To improve customer satisfaction, you first need to understand the customer experience. What are you doing well, and where is there room for improvement? To do this properly, you need to look at the customer journey from start to finish, taking into account each interaction they have with your company. That’s where touchpoints come in.
A touchpoint is any time a potential or current customer comes in contact with your brand—before, during or after they purchase something from you.
It not only includes visits to your brick-and-mortar or online shop, or contacting your customer service team, but also things like reading reviews, looking at your social media posts and transactional emails they receive. Each of these touchpoints represents an opportunity to listen to your customers and make improvements to keep them happy. And the good news is, much of this is within your control.
Start by writing down each time a customer has contact with your brand. We’ve listed some common touchpoints below to get you thinking. But each business is different, so make sure you tailor it to suit how customers interact with you.
Bear in mind that some of the points below can be considered almost a category of touchpoints, which contain many smaller touchpoints. Let’s take a high street shoe shop as an example. Your shop is a touchpoint. But your sandwich board on the street, interior and exterior signage, and sales staff can also all be considered touchpoints. It’s up to you decide how granular you want to go.
Of course, not every customer uses each touchpoint, and they often don’t use them in a linear fashion. For instance, we might think of social media as a pre-purchase touchpoint, but many customers may also get in touch with your company on social media after purchase. Perhaps they tag you in a photo of the trainers they just bought. Or maybe they contact you via social media with a question about shoe care.
|Before purchase||During purchase||After purchase|
|Social media||Store or office||Billing|
|Ratings and reviews||Website||Transactional emails|
|Word of mouth||Promotions||Service and support teams|
|Community involvement/CSR||Staff or sales team||Online help centre|
|Advertising||Phone system||Follow ups|
|Marketing/PR||Point of sale||Thank you cards/emails|
Because there are so many ways for customers to experience your brand, it can be hard to think of all the different touchpoints. Especially if it’s the first time you’ve done this. The best thing to do is to put yourself in their shoes before you start mapping out the customer journey.
Think about where you—the customer—would go when you:
Note down each step. Consider different scenarios: for instance, is a happy customer likely to interact with your company via the same platforms as an unhappy customer?
If you’re really stumped, asking your customers directly can be a great idea. Have a few customers walk you through their interactions with your company. Or you could even put together a survey that covers the topics above.
Ultimately, you want each touchpoint to be a positive customer experience. So once you’ve plotted out your customer journey, including actions, motivations, questions and obstacles for each touchpoint, you need to identify what’s working well and what’s not. There are a few different ways to approach this. You could run customer feedback surveys at each major touchpoint or set up customer experience management software. But make sure not to lose sight of the big picture, and always consider the entire customer journey.