In the era of Artificial Intelligence and digital evolutions of the business world, it is high time for organizations to reevaluate their way of customer interaction. Hence, as a rule of thumb, the online customer care of businesses strives in offering excellent customer care more specifically personalized ones. Every customer touchpoint of your business has a direct impact on the overall customer experience. A poor customer experience in any of the customer journey touchpoints can easily create a negative impact on the customer’s mind irrespective of multiple positive experiences faced with the brand at other communication channels.
What are Customer Journey Touchpoints?
Customer journey touchpoints refer to the point of customer interaction with the brand across the three stages of customer lifecycle i.e., awareness, decision/evaluation, and post-purchase phase. It refers to the medium where customers can contact their favorite brand with the help of communication channels through their customer journey.
The touchpoints of a brand include a multitude of digital and CRM touchpoints. Identifying the proper touchpoints for each customer is essential for managing customer expectations at each level while catering to their needs with the product portfolio or excellent customer service. The most common example of the customer journey with a plethora of touchpoints is when customers reach an airline. Starting from booking tickets to availing the service and providing feedback for the whole customer uses multiple touchpoints such as app, website, live chat, liaise with the ground staff. In this case, customers have different perceptions at each point of the journey.
Steps to Optimize Customer Journey Touchpoints
Customer journey touchpoint analysis is very important for any organization no matter how big or small it is. Management of customer journey touchpoints provides a full vision and a map of the entire journey of the customers. Optimizing customer journey touchpoints is crucial because you can get a clear idea about the communication channels that your potential customers will use before, during, and after buying products from your brand. Below is the list of a few ways that can be used in optimizing your customer journey touchpoints based on 3 stages of purchase decision.
A. Awareness Stage:
The awareness stage is the first stage of the purchasing decision when the customers come to know about your brand. Using the following touchpoints customers can get an idea about your product and eventually lean towards buying it.
1. Company Website
The company’s website is one of the most common customer journey touchpoints that most people prefer while reaching out to the brand. A well-designed website may attract customers who will stay longer thus they will invest more time in checking what your brand can offer for them. Your website must have the right elements that can grab customer’s attention that leads to purchase. A website can be optimized by its design, elements, highlight core brand message, social proof in terms of real-time statistics, reviews, star ratings, and testimonials, putting calls to action such as buy now, free trial, free shipping, contact us, etc.
Social media platforms are a great way for a brand to grow its audience while reaching business goals through active customer engagement. More than 37% of social media users are more likely to visit brands’ social media pages. It helps brands in increasing user engagement and enhanced sales by offering quicker responses to the customers. Social media channels can be optimized by creating interactive content, used as a communication channel, tracking the nature of customer response, humanizing the brand, and encouraging customer engagement.
3. Live Chat
Live chat is one of the most common touchpoints that customers preferred the most because of its faster resolution time. More than 30% of the customers expect live chat support on your brand’s website. Customers seek real-time assistance which is faster as well as competent which in turn reduces the bounce rate of the website thus increase in sales. Live chat support can be optimized by proactive support, faster response, quick follow-up, interactive resolution, conversations on the pending requests.
With the help of company blogs, customers can come to the website that can lead to sales. However, blogs do not directly come under customer journey touchpoints because they don’t lead to direct sales. This is because blogs are not essentially meant to be sales pitches. They should be educational in nature which would educate the person regarding any topic related to the brand’s products or service. Blogs can be optimized by choosing relevant topics, using proper search engine optimization, giving product insights to readers, etc.
B. Evaluation Stage:
In the evaluation or decision-making stage, customers will think about whether they will buy your product or not. With this intention in mind, customers will start evaluating the products before making the purchase. Optimizing customer journey touchpoints in this stage is very important that will help in making buying decisions for the customers.
Email is one of the crucial customer journey touchpoints for most e-commerce, B2B, B2C companies as more than 62% of the customers prefer email support while communicating with the brand. Emails can be optimized through personalization, creating more opt-in chances, sending re-engagement emails, and A/B testing.
6. Product Catalogs
Product catalogs for any online business are an excellent way of showcasing and demonstrating the products to their target audience. A well-crafted product catalog must have the perfect balance of product demonstration, outlook, design so that they can easily attract customers to your brand. Customers examine the product catalog before making a purchase decision. Hence, optimizing these customer journey touchpoints is essential. It can be done by organizing your products, knowing your audience, choosing correct images, adding a call to action on the pages, etc.
7. Phone Calls
Voice calls are considered as one of the most trusted and effective customer journey touchpoints that most companies rely on even with the advent of the rampant usage of digital channels. Any business, especially retail, e-commerce, and many B2B businesses must optimize their phone support channels while offering excellent customer service. To optimize voice call support, train the agents, create a script for the agents, proactively help the customers, agents must have active listening skills, showing empathy, and many more.
8. Product Demos
When the customers are satisfied with your brand offerings, they will go for the product demonstrations. It is one of the customer journey touchpoints where the prospect can be interested enough to make a purchase and excited about the solution. However, product demos can be optimized by customizing demos, providing visual support, showing products from multiple aspects, solving customer queries, etc.
9. Customer Reviews
Customer reviews act as a crucial part of the business that includes product reviews or service reviews on social media platforms, websites, forums, etc. More than 95% of the shoppers focus on product reviews before making a purchase from a company. Reviews have the power in influencing consumer decisions and strengthening brand credibility. The steps of optimizing customer reviews as one of the customer journey touchpoints include boosting customer confidence, improved customer confidence, and feedback mechanism.
C. Post-Purchase Stage:
The post-purchase phase refers to those customer journey touchpoints where the customer expects companies will keep in touch with them in terms of follow-up and vice versa i.e., as a consumer, they can contact the brand regarding any queries.
10. Feedback Surveys
Customer surveys are an important part of the customer journey touchpoints where a brand gets feedback related to their products and service. A brand must take customer feedback seriously and implement the changes wherever required. Almost 77% of the consumers consider those brands that ask for customer feedback. You can optimize your feedback surveys by understanding your customers, deciding the area of improvement, making the survey mobile-friendly, and asking open-ended questions.
11. Loyalty Programs
A brand must focus on the customer loyalty programs as a part of their customer journey touchpoints because customers need to be rewarded which leads to positive word of mouth. As a result, more customers attach to the brand thus increasing sales. Steps in optimizing customer loyalty programs include focusing on premium customers, making customers appreciated, using innovative ideas like offering discounts while signup, etc.
Newsletters are considered as one of the most valuable customer journey touchpoints that deliver exciting content and updates regarding the brand and its product portfolio. It is one of the best ways of engaging customers through interesting content. Ways of optimizing newsletters consist of sharing product information, matching customer life cycle, showcasing brand’s achievements, and delivering amazing content.
When a brand leads its customers through its offerings and product portfolio, it must focus on the factor that the customers are satisfied with at every touchpoint. Having a thorough customer journey touchpoints analysis across all the stages i.e., awareness stage, decision stage, and the post-purchase stage is crucial in understanding their expectations and preferences. It helps in mapping customer journeys while leveraging them in the right direction to deliver consistency in support experience. Mapping customer journeys across all touchpoints is mandatory because nowadays customers prefer to use multiple customer journey touchpoints both in-store and in digital media.