Customer Touchpoints – The Precursor to Providing Exceptional Customer Experiences
I recently visited a restaurant along with my colleagues. The place was cozy, the service staff was friendly, the spread was good, and the food and taste were excellent.
I gorged on the food, and in my mind, I marked that place to visit whenever I traveled that route. After we settled the bill and left a tip, I used the restroom.
I wanted to wash my hands in the restroom, so I turned the tap on. The water came out with force, bouncing off the basin and spilling all over my shirt.
I had so much water on my shirt that I had to dry them with the available napkins. I left the restaurant with this experience.
After reading the last sentence, I am sure you are also left with this experience and not with anything else I wrote earlier.
Likely, I will recount this experience whenever I think of this restaurant.
This defines customer experience, and as businesses, you will have to look at every touchpoint in the customer journey and ensure consistency in what you provide.
Let us define what a customer touchpoint is.
What Is a Customer Touchpoint?
A customer touchpoint is any direct or indirect contact a customer has with a brand, from start to finish.
For example, customers may find your business online through search engines or advertisements, check the ratings & reviews of your offerings, visit your website, shop at your retail store, and eventually talk to your customer service for any issues or challenges.
This is an example of a customer journey, and likewise, you will have multiple customer journeys where the touchpoints may differ.
Why Is a Customer Touchpoint Important?
As a customer, I want the best possible experience at every touchpoint throughout my journey with the vendor or solution provider.
It is in businesses’ best interest to identify every customer touchpoint to determine opportunities to improve their customer’s journey.
It influences the customers’ perception of your brand and the customer engagement with your organization.
Let me break down the reasons why you should focus on customer touchpoints.
Creating a Holistic Customer Experience
Which brands come to your mind when it comes to customer experience?
Amazon, Apple, Zappos, and Nordstrom are some of the companies that are my top-of-mind recall. Let us take the case of Amazon.
Amazon has positioned itself as the most customer-centric company (it is MC3 and not MC2).
How do they deliver the experience?
They constantly work on the search and provide the best possible results for your search. They lay out all the product details, pictures, ratings & reviews on the product page, allowing you to decide.
They give you the best checkout experience with your payment and address details on file, allowing you to check out with minimum clicks. Their recommendation engine is one of the best in business.
Your returns are easier, and the entire experience is frictionless, which includes all the listed touchpoints.
The way Amazon manages its touchpoints ensures that each interaction aligns with the brand value of being the most customer-centric company and contributes to customer satisfaction and overall positive experience.
Engaging and Building Relationships
Every touchpoint allows the brand to interact with its customers, establish connections, and build lasting relationships.
Take, for example, Zappos. It looks forward to interacting with customers as they are opportunities for them to build relationships with customers. You must have heard of Zappos’ legendary customer service call, where the agent spoke to a customer for over 10 hours.
This isn’t something that they look down upon. Instead, Zappos looks at every customer interaction as an opportunity to enhance the customer’s perception of their brand.
Meeting Customer Expectations
Customers have specific expectations and need at each touchpoint. By understanding these touchpoints, businesses can tailor their offerings, and here are some examples.
- Customers expect a clear value proposition in their communication and advertising.
- Customers expect insights and solutions to their problems
- Customers rely on positive recommendations and reviews from friends, family, and colleagues
- Customers look for information on products that would help them make informed decisions.
- Customers look for transparent pricing, competitive offers, and promotions that provide value for their money.
- Customers expect a smooth and hassle-free checkout experience with multiple payment options or one-click options with a secure transaction experience.
- Customers expect prompt order confirmations with details such as order numbers, estimated delivery dates, and tracking information.
- Customers expect timely and reliable delivery, accurate tracking updates, and appropriate packaging that ensures product integrity.
- Customers may need assistance with order inquiries, returns, exchanges, or technical support. They expect knowledgeable and responsive customer service representatives to resolve their issues effectively.
- Customers anticipate meaningful rewards, exclusive offers, and personalized recommendations as part of loyalty programs.
- Customers would love invitations to exclusive events, early access to new products, or personalized surprises that make them feel valued.
Identifying Challenges and Improvement Areas
By measuring and analyzing touchpoint efficiency, organizations could understand the customer friction points where the customer experience may not meet customers’ expectations.
Understanding it will allow them to make necessary improvements, address customer concerns, and enhance the overall experience.
How Do You Identify Customer Touchpoints?
In many cases, even organizations wouldn’t clearly understand the different touchpoints in the customer journey and where they need to focus.
