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How to identify your customer touchpoints

Understand the touchpoints where customers interact with your brand and use that to improve customer experience

Every business wants to improve customer satisfaction, but unless you have your customer in mind at every touchpoint, there’s a chance you’re dropping the ball.

You might always deliver a great product, on time, with a smile, but a wayward touchpoint like off-target advertising, billing mistakes, or an unwieldy website can scare customers off. Fortunately, most of these touchpoints are within your control. All you have to do is identify them–all of them!–and start getting feedback.

What are customer touchpoints?

Customer touchpoints are your brand’s points of customer contact, from start to finish. For example, customers may find your business online or in an ad, see ratings and reviews, visit your website, shop at your retail store, or contact your customer service. Seems like a long list, but these are just a few of your touchpoints!

So what are touchpoints and how can they help you make better business decisions?

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Touchpoint definition: A touchpoint is any time a potential customer or customer comes in contact with your brand–before, during, or after they purchase something from you.

Identifying your touchpoints is the first step toward creating a customer journey map, and making sure your customers are satisfied every step of the way.

Here’s how to take all of your touchpoints into account so you don’t miss an opportunity to listen to your customers and make improvements that will keep them happy.

Why are customer touchpoints important?

Once identified, your customer touchpoints will serve as a guide for improved customer satisfaction across the entire customer journey. 

The benefits of knowing your customers’ touchpoints include:

  • Less stress for customer service: improving customer satisfaction rates at each touchpoint will improve resolution rates on first contact. 
  • Better customer experience: ensure customers have a seamless, frictionless experience across all channels
  • Repeat business: a great customer experience will affect their decision to purchase from the same company again
  • Build loyalty: increased customer satisfaction allows you to build a loyal customer base

Customer touchpoint examples

Identify your customer touchpoints by making a list of all the places and times your customers might come into contact with your brand. We’ve put together a list of touchpoints here, but it can vary a lot depending on your business.

Before purchaseDuring purchaseAfter purchase
Social mediaStore or officeBilling
Ratings and reviewsWebsiteTransactional emails
TestimonialsCatalogMarketing emails
Word of mouthPromotionsService and support teams
Community involvementStaff or sales teamOnline help center
AdvertisingPhone systemFollow ups
Marketing/PRPoint of saleThank you cards

Before purchase 

How did your customer find you? These are the initial customer touchpoints—before they even visit your business in person or online.

Online ads

Start off strong by ensuring that online advertising links lead to content that is directly relevant to the ads. If your advertisement features a sale, ensure that the link leads customers to a page that describes or shows the sale items in detail. 

While you want customers to spend time exploring your website, this is not the time to lead them to a sign-up form or home page. Create a better customer experience (CX) with a landing page with relevant content.

Social media

You don’t need to be on every social media platform, but make sure you have a profile on channels your customers use. Keep your pages active with content that is interesting and useful. Always respond to customer comments—this engagement is why you are on socials in the first place—and start forming relationships with potential customers.

Referrals

Referral programs, made available to existing customers, offer incentives for both the referrer and the new customer. This makes both happy and increases the potential for future purchases and more referrals.

Website

When potential customers visit your website, they should be able to find the information they want quickly and easily. Navigation should be intuitive and simple. Product pages should have clear images and descriptions that accurately represent your offerings. Consider adding videos if your product or service is difficult to describe. Remember, if website visitors can’t find the information they’re looking for, they’ll look elsewhere. Find out how your customers feel about your website with a feedback survey.

During purchase

At the point of sale (POS), what did your customers do? Was the experience everything they needed?

Customer reviews

According to a Power Reviews study, 97% of consumers consult product reviews when making purchase decisions. It’s important to keep in mind that your customers are looking for these reviews, so use them in your social media posts, web pages, and marketing materials. 

Point of sale

At the point of sale (POS), a sales representative or web page will provide all of the necessary information—including what needs your product will fulfill. This is the final touchpoint before a purchase is completed.

After purchase

Touchpoints continue after a sale is complete. Don’t forget to pay attention to these important points in the customer journey.

Feedback surveys

This is your opportunity to learn details about the customer experience. What was difficult? What was easy? Use a customer service feedback survey to find out where you need to implement training or make improvements.

Email lists

If your customer has signed up to receive emails about new offers and products, use the opportunity to upsell or cross-sell your products. 

Community management

Keep watching your social media channels. When people comment and share your posts, ensure that your community manager is responding and keeping the conversation active and positive.

Remember: This list is a good place to start, but it’s not one-size-fits-all. And each of these touchpoints can have a lot of underlying pieces. For example, “advertising” could include touchpoints across many channels, and a physical store includes touchpoints like signage to help people find the store, the parking lot, and the many different interactions that go on inside the store.

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How to identify customer touchpoints

What are your customers' touchpoints? They are different for every business, so you’ll have to determine what they are by analyzing your customer interactions.

Think about your target customers and their needs

Use your market research to examine the types of consumers who are likely to purchase from you. Decide what initial touchpoints would be appropriate for your customers. For example, if your target market is expectant mothers, you might add promo codes and coupons to your social media marketing and discount emails for new customers.

Put yourself in the customer’s shoes

Because there are so many ways for customers to experience your brand, figuring out all of your touchpoints may seem daunting at first. But you can make this task more manageable by stepping out of your role–and into the customer’s shoes.

You’re the customer now. Make sure you have a pen and paper handy because you should take notes while you’re in the customer mindset.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Where do you go (and how do you get there) when you:

  • Have a problem that needs to be solved?
  • Discover the product or business that will solve that problem?
  • Make your purchase decision?
  • Encounter the business after the purchase?

When you walk yourself through the customer’s journey step-by-step, all the pieces should become pretty clear.

You could also accomplish this task by asking customers to walk you through their experience with your brand, or putting the questions above into a survey.

Review how consumers engage with your business

What touchpoints are currently in place? What ones do customers use regularly? If you have an online store and you use online advertising, social media, and email marketing, you may find that social media yields the most sales on your website. This may then guide you to enhancing your social media presence as a touchpoint. Find out where customers prefer to engage with your brand with a content strategy survey.

Create and use customer journey maps and customer experience maps

Customer journey maps help examine the buying process for a particular customer segment purchasing a specific product or service. You can map how a typical customer from the segment identifies a problem, researches an answer, learns about your business, engages with your business, makes a purchase, and finally interacts after the purchase. 

Customer experience maps are useful in discovering why customers aren’t having a great experience. Use them to visualize the customer journey and identify areas that need improvement.

Use both types of maps to determine touchpoints at each stage of the customer journey and what you can do to ensure a successful experience throughout.

Categorize your customer touchpoints

Take the touchpoints you’ve identified on your customer journey map and categorize them as before, during, and after purchase. This will help you identify what areas are working well and what needs improvement.

You could also categorize touchpoints as products, interactions, messages (manuals, advertising, etc.), and settings (where products are sold). 

Or you can determine your own categories. Use what makes sense to you for your specific brand and products to categorize touchpoints. 

Leverage customer feedback

You’ll find that a Net Promoter Score® (NPS) survey is invaluable in ensuring that your customers are satisfied at each touchpoint. Add surveys throughout your touchpoints and take action on the feedback.

Review frequently

Your customer touchpoint map is a living document and will need ongoing updates as you introduce new marketing initiatives and purchasing paths. Continue to refine your touchpoints for the best CX.

How to leverage customer touchpoints

Knowing your touchpoints is only half the battle. To improve customer satisfaction, you need to make sure each touchpoint leads to a good customer experience, and that the journey as a whole delivers on customers’ expectations.

To see what’s working, you can 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 look at your entire customer journey.

Identify missed opportunities

Use surveys to evaluate customer experiences at different touchpoints through their journey. The quantifiable data will provide you with areas you have not yet touched on in your marketing efforts. Some of the smaller touchpoints that you haven’t addressed could become integral in providing superior customer service.

Identify high-value touchpoints

Not every touchpoint you address in your marketing campaigns will have equal value. Analyze your data for each touchpoint to identify the best-performing areas for marketing.

Provide a better customer experience

Analyze the feedback from your customers’ experiences with your brand from beginning to end. Set priorities, address gaps in your customer journey, and fix problems at the root of issues you’ve discovered. This will serve to improve customer satisfaction, experience, and build your brand’s reputation as a customer-first company.

Gather feedback

The best way to find out how your customers are faring at each touchpoint is to ask them. Survey panels of customers from each touchpoint to find out where the customer experience is lacking and where you excel. Identify areas for improvement and take action on them. Ultimately, using customer feedback can be used to increase customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.

Build a loyal customer base

Improving the customer experience at each touchpoint will dramatically improve customer satisfaction. This, in turn, will increase customer loyalty. And your loyal customers will use word-of-mouth to advocate for your brand. 

Improve the customer experience with touchpoints

Your customers’ experience with your brand begins before their first interaction. Identify touchpoints before, during, and after each sale, and use these to create a customer touchpoint map. Get feedback from your customers at each touchpoint to improve customer satisfaction, experience, and retention. 

Start getting feedback from customer touchpoints today with SurveyMonkey. We look forward to helping you get started.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.

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