Customer Touchpoints: The Secret to Mastering the Customer Journey
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in — customer satisfaction is crucial. The challenge for many businesses today is that people engage with brands in a myriad of ways, across different channels and devices. Each of these customer touchpoints offer brands an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction, whether it’s an in-store visit, a live chat conversation, or a phone call.
If your support or service level is lacking at any customer touchpoints, the buyer’s experience may suffer. As a result, so too could your brand reputation and conversion rates.
In this article, we’ll explore customer touchpoints throughout different stages of the customer journey, giving you the knowledge you need to improve customer satisfaction, the buyer’s experience, and ultimately, your bottom line.
Customer touchpoints are the various interactions in which brands engage with customers, from the beginning of the customer journey until the end — which may go past the point of the initial purchase. Touchpoints can be any interaction that a customer has with your business, such as a survey, a consultation call, or an online purchase.
Every interaction between a prospect and a business is a test. At every touchpoint, brands can reinforce trust and move the prospect closer to conversion, or they could display some shortcomings that invariably erode the customer’s trust.
While most — if not all — brands want to deliver an incredible buying experience, you can only do that by taking the time to fully understand your customers’ journey. To do that, you must know the common customer touchpoints along the road to conversion and how they impact purchasing decisions.
In the following section, we have broken down touchpoints into three categories: pre-purchase, during the purchase, and post-purchase.
The touchpoints in this section occur before the prospect makes a purchase. So, these are "top of the funnel" (TOFU) touchpoints, which correlate with the awareness stage of the customer journey.
In many instances, online advertisements will be the first touchpoint a potential customer has with a brand. You've seen them before on the sidebar of a website, on your Facebook feed, and at the top of Google search results.
With some compelling copywriting and an enticing offer, paid ads offer your business an excellent opportunity to make a solid first impression and drive traffic to your site.
Your company may hold or attend various events in your industry, both online and offline. These events are a great way to spread brand awareness and introduce your company to new prospects. A good example is to hold an online webinar, which is a touchpoint that allows you to present your offer to prospects, and potentially generate leads or sales.
Not every touchpoint will be "direct" (where the customer interacts with a representative of your company, your website, or your advertising). Network referrals are an indirect touchpoint where a third party, like an existing customer or a business partner, will shape the new prospect’s first impression of your brand.
While you have little direct influence on this interaction, the good news is that 83% of customers claim to trust their family, friends, and peers for referrals.
When a prospect is preparing to make a purchase, they already understand that they have a problem and want to solve it. Now, they are hungry for information to compare vendors and pricing before making a purchase. Here are some touchpoints during the purchase phase of the buying journey:
Not every website has a live chat feature, but the trend is growing. It's easy to understand why live chat tools like JivoChat are so popular, as the consensus is that the more potential touchpoints you have, the more sales you can make. That's true — live chat increases the likelihood of a purchase by 280%.
Live chat tools allow for real-time interaction, so your agents can answer questions and deliver a personalized experience. In doing so, you can build trust with prospects and increase your sales.
Product reviews are a valuable customer touchpoint that adds to your company’s social proof. According to OptinMonster, 63% of customers are more likely to do business with a company that has reviews or testimonials.
Here’s an example of this tactic, as seen on Amazon:
The best-selling products tend to have the most reviews. Even if you sell SaaS, you can use software like G2 or Capterra to display user reviews and increase your social proof to make the most of this touchpoint.
The customer journey doesn’t end once a customer has purchased your product. After they buy, you need to follow up and maintain a good relationship in order to increase your chance for repeat purchases and referrals. Here are important post-purchase touchpoints to keep in mind:
Before someone finishes the checkout process, there are opportunities to upsell (by offering a higher-end version of the product) or cross-sell the customer (by offering a complementary product or service).
You can use this strategy in different ways, such as on your e-commerce store or through email marketing, which offers yet more touchpoints to connect with and influence prospects.
Sending out a survey to your customers allows you to understand their needs on a more personal level. You can also collect insights about the pros and cons of your product directly from your customers. This research can help you refine your product.
Great onboarding helps improve the customer experience. The better your onboarding, the more engaged your customers will be, and the less likely it is that they will churn. Make the most of this touchpoint by setting proper expectations and providing contact methods for customer service.
Loyalty programs include rewards, promotions, and other incentives for existing customers. These initiatives show your customers that you value their loyalty and increase the chance that they will continue doing business with your brand.
Now that you know many common customer touchpoints, it’s time to look at your own business. Here are six methods to help you identify touchpoints that enable people to engage with your brand:
You can use Google Analytics and similar tools to see how customers arrive on your website — whether it be via social media, search ads, referring URLs, or even direct URL searches. Make a note of these traffic sources to understand which touchpoints are most common, and therefore, deserve the most attention.
For instance, you may discover that a majority of your visitors come via social media ads. With this insight, you can look for ways to optimize your social media presence to attract more qualified leads to click through to your landing page.
A customer relationship management platform, or CRM, is a central repository that helps you track, manage, and analyze your customers’ interactions with your business.
This valuable resource optimizes your customer communications and support and easily integrates with other marketing software. From your CRM dashboard, you can view touchpoints like current email subscribers and how prospects entered your sales funnel (e.g., filling out a website form or responding to a phone call).
With customer surveys, you get direct feedback from your market, which can help you improve other touchpoints, and the customer journey as a whole. A critical aspect of this strategy is to ask key questions.
For instance, "How did you learn about us?" is a question that helps you understand the brand awareness of your company and what people’s first impressions are when they find out about you.
You can ask this type of question in a survey conducted in brick-and-mortar locations, via email, or even through a live chat service. With AI-driven chatbots, you might even know the answer in advance, thanks to analytics.
Every piece of content that your customers interact with is a touchpoint. Therefore, it’s important to take stock of your content. Your content inventory could include some of the following:
Documents (such as privacy policies and white papers)
Sales collateral (landing pages, advertisements)
View your content not just as promotional or sales material but as a customer service opportunity. Are you providing the most relevant information and seamless process? If not, your content needs to be optimized further.
When fulfilling or shipping a customer's order, there are many potential touchpoints along the way, including the checkout page, shipping confirmation, and even packaging.
Also, you can improve how you request reviews by doing it early and often. For example, you can prompt for a review on the first page after a customer checks out, in an email, or on a slip of paper included inside the package when it arrives. If you don't optimize the touchpoints of the order fulfillment process, you'll miss chances for engagement.
It’s helpful to review the process that your customers go through in your retail storefronts or showrooms. You should do a mock walkthrough from a customer’s point of view, taking critical touchpoints into account, such as:
What the customer first sees when walking through the door
Signage and helpful messaging
Salespeople and their manner in greeting the customer
The checkout/register process
When you and your team see your business from a customer’s perspective, your customers will be more likely to purchase sooner. Every part of the experience should be easy, informative, and enjoyable.
The average customer will interact with your brand multiple times before they make a purchase. They may click on an ad, visit your landing page, and chat with your sales rep or friendly chatbot on your live chat.
In the omnichannel era, striving for a positive experience across all touchpoints is vital to your success. It only takes one negative experience to derail the journey and send your prospect to a competitor. Recent research shows businesses that manage their touchpoints proactively improve their marketing ROI by 54%.
You can use touchpoints to better understand the customer journey and to see how people relate to your business at each step. Let's look at specific ways to use customer touchpoints:
If prospects don’t know you exist, it doesn’t matter if you have the best product in your market. Using customer touchpoints to raise awareness is incredibly important, and here are some ways you can accomplish that:
TV ads — Use everything from 15-second ads to long-form infomercials to introduce potential customers to your brand.
Search ads — Use paid ads on search engines to help get your brand in front of more people.
Cross-promotions — Partner with other brands to refer customers your way and grow your pipeline.
Radio ads — Create audio ads. Many people still listen to the radio daily, so don’t miss out on these potential customers.
SEO (search engine optimization) — Create compelling content with the right keywords to introduce your brand to searchers.
Social media — Increase your presence on leading channels. Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have over 6 billion monthly active users combined, which makes them excellent platforms for building brand awareness.
Someone who has already engaged with one or two of your brand’s touchpoints may now be aware that you have a potential solution. You can use the following touchpoints to increase your product’s value in their mind:
Email — Convey your product’s value through a series of product emails, gradually building trust with prospects.
Facebook ad — Make product videos that appear in potential customers’ Facebook feeds, attracting more views.
FAQ — Answer common concerns and dispel doubts or confusion that customers may have about your products.
Infographic — Use striking visuals to emphasize your product value and create a graphic that provides vital information and is easy to remember and share.
Video call — Offer a live demo to showcase your product features.
Retargeting — Don’t stop once someone has visited your webpage the first time. Follow up with tailored ads and personalized offers to increase the chances of conversion.
Once a consumer is aware of their problem and the potential solutions, they need help to determine which product is the best fit. Here are several touchpoints you can use to influence people’s buying decisions:
Live chat — Use live chat to answer queries, walk customers through how your product works, highlight key features, and provide supporting materials.
Phone call — Reach customers who are more comfortable talking about products on the phone and offer a more personal level of support.
Product comparisons — Compare your product against the competition with an in-depth blog post that offers more value and actionable information.
Awards — List industry awards or recognition to increase your brand’s authority in the minds of prospects.
Highlight innovations — Mention any groundbreaking technology or innovative methods that make your product unique or more appealing to customers.
Whitepapers — Educate customers on why your solution is the best — particularly if you sell a complex or expensive product.
At this stage, you need to eliminate hesitation or other barriers to purchase. Here are several touchpoints that allow you to do that:
Remarketing — Use remarketing to re-engage your previous site visitors or past customers with tailored ads or content.
