You may believe that your customers and prospects see your company in their mind’s eye as a lushly painted, very detailed portrait. After all, you’ve gone to great lengths to “see” them through market research, the creation of buyer personas, etc. However, they have not done the same. In fact, what they see is simply a set of dots. These dots are what we call customer “touchpoints,” and they are all your audience knows about you. That bears repeating: these touchpoints are ALL your audience knows about you.
Creating the Customer Experience
Your customers and prospects don’t sit in on your product development meetings. They don’t participate in your customer support team training. They don’t sample your homemade chili at the company potluck. They are effectively blind to who and what you are other than these small points of interaction. Consequently, these small points of interaction are critically important. They form what is known as the “customer experience.” And the customer experience is—as smart companies understand—what drives your company’s success or failure.
“Wait just a minute!” you object, “What drives our success is the value we provide with our products and services.” Yes, of course it’s important to have solid offerings. But have you ever run into a competitor that has a very average product but yet continues to rake in the sales year after year? In all likelihood, that’s the result of an excellent customer experience and the touchpoints it’s made up of. You see, it’s possible to create a customer experience that is so positive it outweighs some of the failings of a product or service. Please know that I’m not suggesting you neglect making improvements to your offerings if they aren’t top notch. I’m just saying that you want to do all you can to tip the scale in your favor!
A Fresh Perspective on Touchpoints
Here are some common customer touchpoint areas. A complete list of your touchpoints will often number in the dozens. They are all things you’re familiar with. But as you review the list, think of them as small spots of ink on a white page, that when viewed as a group, make up an image of your company’s product or service offerings.
- Online ads.
- Print ads.
- Printed materials. (e.g. Brochures, etc.)
- Social media posts.
- Invoices and other notices.
- Sales reps.
- Account managers.
- Customer support reps.
- Company executives.
- Store environment.
- Office environment.
When you see these touchpoints as the color that “paints a picture” of you for your audience, especially your prospects, you begin to understand how important it is to get each one just right. You can also grasp how viewing them in the context of your overall marketing strategy—rather than in isolation—is important. (We’ll touch on that in a future post.)
Example: A few years ago, upon examining our own touchpoints, we identified our inbound phone calls as a critical touchpoint—with both prospects and existing clients. Even though we initially justified this as a convenience (allowing clients to go directly to a staff member), upon closer examination, we began to understand that by forcing callers to navigate a phone-tree, we were frustrating the very people we wanted most to please, i.e. the picture we were unintentionally painting was one of indifference. So we eliminated the phone tree, and started trying to answer all calls within two rings. The result was immediate and profound, as evidenced by the shouts of joy from our existing customers.
We love helping our customers connect the dots. As a leading Colorado inbound marketing agency, we’ve been doing it for our clients here and around the country for more than 25 years. Let’s talk about how identifying and refining your critical touchpoints can help you achieve new levels of success.