They include those aspects of the journey directly influenced by your organisation as well as those influenced or controlled by third parties. This is an important distinction as, while you may not be responsible for a particular part of the journey, it still affects the experience your customer has.
Why is understanding customer touchpoints important?
It’s impossible to improve the customer experience if you don’t know the moments that they go through to make that experience. These moments – the touchpoints in which the customer interacts with the brand – define the experience that customers have.
Multiple touchpoints create a journey. If brands are to successfully influence the customer – to buy, renew or recommend to a family, friend or coworker – then the experience in the moments that matter needs to meet their needs.
By knowing and understanding how customers feel during these touchpoints, brands can focus on improving certain, and often small, aspects to the experience, rather than having to rethink the journey as a whole.
This helps brands to create a tailored approach, instead of having to adopt a one-size-fits-all mindset.
Identifying your customer touchpoints
Before – how did they find out about you? Your customer may find out about you through adverts, billboards, social media, online reviews, or good old-fashioned word of mouth.i
During – which channels and what did they do? This is your point of sale (POS). It could be your website, email marketing, branch, store, or delivery. Customers may interact with sales assistants and call centres.
After – what happens after the sale? These include invoicing, queries, returns, product support, product or service lifetime, newsletters, and customer feedback surveys.
Once you understand and map every touchpoint in your customer journey and collect feedback from each, you will be able to spot ‘pain points’ along the way or areas that need improving.
Examples of customer touchpoints:
- Advertising (inc. digital, out of home, print)
- Social media
- Email Marketing, including order confirmations, newsletters, marketing and promotional emails and predictive personalisation emails.
- Physical stores
- Customer service (cashier, contact center, sales rep)
- Product reviews
- Subscription renewals
- Influencer recommendations
- Peer reviews
- Point of sale
- Customer onboarding
- Physical and digital events
How customer touchpoints work
Let’s take an example here – a customer looking to take out a mortgage. The customer touchpoints in our example below our customer has seen an advert for an attractive brands they love releasing a new item and their best friend recommended your website.
Your site navigation made it easy to find and potentially affordable – wjsy about in their comfort zone, so the customer decided to put it in their basket to come back to later, and goes off to sleep on it.
- Your site navigation made it easy to find and potentially affordable – just about in their comfort zone, so the customer decided to put it in their basket to come back to later, and goes off to sleep on it.
- They instantly receive an email, telling them it’s still in their basket, inviting them to complete their purchase.
- The customer forgets about it for a few days and receives a predictive personalisation email. That product is the lead item of an assortment of items you’ve recently introduced all on-point to them as an individual. their choices, their brands, colours, material, textures etc
- The customer decides to buy it, paying, agreeing your terms and conditions, and thereafter receives a confirmation of order email, and subsequent delivery notification emails, from you, and dependent who you use the delivery company too.
- The product turns up packaging, accoutrements and return opportunity included. The process is now complete.
So that’s a total of multiple touchpoints – and for many shoppers there will be much more back and forth too – up to the point of purchase.
Following completion, there may be more, like annual or monthly interactions with the customers and when they want to spend more each month.
Turning your touchpoints into a journey
Customer touchpoints, together, form a journey. This is the process, or order, in which a customer might directly or indirectly interact with your brand. Customers take multiple different journeys with a brand, influenced in different ways.
After all, this is why integrated marketing campaigns exist, to meet the needs of different target audiences. However, understanding these different journeys is important in order to be able to improve the experience of each journey, and of each target audience. It is essential you understand and appreciate ecommerce marketing.
This whole process is called customer journey mapping. It provides an overview of every way in which a customer might interact with your brand. It covers how they:
- Research the product/service/brand
- Use the product
- Seek customer service support
- Express their displeasure
- Recommend the product
- and more
Then, when something isn’t working or could be improved then it’s possible to look at the process visually and come up with solutions to make it better for customers.
An action-orientated approach to customer touchpoints
Understanding how your customers interact with your brand throughout the customer journey is vital, but it will only prove effective if you take action on the insights that you uncover. For example, if it becomes clear that the onboarding process is damaging the customer experience, then action needs to be taken to rectify that.
The better the experience in these moments, the more likely you’ll be able to influence the customer to complete your goal – whether that is to buy a product for the first time or recommend to a friend.