A customer touch point is any online or offline interaction your business has with your clients, potential or existing.
In the good old days, there were one or two print shops in town who were able to make a comfortable living servicing the customers of that town. Then Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web and everything changed. We now have the world at our fingertips and the world wants us to buy from them.
So how do you compete in a world where a cheaper price is a click away?
Make your business become the obvious choice
Create an experience that builds rapport and trust, so people will want to use your services again. They’ll want to refer their friends to you. They’ll make that competition irrelevant to you.
Creating such an experience requires each and every customer touch point along the way to reinforce that rapport and trust, so that step by step, your business becomes the obvious choice.
What is a touch point anyway?
We’re all familiar with the sales call as a touch point. But touch points don’t need to be direct contact as these represent any interaction between your business and your current or potential clients. Think websites, proposal documents, packaging or even passing your branded car on the highway.
Why do touch points matter?
Touchpoints are all exposures to your business that can build an impression, positive or negative. They are what influence how a client feels about your business, how much they will buy from you and what they will tell others about your business.
The not so obvious customer service touch points you should focus on
You’re in luck. Many businesses focus on the obvious touch points, but forget about the less obvious ones. If your business can provide a seamless, professional experience at every touch point, you can differentiate yourself from the crowd.
1. It starts with a great culture at work
Great businesses start with a great culture, and great cultures start at the top. Employees take their cues from their leaders. It’s not enough to have a framed mission statement on the wall. The mission and vision must be walked and talked by your leaders every day.
Expecting employees to do their utmost to improve and provide exceptional touch points will fail unless there is a culture of support, trust and appreciation.
2. Your people are key
In his classic, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey told us to “always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”
Closely related to, and dependent on culture, your people are at the coal face and are often the direct touch points. Giving your team the authority to provide solutions and the security of flexible systems means they are able to truly assist customers and create stress-free customer purchase journeys.
Even better, ask your employees for ideas. They will feel valued and you might just find a brilliant solution.
3. Keep it professional
Looking, acting and sounding professional at every touch point is the key to convincing customers of your value and expertise. Now, professional isn’t necessarily serious or stuffy! A professional business is one that’s going to get the job done and done right. A professional business is one that can take care of issues when they happen (because they will), leaving a customer who is grateful and likely to tell others of their experience.
4. Create and follow systems for your company
Systems – documented policies, processes and procedures – will save your bacon.
While some might consider systems boring and restrictive, the right systems give your people the guidance and flexibility to confidently make decisions with your business goals front and centre.
What’s the process for handling enquiries? Check your systems. How do customers return goods? Check your systems. Can Rex in Accounts use the company Facebook page to advertise his 1986 Volvo for sale? Check your systems.
Once systems are in place, not only do they give businesses the platform to provide consistent, professional touch points, but also the freedom to delegate, replicate and grow in a coherent way.
5. CRM Touchpoints: take great care of your clients
A simple example of implementing great systems is updating your CRM. Without a system, there might be someone with a spreadsheet, someone else with some scribbled notes and someone else scratching their head wondering what on earth is going on. Entering each client contact into a dedicated CRM saves everyone time and prevents staff looking unprofessional in front of customers.
Each lead can then be nurtured with the right information at the right time. Win.
6. Brand Communication
Communication within your organisation, with your clients and with your market at large matters. Each and every touch point in your communication channels must be consistent in voice, branding and message. Your Accounts team needs to know what the Sales team are doing. Your clients need to know how their project is coming along. Communication touch points such as websites, social media, email, phone, CRM’s, intranets and good old face to face chatting keep people informed, prepared and comfortable that something is happening.
We are able to harness the power of the internet to communicate in more ways than ever before, and customers are less likely to accept lack of communication than ever before.
7. Build your brand presence: create a customer touch points strategy
Creating regular touch points during your customers’ purchase journey keeps you front of mind. Social media, newsletters or a card in the mail, even when they’re not involved directly in a purchase, help to build trust and rapport. Regular informative blog posts help to position your business as an authority in your niche. A birthday card in the mail might be just the touch needed to remind someone to book a maintenance appointment.
Put a touch points strategy in place and stay relevant in your client’s life.
8. Consistent communication across all channels and platforms
External communication, in particular, benefits enormously from consistent voice, branding and message. Customers will come to recognise you and know what to expect, which in turn creates a greater sense of connection. Systems can help implement consistency throughout your organisation, so for instance, sales proposals look the same no matter who prepares them, or your social media doesn’t jump from once a week posting to five times a day and back again. Keep the surprises for special occasions.
9. Analyse your results and get feedback
The professionalism, consistency and success of your touch points must be measured from your customers’ perspective. After all, they are the ones experiencing them. They are the ones who will form an impression of your business, an impression that will influence their future business with you.
Touch points are the building blocks of your business reputation. It pays to ensure they are taking you where you want to be.
Are you providing an experience they’ll remember and recommend?
What are your client’s saying about your products and services?
Have you followed up once the sales was done?
Analysing how your touch points strategies are doing is key to understand if your customer’s journey into and through your sales funnel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leanne Nelson is owner of Tacit Business Services, an administration consultancy specialising in helping small businesses look, sound and feel professional in front of their customers and in the office. Leanne has over 20 years experience in providing pragmatic solutions that create exceptional customer purchase journeys.