Understand the entire customer journey and touchpoints

A customer buying your product or service is actually only one step of a long journey, created by all the moments leading up to and following the purchase. Your efforts in making this journey as positive as possible are all dependent on the weakest moment. A negative experience at any stage could easily lead to a lost customer.

To improve the journey, you need to fully understand the entire experience of doing business with you. From how the customer initially notices your marketing, to how upselling and repeat business is perceived. If you can identify and learn from these customer touchpoints. You are on the right track to make the customer journey a much better experience. As well as, eventually bring your company growth and reduced churn.

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What does customer touchpoints mean?

A customer touchpoint is any moment when a customer is in touch with your brand: before, during and after the purchase. If you are serious about increasing your company’s customer satisfaction levels, you need to follow up and listen to your customers at every step of the way to be able to improve.

Identify your customer touchpoints

You find your customer touchpoints along the entire customer journey, which normally contains several stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Evaluation
  3. Purchase
  4. Usage
  5. Repurchase and advocacy

To simplify identification, you can start by dividing the touchpoints into three common stages

Before purchase

Common touchpoints in this stage are, for example, different marketing tactics such as; ads, direct mails, landing pages, testimonials, seminars, product reviews or social media activities. Remember to always keep your website up to date, as it is one of your most important windows to the world. Don’t forget to follow up on your lost deals – to find out why you did not win is probably the best way to improve for the next time.

During purchase

In this stage we have your actual point of sale, which could be your physical store, online shop, reseller, sales representative, catalogue etc. The customer is most likely in contact with someone in your sales team, frontline staff or call centre.

After purchase

This stage includes few or several touchpoints, depending on your type of business. Common touchpoints typically include onboarding processes, customer service, billing, returns, newsletters, post-purchase evaluations,etc.

If you are not sure where your customer touchpoints are, it might be a good idea to put yourself in the customer’s position and take a look at your purchase process from an outside perspective.

The touchpoints are your customers’ experience of your company

Identification of the customer touchpoints is crucial. Only then will you have the full picture and a map of the complete customer journey. Some touchpoints are more important than others, but the map will help you evaluate the customer experience and make improvements at every step of the way.

Use touchpoints to gather customer feedback and improve the customer journey

Once you have mapped out your customer touchpoints along the journey, it is time to start looking at every single step in order to identify the areas where the customer expectations are not fulfilled. Using customer feedback surveys at the most important touchpoints is a good way to find out what the customer really thinks about your efforts. Here are a few examples of customer satisfaction surveys that can be used in the different stages:

Before purchase: panel research for ad testing, website feedback, opinion polls, social media surveys, win/loss analysis, etc.

During purchase: in-store points of sale via tablets, post-purchase customer feedback forms, automated feedback surveys via SMS or e-mail, etc.

After purchase: Net Promoter Score surveys for increased customer loyalty and recommendations, customer service questionnaires, customer event evaluations, churn management surveys, etc

Close the feedback loop

Remember that successful businesses put their customers in the centre of their corporate culture. As well as, they always start with the customer’s best interest in mind when developing their processes, products or services.

A customer-centric company will therefore always look for solutions to close the feedback loop. It means that the customer feedback is distributed not only to all relevant staff, but also back to the customer using, for example, dashboards with real-time data. Failing to do so might lead to frustrated customers and a poor customer experience. Feedback managed in the right way will instead enhance the experience and increase customer satisfaction levels.