Testimonials — Overcome last-minute fears by displaying customer testimonials that speak to the efficacy of your products and service.
Urgency — Create urgency with limited offers that encourage people to act before they miss out on the promotion.
Cart abandonment emails — Reach out to people who left items in their cart, and include a link to your checkout page, making it easy for them to complete the purchase.
Product walkthrough — Explain precisely how your product works, answering frequently asked questions, and maybe even add a demo video to your site that details different use cases.
Acquiring a new customer costs five times as much as retaining an existing one. Use these touchpoint opportunities to help you improve customer satisfaction, reduce refunds, and ultimately, increase customer retention rates:
Thank you messages — Send a quick and friendly email to thank every customer after joining your list or making a purchase.
Shipping updates — Provide current shipping times and processes clearly on your site and in emails. Doing this will set expectations and reduce the chance of customers getting impatient or frustrated with your delivery process.
Email newsletter — Keep your list engaged by sending regular emails that include helpful information and exclusive offers.
Responsive customer service — Maintain high standards for your customer response times across all channels.
Surveys — Reach out to your market to get feedback directly from the people you serve. Encourage them to tell you exactly how they feel so that you can improve your product and processes.
Quality assurance — Review products and services frequently to ensure consistently excellent results for customers.
Creating customer loyalty is essential, as just a 5% boost in retention can increase revenue by 95%. Here are some effective tactics to nurture brand loyalty:
Existing customer discounts — Reward existing customers with exclusive discounts on their next purchase.
Loyalty programs — Offer special service tiers or other benefits whenever a customer stays with you for a certain period or their total spend reaches a set milestone.
Referral discounts — Give discounts or promotional gifts to customers who refer others to your brand.
Build social proof — Partner with influencers to make more people want to be associated with your brand.
Graciously correct mistakes — Act fast to deal with complaints, fix issues, and offer refunds whenever needed. By demonstrating that you are genuinely sorry and willing to own your mistakes, you can turn a potential problem into good PR.
Customer touchpoint mapping is identifying each interaction a customer has with your brand from start to finish. By mapping customer touchpoints, you can more easily improve the experience they have with your company.
When mapping your touchpoints, it is helpful to use visualization tools. These can be physical (such as a whiteboard or pieces of paper) or a digital planning tool.
Once you have your customer touchpoints mapped out, you will know exactly when and how your customer interacts with your company. Then, you can begin to optimize each point in the customer journey to create happier customers and a more profitable business.
There are three primary ways to make the most of your touchpoint mapping: find underperforming content, identify gaps in your CRM, and evaluate your marketing tools. Let’s take a look at each one in greater detail:
Determine which content pieces are underperforming. You can track your content engagement metrics with web analytic tools. Look for common signs of underperforming content, such as:
High bounce rates — When someone hits your website only to leave within a few seconds, that’s a sign that you need to improve the visitor's first impression.
Email unsubscribe — If a customer opted into your emails and later unsubscribed, that could be because your content wasn’t useful for them.
Email open rates — Review your email headlines to identify patterns that lead to high open rates versus lower ones.
Page conversion rates — Many businesses have multiple pages that attempt to make the same conversion. You should review and optimize the low-performing pages.
Identifying your underperforming content is an ongoing process. But thanks to A/B testing, you can create new versions of your content to improve the customer experience without removing steps in your customer journey.
CRMs are excellent business resources — assuming you understand how to use the platform to evaluate each touchpoint along the customer journey. If there are gaps in your CRM, there could be a touchpoint that’s causing customers to disengage.
Assuming you are already tracking everything in your CRM, you now need to see which stages pose potential frustrations for customers. For instance, your agents may not be responding to calls quickly enough. In that case, live chat or chatbot software can offer a way to engage customers before they churn.
By performing touchpoint mapping, you can see where your team is spending too much time on manual interactions. For example, your email customer service team may be reinventing the wheel each time they respond to a customer inquiry.
Instead, you can use your marketing tools better or acquire new ones that automate common tasks. A third of companies have indicated that they already use marketing automation tools, meaning you could fall behind if you don’t.
The customer journey is not something companies can ignore. Here’s the truth:
Suppose you want to stand out from your competitors and create a profitable, scalable business with loyal customers and a strong reputation in your market. In that case, you must understand the customer journey at a granular level.
Customer touchpoints are the key to accomplishing this goal. By analyzing your current processes, channels, and interactions with prospects, you can identify your touchpoints. Better yet, you can map them and understand how they work together in an omnichannel strategy.
When you optimize your touchpoints and improve the buyer’s experience at every interaction, you create a seamless customer journey that makes it easy for people to buy from you, again and again.
Are you ready to map your customer touchpoints and improve your omnichannel strategy? Start a free trial to see how JivoChat can help your business provide more meaningful customer touchpoints.
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