Many in the CX space like to talk about touchpoints—a lot. Touchpoints are an important term, but like so many business words, they can easily flow from “word” to “buzzword” in a blink of an eye. Let’s break down the term and analyze its important place in the just-as-buzz-worthy context of the customer journey in 5 easy steps:
Touchpoint = Interaction – no matter the medium. Simply put, a touchpoint is any single interaction that a customer or (or prospective customer) has with your company and brand, across all channels and devices being used. It’s important to note that a touchpoint is a touchpoint, no matter the space in which it occurs: digital or physical.
Touchpoints help companies shift focus: Mapping touchpoints is a critical step to help companies move their default viewpoint from one of viewing customers (and prospects) through their own eyes to seeing how the product or service experience is considered through the eyes of its customers. This simple shift in perspective is critical to the bottom line, as the most successful companies in the world are customer-focused organizations.
Touchpoints are the building blocks of the customer journey: All of these discrete touchpoints (interactions) form a continuum that in its totality is referred to as the customer journey. When companies map that journey, they are creating a map that is comprised of touchpoint after touchpoint after touchpoint. This journey map constitutes a cradle-to-grave picture of what it’s like to experience your product or service in an omnichannel ecosystem.
Touchpoints are part of a continuum and are additive: Adopt a cumulative approach to optimizing the body of touchpoints that comprise your customer journey. High customer satisfaction ratings are one example of the kind of Red Herring that some companies mistakenly rely on to exclusively to gauge their overall customer experience. We have outlined why in this post about how NPS is not effective for B2B organizations. These organizations are often caught off guard when customers bounce for competitors and company leaders point to the glowing satisfaction scores as they shake their heads and wonder what happened. This misdirection is a result of treating touchpoints as standalone entities when they should be managed as part of a cumulative experience. You can win big at any single set of points along the customer journey continuum and fail miserably on the overall customer experience. It’s not just one interaction, or even the efficacy of an entire channel that constitutes an experience in the eyes of a customer, particularly in B2B environments.
Touchpoints are part of a CX long game: Effectively managing and optimizing the customer experience must be an ongoing, continuous, and proactive process whereby you collect feedback and user data from customers, then act on that knowledge to improve all aspects of a customer’s interaction with your company and its products and services. Read more about how thatapproach to CXM can benefit your organization in our white paper: “The Customer Experience Advantage” which outlines the key principles of CXM.
Now that you understand touchpoints, put those touchpoints into action:
When and How to Create Customer Journey Maps: