Customer touchpoints can be likened to a journey through a new city. You enter the city, visit different landmarks, seek assistance, experience different emotions, interact with the locals, try different offerings, buy a few souvenirs and so on.
If you enjoy the entire experience, you revisit or refer it to your friends and family. By imparting a memorable first experience, the city wins a lifelong fan and advocate. But if the experience is unpleasant or inconvenient, it loses the visitor and earns a bad reputation.
Likewise, customer touchpoints can make or break your brand’s customer experience and reputation. Every touchpoint presents an opportunity to deepen the relationship with a customer or prospect, ensuring they return to your brand over and over again. Let’s learn about it in detail.
What are customer touchpoints?
Customer touchpoints are the interactions between a customer and a brand from start to finish. They include entry points in different journey stages – from awareness to consideration, purchase and advocacy. Touchpoints are an integral component of the customer journey, influencing how a customer perceives a brand.
Consider this example.
A customer (say, George) stumbles upon your ad on social media (touchpoint 1).
He hits the contact sales button and reaches your sales rep (touchpoint 2).
The rep understands George’s requirements and schedules a personalized demo (touchpoint 3).
During the demo, George asks questions about trials, integrations and pricing and is directed to pre-sales (touchpoint 4).
Satisfied with the deal, George signs up for the trial, during which he interacts with the in-product chatbot (touchpoint 5) and explainer videos (touchpoint 6) to complete onboarding.
Post-trial, he shares the experience on social media (touchpoint 7) and review sites (touchpoint 8), and grievances are promptly acknowledged by your brand PR team (touchpoint 9).
He signs on the dotted line and becomes a paying customer.
Post-sale, George’s feedback is solicited via a timely customer survey (touchpoint 10) and recommendations are implemented with agility, which drives adoption, customer engagement and customer satisfaction (CSAT).
Evidently, the experience at each customer touchpoint is positive, harmonious and smooth. The sum of these individual experiences shapes the overall customer experience quality.
The concept of Dark Funnel
Not all customer touchpoints are traceable. There are hidden or unattributed sources of traffic and leads that constitute the “dark funnel.” Often, these touchpoints are not mapped on the customer journey since standard analytics tools are unable to identify them.
Direct traffic: Searchers may directly type a website URL or access it through obscure apps, making attribution a very big challenge.
Dark social: Users may share links through non-public means like direct messaging apps and email. Data privacy regulations prevent the tracing of private messages.
Private browsing: Traffic from incognito browsers or private browsers is also hard to trace and attribute to any touchpoint.
Private groups and communities on social: Facebook groups and pages also send traffic to brands, but it’s not easy to trace its roots.
Neglecting touchpoints in the dark funnel can lead to distorted journey maps and faulty decision-making. To address the challenge posed by the dark funnel, use alternative tracking methods like including short URLs for private sharing, advanced attribution models or referral tracking in analytics. This way, the picture is more accurate and real-time.
Why should businesses know about customer touchpoints?
Customer touchpoint mapping can optimize the customer journey, expediting customers toward conversion and brand advocacy. There are many other micro and macro benefits as well.
Enhanced customer experience
Mapping customer touchpoints enables brands to envisage each customer’s journey objectively. Thereafter, brands can identify friction points and areas of improvement at every turn in the journey. Process and product improvements can translate into a more satisfying and seamless experience for customers.
Editor’s Pick: A Detailed Guide to Customer Experience Management
73% of customers consider customer experience as a key buying factor.
Brands can orchestrate individualized marketing campaigns when they know the journey each customer takes with them. Messaging and timing can be tailored to meet and exceed customer expectations at every touchpoint. When the right message reaches the customer at the right time, engagement is guaranteed. With customer obsession at the heart of marketing, brands are sure to win customer retention and loyalty.
83% of businesses struggle with end-to-end journey mapping, reveals a Gartner survey of 382 CX professionals around CX priorities and challenges. Most respondents admit they tracked only the purchase funnel, neglecting the post-purchase journey altogether. In such a scenario, rigorous touchpoint and journey optimization can tip the scales in your favor.
Identifying your customer touchpoints
Typically, customer touchpoints are plotted on a customer journey map. They can fall into the three broad journey stages:
In the discovery stage, the common customer touchpoints are –
Social media: The modern customer is an avid social media user. A majority of customer journeys today start on social media. Customers come across a brand via newsfeeds or sponsored ads.
