Today, thanks to digitalization, there are many ways for a customer to make contact with a company, trademark, or specific product. Each of these contacts also compels a conscious or unconscious assessment of that experience, which sticks in the consumer‘s mind.
With classical advertising methods, such as TV, radio commercials, or online marketing measures – the points of contact between a company and the customer are versatile. In the digital age, even smaller companies have more than a hundred potential touchpoints. These are therefore made up of all the contact points that the customer makes with a brand during their customer journey. Analyzing these touchpoints helps improve the customer experience and makes otherwise costly marketing more effective.
Effective Touchpoint Analysis for Better Customer Understanding
In order to optimize business processes in the best possible way, it is essential to check customer satisfaction by examining individual customer contact points. This is particularly effective with a combination of touchpoint analysis and the so-called Net Promoter Score®.
Definition of Touchpoints: What Exactly Are These Points of Contact?
In marketing, touchpoints indicate points of contact between company and customer. More specifically, it is an interface between:
- trademarks, goods, services or companies and
- suppliers, employees, stakeholders, or customers.
The contact can be made by suppliers and customers during, before, and after the purchase of the product. A distinction is also made between direct and indirect touchpoints in communication. These are, for example:
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Trade Fairs
Of course, contact can also be through quite traditional measures – for example, through customer telephone contact. The points of contact can be found in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) trade.
Phases & Categories – Division of Touchpoints
Through one or more of the contact points defined above, the company comes into direct contact with the customer. This contact has two levels:
- The first contact first triggers feelings within the recipient. The prospective customer learns about the company and decides whether or not they wish to intensify the relationship.
- In the second step, contact with a trademark awakens a brand experience in the customer. This influences their inner picture of or helps define their attitude to the company.
The topic of touchpoints can also be divided into two categories. The first category is touchpoint management. It describes how the possible points of contact between the company and the customer run at best without any problems and attempts to ensure that customers gain a positive experience. The second category is the touchpoint-customer journey. This point of contact describes the process of a buyer first informing themselves of products/services and thinking about it before finally making their purchase.
In the course of the customer journey, different phases of the purchase process, and thus different touchpoints, can be defined.
- Influencing Touchpoints are those related to information search and finding information.
- Pre-Purchase Touchpoints relate to the preparation of a decision that is not yet made.
- Purchase Touchpoints are then the moments where the purchase decision was made.
- After-Purchase Touchpoints address the use and repurchase of a product or service.
- Influencing Touchpoints is the last phase, as they also refer to the influencing of new, third parties.
Changing Perspectives: Making Contact Can Be so Versatile!
Depending on the perspective used when examining a touchpoint, its make up can be broken down even further. For example, there is the brand touchpoint, linked to the brand, or the corporate touchpoint as an interface with the operation. As part of the customer experience, these can be defined as below:
- Human Touchpoints refer to people’s interaction. This can be, for example, a call from the customer to the company or face-to-face personal contact.
- Brand Touchpoints are contacts made by browsing the website, by obtaining a business card or by reading an article.
- Product Touchpoints are materials, equipment, or products, i.e. anything that is perceived visually and haptically.
- Interactive Touchpoints are multidirectional. This means that these can be both internet-based touchpoints and touchpoints via PC, TV, and radio.
- Static Touchpoints are advertising materials such as brochures, flyers, business cards, and poster/billboard advertising.
Prerequisites for Successful Touchpoint Analysis
Every customer contact, by any means and of any length, is an important part of a correct analysis. To make analysis even more accurate, the criteria should be worked out together with the employees of the company. It is also important to pay attention to general guidelines such as “be friendly” and to get a clear sense of what “being friendly” really means. In order to increase customer satisfaction, employees should always adhere to certain standards. Important issues in this context include:
- How much leeway do I, as an employee of the company have at these points of contact?
- How should I behave as an employee with regard to behavioral branding?
- What measures can I use and how far should I go?
- As an employee of the company, how can I determine whether I have positively contributed to customer satisfaction at this touchpoint?
The Importance of Touchpoint Analysis for Marketing and Management
The aim of the various touchpoints within the customer journey is to make customers continually aware of your proposition. The challenge is not to find out what advertising leads to the final purchase, but to ensure that the touchpoints influence the customer in such a way that they buy from your company. Ultimately, each point on the journey helps the item to be sold. This also applies to touchpoint management. The importance of the analysis for marketing and management is reinforced by the data obtained. This provides information about the potential for future marketing efforts and the measures to be used. Marketing and management also gain insights into new opportunities to find the right customer group and, of course, increase customer loyalty.
