does not. In addition, in every business, some touchpoints are going to be much more important to creating a customer than others. The customer touchpoints is important only when the business understands them for what they are: opportunities to improve the customer experience.

This starts with understanding your customer. You need to understand the current situation of your customer and why they are willing to do business with you. Your goal is to deliver a first-rate customer experience. In order to do that, you have to understand what the customer is expecting and what will exceed those expectations. You have to know this before you even identify your customer touchpoints.

If you have identified your customers and you know them well, then you will be much more able to identify customer touchpoints. Think about your customer service stats? Where do your customers live? Where do they encounter your business? A touchpoint may be as simple as having a post from your Facebook page appears on their feed. A touchpoint does not have to result in transaction.

OpenPR tip: The touchpoint is not only company focused, it is also customer focused. There may be as few as a dozen customer touchpoints, or they may be hundreds. Let’s look at some examples.

Common Examples of Customer Touchpoints

Here are just a few examples of customer touchpoints. There are far too many out there to list, but these are the main ones that company companies think of when they try to identify their touchpoints and create customer journey maps. Let’s go over a few of them.

Website: the first one is going to be your website. Your website is where people come when they want to find out more information about your company. If you have an e-commerce website that sells your products or services online, then people are going to be coming quite often. Even if that is not the case, you still want all aspects of your website to give customers the experience that they deserve.

Social Media Profiles: social media profiles are going to be another touchpoint with most companies. The first thing that you should know is that you definitely should have social media profiles. In this day and age, it is almost unheard of for s professional company to not have at least the major social media profiles that are out there. This includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but there are several others that you can choose if you want. The second thing that you need to know is that you need to be interacting with customers on the social media profiles. If your conversation is one-sided, where you are just sending out tweets or making posts, and never interacting with the customers that receive them, then that touchpoint isn’t going to result in a positive customer experience. Hire someone to manage your social media profiles if necessary.

Advertising: advertising is another touchpoint that you need to be aware of. Customers are going to see your advertising and form an opinion about your company because it. The methods that you used to advertise, as well as the advertisements themselves are all going to factor in the customer experience into. Make sure that you’re not just advertising. Make sure that you are creating a positive customer experience with every ad that you create.

Community Involvement: another touchpoint may be community involvement. If you are attending events within your community, donating to charities or becoming involved in other ways, then you’re going to be making a positive impact on your customers. If you are not currently involved in your community, then you may want to consider setting up this touchpoint because it can really say a lot to your customers to know that you care about your local community.

PR/Media: your public relations are going to be another form of contact between you and your customer. Any media coverage about you should be positive, and you should take steps to resolve any coverage that is not. Obviously, that starts with your company itself, but the main way that this is managed is through a capable public relations department within your company.

Word-of-Mouth: word-of-mouth is an important customer touchpoint, although not one that is usually considered by companies when they start listing there’s. When someone tells someone else about your company, that person hearing about you has just encountered a customer touchpoint, even if you are not directly involved. All of the work prior to that should be geared towards making sure that the first customer has a positive impression.

Ratings: ratings are another customer touchpoint that you want to be concerned with. Did you know that if someone likes the company and they buy a product from you that they don’t particularly care for, they are more likely to reach you higher anyway on that particular product? Make sure that you are doing the groundwork to get positive customer reviews and ratings even if someone has a problem with a specific product or service.

Reviews: reviews or even more important. When someone posts a rating, it is usually a simple five-star type rating. But when someone posts a review, they are actually writing out what their thoughts and opinions are about your company. You need to be aware of this, and be working hard to make sure that customers have a good impression before they write the review. Responding to the review afterward is also a part of this touchpoint, but it is much easier to manage if you do the work beforehand.

Point-of-Sale: finally, there is the point-of-sale. This is the actual direct exchange of goods or services between you and the customer. This is probably your most vital touchpoint. You are dealing with customers face-to-face in many cases, and making a positive impression there will reverberate to all of the other areas that are out there.

Expert Tips: 6 Touchpoints you need to be using

Here are six touchpoints that you need to be using. These are pretty standard, but you still should be aware of them and trying to use them as much as possible.

The first touchpoint is one that we have already discussed previously. Online and television advertising are important touchpoints for modern companies because this generation lives online and watch is a great deal of television. Some of the latest data out there show that 35% of your generations Z audience discover the brands that they used now on television or from online advertising.

You also need to be using chat bots. Chat bots are basically many artificial intelligence programs that interact with customers, often providing information or services that you may not be able to provide twenty-four seven. Chat bots provide a way for companies to engage customers in any time and give them information that they seek. There is also the benefit of using targeting data to give them what they are looking for right when they are looking for it.

Obviously, you need to be using social media. Nearly 95% of adults have social media accounts these days. They use social media for everything. Almost half of those people with social media accounts follow the brands that they prefer on their own social media channels. A large percentage of those even follow brands that they are considering trying in order to feel them out and find out whether they are a good fit.

Snapchat is another touchpoint that is often underrated. Today’s generation uses Snapchat a lot. This generation is much more likely to have an account on Snapchat, and many brands have been able to influence customers by creating a Snapchat profile in a campaign. A recent study showed that Snapchat video advertising got twice as much attention as Facebook ads or Instagram ads.

If you have products that are sold in stores, then you definitely want to consider using interactive packaging. Interactive packaging allows customers to scan your packaging and find out more about the product on their phones or other mobile devices. Most customers use their phones to research products online anyway when they are considering buying them – particularly big-ticket items – so you may as well entice them to come to your website or read your own marketing material rather than to go to whatever review site pops up first in the search engines.

OpenPR-Tip: Finally, YouTube is a customer touchpoint that you absolutely need to be using. 95% of Generation Z use YouTube on a daily basis. They use YouTube to become informed, they is it to be entertained and they definitely become influenced by the advertising that is present there.

Summary

When it comes to customer touchpoints, there are a lot of things to consider. Customer touchpoints are going to be unique to each company that has them, but there are some standard ones that you should be aware of and the six that are listed above are definitely vital if you are targeting the current generation of buyers, which every company should be doing.



         



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