Have you ever made a model car, boat, or airplane? Or, built DIY furniture from IKEA? Or, maybe just played with Legos as a kid -- or, like me, still do as an adult?
If you've tried any of these, you've encountered a set of instructions on how to build your product. Some are better than others, but all do the job of explaining the steps you need to take to achieve your goal.
Customer touch points work in a similar way. They represent important interactions that occur along the customer's journey. Grouping them chronologically paints a complete picture of an average customer experience with your business.
In this post, we'll explain more about what customer touch points are and the role they play on marketing and customer service teams. Then, we'll wrap up by listing a few touch points examples that your businesses should account for this year.
Customer Touch Points
Touch points are interactions between businesses and customers that occur during the customer's journey. These moments significantly influence customer experience as well as brand perception. By outlining key touch points on a map, businesses can capitalize on timely opportunities to optimize their customer journey.
Customer touch points are typically recorded on a customer journey map. They're put together in chronological order to demonstrate what a typical customer's experience is like with a business. This helps marketing and customer service teams identify touchpoints that cause friction so they can remove them and enhance the customer journey.
While this is only a small section of a much larger document, it gives us a good idea for how touchpoints are useful to marketing and customer service teams. The green dots represent interactions that are positive, and the red ones represent points of friction. Yellow dots are moments when customers have to make decisions, which leads to either a green or red dot.
With this layout, we can look at an overall view of different touchpoints occurring within various stages of the customer journey. This makes it a lot easier to spot areas of your business that can be improved to increase customer delight.
Let's take a look at some examples of customer touchpoints in the section below.
Customer Touch Points Examples
Digital Marketing Content
Conversations With Company Representatives
Point of Sale
Thank You Letters
Product Feedback Surveys
CUstomer Support Channels
Customer Success Programs
Customer Loyalty Programs
We've segmented this list to cover touch points that occur before, during, and after a purchase. Additionally, we've also added a section that's specific to customer service teams.
Touch Points Before a Purchase
1. Social Media
Social media could be included in every section of this list. However, where it's mostly used is in customer acquisition. That's because social media is a cost-effective way of reaching a large portion of your target audience. You can use it to promote products, build relationships with clients, and enhance the overall reputation of your brand.
2. Online Advertisement
Have you ever noticed banner ads displayed at the top or sidebar of a webpage? Those are touch points that link leads back to your website. For some brands, like the ones below, it's an effective way to draw traffic to their site.
Aside from ads, digital marketing content refers to any material that your company publishes online to promote its brand. This could be promotional videos, infographics, or an engaging blog post -- like the one you're reading right now.
4. Company Events
If you're on a marketing or sales team, then you may have attended a conference this year where you stood in a booth to promote your company. These events are an excellent way to introduce your brand to customers who may not be aware of it.
One example of an event like this is Inbound, where companies from around the world meet to discuss marketing, sales, customer service, and other business topics. It's a great chance for business leaders to connect with new partners and discover strategies that can help their organizations grow.
5. Peer Referral
It's no secret that customers trust their peers over your advertisements. But, it's not exactly a close race. 83% of customers say that their friends and family are their most trusted sources of referrals. This makes it imperative for businesses to focus on word-of-mouth marketing if they want to be seen as trustworthy.
Touch Points During a Purchase
6. Conversations With Company Representatives
The most direct point of contact you have with customers is your in-person interactions. These conversations that take place in your stores have an immediate impact on the customer's purchase decision.
7. Product Catalogs
Whether they're online or a hard copy, catalogs are an excellent medium for showcasing your product line. An image of the product, coupled with an enticing description, gives the customer everything they need to know before making a purchase. And, you can also remove friction by adding a CTA on the page that adds the product to a shopping cart, like in the example below.
For many businesses, ecommerce is the most effective way to acquire customers and close deals. That's because websites can be accessed globally, making it possible for an SMB in one location to provide products and services to a customer on the other side of the world. Understanding the various touch points within ecommerce can dramatically improve the customer experience for SaaS and other online companies.
9. Product Reviews
In today's digital age, product reviews are no longer a pre-purchase touch point. Now, customers have smart devices that can call up product reviews while they're shopping in your stores. Additionally, some online retailers include reviews on the listing page, so you can see what other customers think without having to navigate away from the page. You can see an example of this touch point in the image below.
This is the last touch point your customers will reach before making a purchase. That's because this is where your sales rep makes their case for why the customer needs your product. For many businesses, this is a momentous step in the customer journey.
Touch Points After a Purchase
11. Thank You Letters
One effective way to build customer rapport is by following up with a thank you letter. This can be an email, or, if possible, a hand-written note that thanks customers for their business. It's a great way to show customers you care and develop a long-term relationship with them.
If you're not sure where to get started on a customer thank you letters, check out our guide here.
12. Product Feedback Surveys
Product feedback surveys are sent after a purchase and they evaluate the customer's experience with your product or service. If the customer leaves a negative review, the company can reach out to learn more about the issue. They then relay this information to the product development team who makes enhancements on the next version of the product.
13. Upselling/Cross-selling Emails
Customer needs don't go away after a purchase is made. In fact, some customers have additional needs once they start to use your product. And, this presents an opportunity for you to upsell or cross-sell customers on additional or premium items in your store. We can see an example of this in the image below.
Billing is often an overlooked touch point on this list. That's because it happens after a purchase occurs and has no direct influence on the customer's decision to buy your product. However, it's still a vital step in the customer's journey because a negative experience can result in an immediate instance of churn, if not addressed properly.
15. Subscription Renewals
If you're a subscription-based business, renewals are crucial to your revenue model. You need customers to renew their subscriptions to maintain steady growth for your business. This makes it important that you remove as much friction as possible from your renewal process. After all, it should be effortless for an existing customer to stay a customer after their contract is up.
Touch Points in Customer Service
16. Customer Support Channels
Customer support channels are any platforms that service agents use to communicate with customers. This includes chat, email, phone, social media, peer review sites, and more. Businesses need to invest in omni-channel support if they want to create a delightful experience for their customers.
17. Customer Success Program
Customer success programs have a variety of touch points found within them. When customer success recognizes a potential problem, they reach out to customers to notify them of the issue or offer a solution. This demonstrates a commitment to the customer's goals which builds additional rapport over time.
18. Customer Onboarding
Customer onboarding is a popular touch point for service teams because many customers abandon products shortly after buying them. That's because they either don't know how to use it, or they don't have the time to learn how to use it. Both result in churn making it essential for companies to invest in effective onboarding programs.
19. Customer Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are another important touch point that service teams should be aware of. These programs strengthen your relationship with a customer and turn them into lifelong advocates. By incentivizing people with exclusive rewards and discounts, they'll be more likely to share positive reviews about your business, like in the example below.
When customers are in a hurry or only have a quick question for your support team, they don't want to spend 20 minutes waiting on hold for a rep. Instead, you can offer self-service resources that feature troubleshooting steps for customers can take on their own. That way, they're not dependent on your service team for answers and can find solutions on their own time, making your product seem more convenient and easier-to-use.