Picture: Picture: 123RF/John Williams
Picture: Picture: 123RF/John Williams

Customer touchpoints are the points of “interaction” and engagement with a brand, by its existing or potential customers. Brand interactions vary from physical engagement in branches or offices to indirect interaction through websites, online platforms or apps. Touchpoints include any interaction that might alter the way a customer feels about a product, brand, business or service.

Reg Bath, group CEO of InsideData, says a key starting point for crafting a great customer experience is to understand the typical interactions individuals might have with a brand and where, how and when they may take place. 

“A company’s success is not defined only by the products and services it offers, but more importantly by the customer journey – the entire brand experience from product exploration, discovery and purchase up to product use, bonding and after-sales service,” he says.

Optimising touchpoints can be a key competitive differentiator. It is an important part of a company’s brand positioning strategy that often leads to the development of loyal brand advocates for reasons beyond primary features and attributes that competitors may also offer.

According to a Gartner research study, top marketers need to understand key customer personas, map customer journeys and design and optimise interactions to implement effective customer experience management.

Customer experience should be a top marketing investment priority

Unless businesses build an exceptional experience around their brands, they risk losing the loyalty of their customers, which can be translated into measurable loss of commercial value. Various published statistics illustrate this link:

  • 50%-60% of customers have stopped buying from a company due to a competitor providing a better experience;
  • About 80% of customers say the experience of dealing with a company is as important as its products and services;
  • 60%-75% of customers are willing to pay more for a great experience; and
  • According to Gartner, 89% of companies compete on customer experience which can easily be improved by customer communication – it differentiates companies from the competition and is hard to copy.

Touchpoint optimisation

The customer journey for businesses consists of a broad array of touchpoints across product offerings, services and enabling technology. Digitalisation and channel integration are part of the pandemic-induced “new normal” way of doing business, and organisations need to adapt quickly, says Bath.

“The pandemic is the catalyst that expedites companies’ digital migration. The question to be asked is whether these organisations are rolling out digitalisation as an end-to-end solution, or implementing it in silos,” he says.

Staying relevant

The ever-changing business landscape demands that businesses embrace digital transformation to remain relevant to their customers. The transformation should focus on improved business results and continuous improvements, from innovation to automation.

Covid-19 is becoming the accelerator for one of the greatest workplace transformations of our lifetime. How we work, exercise, shop, learn, communicate, and of course, where we work, will be changed forever, according to Forbes.

Digitalisation on its own will not necessarily improve the customer journey and experience, says Bath – only true transformation will have significant outcomes.  “With the tools available to developers and the pace at which technology is evolving, the ability to make a digitised message ‘exciting’ is now effectively boundless. If executed properly, the end user – the customer – will want to engage with each message as the brand story unfolds from touchpoint to touchpoint. Digital transformation in the customer communication space is not just converting print to electronic, but is about using the customer journeys and experiences across touchpoints – including personalisation – as the basis for transformation,” he says.

  • Jonah Sachs, entrepreneur, designer and author

 

The big take-out:

“Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touchpoints.”

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