There are many ways by which you can understand the touchpoints, and here are some steps that would help you do that:
- Map the Customer Journey – this will allow you to understand the various stages a customer goes through while interacting with your brand, from initial awareness to post-purchase follow-up.
- Have multiple conversations with your existing customers and prospects on how they found you and how their buying process aligned with your selling process.
- This would allow you to distill the touchpoints that make the most sense to your customers. These touchpoints can include physical, digital, or interpersonal interactions.
- Analyze Customer Behavior – study customer behavior and gather insights to understand the channels and touchpoints customers prefer or frequent the most. This can be done through surveys, feedback, customer analytics, or social listening.
- Prioritize touchpoints that have the most significant impact on the customer experience based on the insights gathered. Focus on areas where improvements can be made, or positive interactions can enhance customer satisfaction.
Customer Touch Points Example
Let me give you an example of how we have handled our customers’ priority touchpoints. The priority touchpoint for our customers is always during the evaluation phase, where we provide them with a pilot or proof of concept customized to their needs.
One of our customers was in the business of providing low-value BNPL loans. For those customers who delay payments, they send push notifications from the e-commerce platforms’ app, reminding them to make the payment.
They make calls to follow up with only those customers who default beyond their EMI tenure.
They have about 175 agents spread across 4 locations.
Their biggest challenge was that their agents had a maximum talk time of only 2.5 hours.
They wanted to increase it beyond 3 hours. The challenges they had include:
- Increase the agent talk time from 2.5 hours to more than 3 hours, taking a minimum of 200 calls
- The platform should have the ability to manage auto-pacing intelligently based on agent availability
- The platform should have the capability to upsize and downsize agents easily
- The platform should have the capacity to do the internal agent movement
- The platform needs to integrate with SOP CRM
- Skill-based routing (or skill-based distribution) should be in place
Most of these challenges were related to their existing contact center platform and the telephony infrastructure.
These challenges included:
- For 30 agents in the Chennai location, they only had 90 channels.
- They allowed people from other regions to log in to their PRI in Chennai, reducing their ability to connect more calls.
- Whenever the load increases, the platform freezes. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to be up and running again.
- You cannot run multiple campaigns for a product simultaneously
- You get to see only product-wise dashboards and the metrics of assigned agents for specific products
- They were dependent on a single provider for their Digital SIP needs without any redundancy
- Every dedicated server allowed only 150 agent licenses. If you want to scale further, you must have additional servers.
In its entirety, their infrastructure is not flexible, and it isn’t addressing their challenges.
With all of these challenges, they decided to evaluate our platform. They had four specific needs.
- Increase the agent talk time from 2.5 hours to > 3 hours on an average
- Custom reports and dashboards that would allow them to see the health of the call center in one shot. They wanted to measure metrics like AHT, ATT, AWT, and Utilization rates.
- Integration with their in-house CRM
- Skill-based routing that would improve agent productivity
We implemented the ClearTouch Operator platform.
We began with integrating the platform with their in-house CRM, which was done within a day. We imported all their contacts to our platform within a few minutes.
Our platform supports intelligent routing that is skill-based, location-based, and time-based. So, we implemented skill-based routing immediately.
We evaluated their business process and understood we needed to attempt 15 calls for one connected call with the agent. So, for 30 agents, we utilized 450 channels during peak times to ensure that all of them were busy.
Our platform allows the scaling of channels seamlessly without any effort. We offer unlimited channels with high utilization. Besides, we assigned dynamic DID numbers so that the numbers don’t get caught up in spam or reduce the answering ratio.
This increased agents’ talk time from 2.5 hours to even 6 hours in some cases. On average, we increased the talk time to 4.5 hours, a massive improvement from their current operations and expectations.
Our predictive dialer allows you to optimize the available resources by automatically varying the pacing ratio based on the quality of the list, available agents, and other factors to avoid agent idle/waiting time.
Our platform supports all the identified metrics – Average Handling Time (AHT), Average Talk Time (ATT), Average Wait Time (AWT), and Utilization rates. We configured all of these in our platform, which was available to all their resources.
This is an example of how we customized the pilot during the evaluation stage for one of our customers. The pilot was successful, and we have onboarded all their locations with our platform.
Customer touchpoints are one of the critical areas for organizations to look at while providing a customer experience. The touchpoints can vary from business to business depending on the customer journey from the initial awareness to the customer support phase.
Focusing on the customer journey and analyzing customer behavior should be the mantra to crack the customer experience code.