Touchpoints are where customers come into contact with your brand. And it’s vital for businesses to take note of such points and optimize them if they want to take advantage over competitors.
In the purchase process, there are different stages, starting from discovering customer needs, product purchase, and post sales to name a few. All these stages come together to form the customer journey. Few touchpoints include advertisements, e-mail, phone, website, social media and the traditional offline points.
So what is touchpoint marketing?
Touchpoints marketing can be defined as leveraging interactions with customers and prospects or optimizing similar touchpoints. Whether it’s a product or a service, the concept of touchpoints marketing holds true. Each touchpoint impacts the customer journey either as a catalyst to purchase or as a block that thwarts a continued journey.
Touchpoints define the customer experience
In this digital age, customers go through a multitude of channels to complete a purchase. As a business, we should strive to improve the customers’ multichannel or ‘omni-channel experience’. We can address this challenge by optimizing touchpoints wherever possible.
Like, a comprehensive understanding of customers’ profiles are important for creating a good customer experience.
The first step to improve customer experience is understanding customers by profiling them as personas. Personas are nothing but fictitious profiles that include demographic, psychographic and behavioral factors of customers.
Once personas are built, map the customer buying journey across the different stages.
The buying stage starts from the ‘need trigger’ phase to the actual purchase of the product and ends with the stage of post sales.
Once a customers’ buying journey is known it’s easy to figure the various touchpoints. Let us discuss this concept with an example of a B2C transaction involving a fictional character called Ben!
Meet our buddy Ben
Ben wants to buy a backpack for his travel. Hop on and let’s explore the stages he goes through and identify the many touchpoints involved.
For example, let us divide the buying journey into three stages as follows:
- Need discovery and pre-sales
- Post sales
Need discovery and Pre-sales
This stage starts with the need to be discovered or identified by the customer. Based on the type of need, customers research about the product or service in the available channels actively or passively.
So, here’s where Ben and his friends are amidst planning a casual fun trip. He realizes he does not have a suitable backpack to carry along and is in need of something that is casual and trendy that serves his purpose.
He’s at a stage of speculation, wondering where he could find his kind of bag – retail or online. He starts with online research checking prices, features, brands, does a comparative study on different websites and solicits reviews or recommendations from friends.
Ben also visits a nearby store to see if he can find good deals offline and compares against online bargains.
Here’s where customers takes decisions and buys the product at one of the points of sale.
Ben, at this stage, returns from his store visit and buys the backpack online. Billing is done and Ben receives an email of his transaction. In a few days, the product is delivered.
For better customer experience and loyalty, a business should develop and implement a strong Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy. Sending post sales e-mails, thank you notes and follow-up calls to get customer feedback are few examples of a healthy CRM.
Here’s where Ben gets a purchase confirmation e-mail followed by a thank you note from the seller. Apart from that, seller requests for Ben’s review and ratings for the product or service sold. Added to that, Ben gets follow up e-mails and loyalty discounts for continued purchase.
Moments of truth
Touchpoints are also called ‘moments of truth’ when customers experience a brand through the points that are built and nourished for the brand.
Marketers need to pay attention to the below points and focus on optimizing them.
- Understand the process and the factors involved at each stage of the customer journey
- Take stock of all the touchpoints involved in the customer journey and ways to improve.
- Check whether the touchpoints fulfill the intended experience for your customers. Not all customers have the same journey and come across the same touchpoints. Each and every customers’ journey is unique.
- Analyze the unfulfilled gaps that need work when compared to the competition.
- Maintain consistency and strive for a unified customer experience through the identified touchpoints, building long-term relationships with customers.
Now, you play Midas.
So, here we are in conclusion. This blog is for you to understand and take into account all the touchpoints that influence the buying journey of your customers.
Effective touchpoints are valuable in giving positive reinforcements to the customer journey and it should pull customers towards the purchase and help build a long-term relationships.
Each touchpoint of your brand should influence your prospects to become your customer and catalyze their loyalty.
That’s the ‘Midas touch’ – It’s the leveraging of these effective touchpoints that work magic to convert prospects into long-term customers!
Great days ahead!