Performing Touchpoint Analysis
Touchpoint analysis is vital in order for data and information to be effectively matched in the assessment system. This data can be gathered with a direct customer survey. As a rule, up to three questions have to be asked, which should address the products, the employees, and the brand. However, there are many other ways for the customer to come into contact with the company.
- Basically, the process of touchpoint analysis begins with the mapping of the customer journey. Companies must first understand how a prospect really becomes a customer. To this end, it is of course important to find out how the customer became aware of the company, products, or and services or simply how they found out about them. In addition, entrepreneurs should clarify why a customer buys the product or service repeatedly, for example, and whether or why they give a recommendation. These things are of great importance to understanding the customer journey.
- The next step is to list the contact points. Which channels the customer contacts the company through provides information about their preferred touchpoints. As a rule, the following channels are
- Customer service
- A third step is followed by the so-called stocktaking. All the touchpoints where the customer made contact with the company on their journey are listed. This includes both on- and offline channels, which is why the field of possibilities expands further and the following communication channels should also be considered: * Internet, Email and Social Media * Personal contact, trade fairs and events * Brochures, flyers and manuals * Training, seminars, and advertising
- Now the important work of analyzing the customer journey via touchpoints begins. In the course of this, expectations, actual experiences (in positive and negative terms), as well as different actions on the journey can be recognized. Each touchpoint has provoked different emotions, deterring, or binding the customer. Thanks to the analysis, these stages (and reactions) are now visible to and real for the company. As a result, the company now has the chance to fix possible errors and problems on the customer journey and to maintain the good and positive aspects.
In this context, it may also be interesting to find out which touchpoints make less sense from a customer perspective and which are particularly effective. In this way, companies recognize whether every point of contact is really important in order to positively reach and influence customers.
Another approach is to bundle touchpoints together. This refers to the points of contact at different stages of the decision-making and purchasing process before, during, and after purchase. This allows you to refine your analysis. As customers are especially susceptible to the recommendations of others prior to purchase, one particular touchpoint should receive a lot of attention – the touchpoint with third party opinions.
Touchpoint Analysis in Relation to NPS®
If the obtained data sets are used correctly, there is a possibility that the customer will support the brand or the company by becoming a fan or promoter. Information from the touchpoints and the resulting analysis can now be examined with NPS. The Net Promoter Score calculates the difference in the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors (critics). The question that arises is as follows:
“How likely is it that you would recommend our brand, product, or company to an acquaintance, friend, or colleague?”
This result is entered on the layered model of customer loyalty, which is measured from 0 to 10. People who enter the values 0-6 are unhappy customers and are called detractors. The values from 7 to 8 are called passive or indifferent customers. They are satisfied, but not enthusiastic about a company’s products and services. This group of customers switches to the competition if they have a better offer. The group that voted 9-10 are the promoters who are most likely to recommend the company. It is recommended to ask a second follow-up question, which determines the reason for the decision. For example, a company can learn which touchpoints should be tweaked to better the customer experience and increase customer loyalty.
Customer Moments of Truth
Seeing things through the eyes of customers gives your company a big advantage. It makes it much easier to understand individual touchpoints and customer decisions. In order to assess when customers are gathering information about the company, you should know about and recognize the 5 following moments:
- The first moment is known as the “Zero Moment Of Truth” and describes when a customer comes into contact with a trademark, company or product for the first time. In short, it is the moment of advertising. It is the first step on the customer journey and describes how the customer is looking for a solution before he knows about the provider.
- The second moment is the “First Moment of Truth” and describes the first encounter between customer and brand or product. Here the customer starts to learn more and gather information.
- The third moment is called “Second Moment Of Truth”. This point describes the longer-term relationship between a customer and a product after a purchase has been made. It also describes what the customer thinks, sees, hears and feels about the company. * The last moment is the “Ultimate Moment of Truth”. This describes the moment when the customer begins to share his experiences with friends and family. This marks the beginning of the “Zero Moment of Truth” for third parties.
Summing Up: Using Touchpoint Analysis to Drive Success
Identifying the most important points of contact is crucial for company success. In this way, it is possible to analyze which touchpoints lead to a purchase. During such an analysis, customer satisfaction can be determined in order to highlight particularly positive or negative touchpoints. Data so collected delivers the marketing department and management the advantage of better understanding customer loyalty and opinion. It is no secret that customers do not always react in the way companies would like. Therefore, it is essential to immerse yourself in the emotional world of the potential buyer in order to understand what they want and thus achieve an optimal customer experience. Touchpoints can visualize this, helping promote sales and optimizing customer communication.
Tags: Customer Experience