September 17, 2015

Analyzing Touchpoints Along the Customer Journey

Touchpoints and the overall journey combine to create a powerful view into each and every customer experience.

For the past few years, touchpoint analysis has been the order of the day for service providers interested in delivering a better customer experience. Many service providers have worked hard to improve their contact center as well as online, mobile and retail store experiences, while a number have also dabbled in social media. This has helped them to remain competitive, but more and more organizations are also adding customer journeys to the mix.

Much of this has been driven by shifting customer behavior. In the digital world, customers have unprecedented choice not only in new products and services, but also in how they research, acquire, use, seek support for and express their opinions on those products.

Creating a Seamless Customer Experience
Indeed consumers’ methods of interaction and resultant experiences are increasingly important, especially when dealing with digital goods and services, but also to a greater extent with physical goods. Consumers are adapting quickly to a broad variety of digital interaction channels, especially in retail, and are demanding that merchants offer these capabilities if they want to keep them as customers. They are also demanding consistency across all channels. 

Crossing channels needs to be seamless, allowing customers to change midstream without restarting their journey and while inheriting appropriate contextual and historical information from the channel they are exiting.

Here’s a customer journey case in point:

  1. A customer receives a text from her service provider with a new offer.
  2. She clicks on an embedded URL in the text to see more information on the product and a brief video and then she searches to find two independent product reviews.
  3. Left with a few questions, she calls the contact center for clarification.
  4. Satisfied with the answer, she posts her interest in the product on social media, receiving positive feedback from her friends.
  5. Encouraged, she calls the local store to ensure product availability in her preferred color and confirm pricing and driving directions.
  6. On her way to the store, she hears some radio advertising and notices some digital signage promoting the product, further reinforcing her intent to go through with the purchase.
  7. At the store, she tries out the product, gets usage instruction from a video kiosk and completes the purchase.
  8. Pleased, she proudly posts pictures of her new acquisition on social media, telling her many friends about her experience.

This particular journey, which is relatively straightforward and includes no errors, disappointments or rework, uses nine touchpoints! Had something gone wrong in just one of the touchpoints, it could easily have caused more effort and time or resulted in termination of the journey. Yet if the service provider analyzed the customer’s experience solely from a touchpoint perspective, 8 out of 9 of the touchpoint owners would view it as a success, even as the company incurred additional expense or lost a sale.

This particular case, albeit a fairly simple one, vividly illustrates the importance of looking at the entire picture, from start to finish, of a customer’s experience. Analyzing customer journeys can bring significant benefits to service providers, some of which will directly impact the bottom line and others which will result in improved perception and loyalty. Here are some examples:

  • It helps service providers think the way customers do.
  • It helps to uncover inconsistencies across interaction channels or touchpoints.
  • It helps in understanding how context is maintained as consumers hop from channel to channel.
  • It can make your operation more efficient.
  • It can reduce customer effort.
  • It can facilitate organizational effectiveness.
  • It’s good preparation for omnichannel customer experience

Touchpoints and journeys need to work hand-in-hand in order to get the full picture of what customers go through when interacting with a business. But captured and analyzed correctly, this valuable data can be a key differentiator for service providers that are constantly looking for a way to get an edge over the competition.

Photo by Ultraslo1 with Creative Commons license


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