A Touchpoint (contact point, customer contact, Moment of Truth, point of contact) describes the interface of a product, service or brand with customers/users, non-customers, employees and other stakeholders, before, during and after a transaction.
It is as relevant to Business-To-Business as well as Business-To-Customer operations. Some people do this well, others are not bad, and some others fail miserably at it. The later either have such a unique product that they don’t need to care, or will be out of business as soon as the self funding money evaporates.
The thing with Touchpoints is that most people know about them, but far too many fail to see the whole touchpoint cycle. Customer focused organisations follow the touchpoint cycle to it’s logical conclusion. Excellent customer focused organisations take it beyond the logical conclusion.
Recently, a couple of experiences have occurred that I think are worthwhile sharing.
Excellent. The hospitality industry is generally pretty good at identifying their customer touchpoints. The staff training is all about the customer experience. I was fortunate enough to spend a few days in South East Asia. The hotel that I stayed in was a branded chain hotel and very new, so expectations were high. Where this hotel excelled started with my email contacts a month or so from my scheduled stay – the hotel was able to assist with all my enquiries in a professional and friendly manner. Additionally they were very prompt with the responses – which kinda made me feel important. They then followed this up with the transport, which although was contracted in, did not falter from what the hotel had already started. Mental note here: Your contracted services are as important as you are from a customer viewpoint.
Fail. Unfortunately, my wife was involved in a small car accident – nothing more than a dented rear bumper, but annoying and inconvenient netherless. In this case, although the insurance company did their bit, their contracted repairer (which is centralised and hence has a monopoly) could not, or more correctly did not want to accommodate a change in vehicle pickup date. In this case I am a consumer of insurance, and the repairer is acting as the frontline of the insurance company. The failure by the repairer will result in me cancelling the insurance policy and looking elsewhere. Of course I will let the insurance company know why they have lost me. Unfortunately for them I have a number of policies with them and they will all move.
If you are a retailer, your touchpoints extend well beyond your counter staff. Consider how the phone is answered, how your social media is managed, how your goods and services are presented, and how feedback (both positive and negative) is received and handled.
Your customers are screaming to let you know how they feel. Make sure you listen to the messages.