💡 Pro Tip: To capitalize on this customer touchpoint, you must cut through the noise with impressive creatives and targeted messaging. Piggybacking on relevant social media influencers can also put you on your audience’s radar and win their trust.
Learn more: The Definitive Guide to Social Media Marketing
Online advertisements: Display ads on Google and within websites to grab attention and lure customers to your brand. With catchy, bite-sized copy and alluring visuals, ads are a high-return customer touchpoint that can expedite conversions.
💡Pro Tip: Use consumer insights to get into the minds of your customers and serve them on-point ads. Retargeting ads to activate passive customers is another great way to extract mileage from this touchpoint.
Suggested Read: Social Media Advertising 101 [Detailed Guide]
Company events: Online and offline events are a great touchpoint to interface with customers and connect with them 1:1. Conferences and webinars can help you establish brand awareness in new markets and make inroads in the competition.
💡 Pro Tip: Event marketing is successful when it’s exclusive and well-planned. Choose your target audience carefully – middle-of-the-funnel leads who have shown an interest in your brand and products are likely to attend and deepen their association with you.
Interesting Read: Real-Time Marketing Examples at Events
Digital marketing content: Apart from digital ads, there are other kinds of content that can trigger engagement, such as blog posts, videos, emails, newsletters, infographics, organic social posts and so on. A customer might come across these, like, comment or reshare them – which might be the start of a productive journey for your brand.
💡 Pro Tip: To stand out on overcrowded digital platforms is no cakewalk. You will have to post quality content consistently and ensure it is relevant to your audience. Stick to your brand style guide to build brand recall over time.
Peer referral: It’s common knowledge that most people (83% to be precise) trust referrals from their friends and family. Peer referral is organic word-of-mouth marketing and one of the most bankable customer touchpoints for a brand.
💡 Pro Tip: To get into your customers’ circle of influence, you can institute a formal loyalty program where referrals are incentivized.
During purchase, a customer encounters these touchpoints –
Product reviews: Customers in the consideration stage tend to check out product reviews to narrow down their choices and shortlist brands. Product reviews by influencers, experts and peers give confidence to potential buyers and push them closer to conversion.
Conversations with company reps: Dialog with support and sales reps is another common customer touchpoint at this stage. Customers might want to enquire about product features, availability, demo/trial and other concerns. Train your agents in customer empathy, active listening and product knowledge to win hearts.
Dig deeper: Quick Tips to Inculcate Customer Empathy
Checkout flow in website/app: A critical touchpoint, checkout or point of sale (POS) should be smooth, distraction-free and uncomplicated. Offer multiple payment options and declutter your checkout page by removing distracting elements like product recommendations and surveys.
As stated, touchpoint mapping continues well beyond purchase and includes –
Feedback surveys: Post-purchase, customer surveys are shared for gauging a customer’s experience with your product/service. If sentiment analysis reveals negative sentiment, customer success teams can reach out to the customer and try to address their grievances.
Gratitude notes: Seemingly small gestures like thank-you notes go a long way in nurturing customer relationships. It’s wise to pour thought into this customer touchpoint and craft an endearing and personalized note for each customer, thanking them for their business.
Upselling/Cross-selling: Encourage repeat purchasing by pitching complementary products or upgrades on the sold product/service. It’s an opportunity to reengage the customer and extend the customer lifetime value (CLV).
💡 Pro Tip: Instead of hard selling, try an alternative approach. Ask the customer to participate in surveying another product or taking a free trial of it. There’s a good possibility of scoring a sale if the experience is positive.
Be omnipresent at all customer touchpoints with Sprinklr
Touchpoint mapping is challenging with siloed channels and systems. When marketing, sales and support work in isolation, the customer experience is broken, and touchpoints are not mappable. Consequently, there will be repeated and redundant touches that can irk customers and drive them away from your brand.
It brings together all customer-facing channels and teams on one centralized platform, giving a unified view of all customer journeys. From social media to website to messaging platforms, all channels are tracked to identify touchpoints that matter. Not only this, Sprinklr’s AI feeds insights from one touchpoint to the next, enabling strategic decision-making and quicker conversions.
Try Sprinklr for free and start up-leveling your CX now!
Frequently Asked Questions
Customer touchpoints are crucial because they represent moments of direct interaction between a customer and a brand. These interactions significantly impact customer perception, satisfaction, and loyalty, making them vital for shaping the overall customer experience.