In the past, I’ve written about customer experience and how you can refine that. The idea of a customer experience being an important one is a pretty recent development as far as business goes but has really been emphasized in the online business age. When we as a society put the buying power more into consumers hands, we had to adapt. See businesses are evolving to match what the customer wants for a few different reasons. First, customers have more power with their dollar than they ever have. Second, there are expectations from businesses by consumers more now than ever because of options. And third, early adopters of customer experience have set the bar (think Amazon) higher.
So what makes a customer experience as a whole? The individual touchpoints that they interact with throughout your sales funnel or purchasing process. Each little interaction serves a purpose and should be intentional on the part of the company to build onto an overall customer experience goal.
What Is A Touchpoint?
A touchpoint is any interaction that your customer has with your business. These are the micro actions that lead to the overall end goal of a purchase. I’ll walk you through an example.
You sell planners. (I’ve got 2017 on the brain, not going to lie.) Your sales funnel looks a little like this.
Customer finds you on Instagram
Customer reads related blog post
Customer exchanges their email for a free weekend trip packing freebie
Customer is now on your email list
Customer receives email from you promoting 2017 planners
Customer clicks through email to product page
Customer read product description and views images
Customer leaves your website to Google 2017 planners
Customer researches alternatives based on price, design, and usefulness
Customer returns to your product page via another email
Customer purchases your planner
Customer writes review for your planner
Customer carries planner on their person
Customer tells their friends where they got their planner when asked
Customer directs friends to your social media/website
That’s a lot. And you’ll notice it doesn’t end at the purchase. In fact, the last four steps of your sales funnel can actually last for months if you are that amazing at making planners.
So as you can see, your customer interacts with you and your company 10 times out of the 15 steps to buying. That gives you 10 touchpoint opportunities to really make an impact and provide value before the purchase is made. It also gives you 10 chances to guide the customer gently through the sales funnel to that purchase and turn them into a brand advocate after the purchase is made. Each touchpoint is an opportunity to provide value to your customer.
The Impact Of A Touchpoint
The catch 22 of a touchpoint is that it can go either way. Imagine your sales funnel as a hallway. You walk through your blog post hallway and at the end, there are two gentlemen dressed like the butlers from Titanic standing in front of two doors waiting for you. One door has a plaque that says “Next Step” and the other has a plaque that says “Exit.” At the exact same time, the doors are opened and you have a choice to make. Continue on, or exit.
If your blog post hallway provided value, you are far more likely to go through the “Next Step” door. If not, you are more likely to go through the “Exit” door.
Now you have had to opportunity in your blog hallway to make relevant, valuable content available. You have offered them the opportunity for more exclusive, valuable content (your email list) and have nudged them into the “Next Step” door.
Taking care at every touchpoint is the single most effective* way to keep people interested in your funnel.
*This is an opinion. That’s all.
The Structure Of A Touchpoint
Each touchpoint is a mini goal that moves people to an ultimate goal, whether that is a sale or just joining a community. But each touchpoint should be treated as it’s own brick in a wall. The touchpoint adds to the next to form one overarching structure, which is your customer experience.
The structure of a touchpoint can vary, but basically includes:
Valuable information at no charge
Clear, actionable steps to impact their life right now
A call to action to the next touchpoint
There are lots of different formulas for this. A few are:
The Social Formula: 1) An excerpt from a blog post as an Instagram caption. 2) “Link in bio” information. 3) “Visit the blog to read more about [topic]”
The Blog Formula: 1) Blog post “5 Steps to Designing Your Customer Experience” 2) Detailed information about how they can implement these five steps in their own lives 3) “Download the Customer Experience Cheat Sheet Here” button with email opt-in
The Free Coaching Formula: 1) A meeting of a predetermined set of time 2) Value packed information shared with the person in coaching 3) Schedule a follow up either for free or at a paid rate
Wrapping Up For Now
As you can see, placing the focus on each touchpoint in your funnel not only benefits you, the seller, but also the customer who is gaining all of this incredible value and knowledge from you for free. In each touchpoint, you are given the opportunity to build the relationship that eventual sales and brand advocacy are built on.
A touchpoint is a powerful thing that should not only be acknowledged, but nurtured throughout your business. With the focus on touchpoints, you and customer can grow together.
I mentioned a Customer Experience Cheat Sheet in one of my examples and would love to know if that is something that you would like to have. Let me know in the comments and I will be checking in.