As businesses continue to adapt to an increasingly unpredictable environment, evolving buyer behaviours and higher customer expectations, they also face the challenge of managing the customer experience across an ever diverse range of touchpoints.
Touchpoints are what define the quality of your customers’ experience when they encounter your company and brand. If your clients do not feel valued and well-treated when engaging with your brand, they will not stay loyal and their business will go elsewhere. By making sure that your touchpoints are connected and optimised for your customers, you can secure smoother journeys for them, improve customer satisfaction and deliver an experience that makes them want to come back again and again.
Here are some things you should consider in designing your B2B customer lifecycle:
Types of touchpoint
A touchpoint is any interaction through any channel that might alter the way that your customer feels about your product, brand, business or service.
Each phase in a customer lifecycle has its own touchpoints and these can be categorised using the EPOMS acronym:
Earned touchpoints –where your company receives positive feedback for the service or products you are offering in the form of reviews, ratings, press reports, or recommendations.
Paid touchpoints –contact points that your company pays for such as ads and sponsorships.
Owned touchpoints –contact with assets you ‘own’ eg your website, company blog, online store.
Managed touchpoints – contact through channels you don’t own but manage eg: social media, apps, trade shows or an external call centre.
Shared touchpoints –contacts generated through content you share eg: explanatory videos, news and press articles, or eBooks
Given the number of channels now available, creating an outstanding experience at every single touchpoint may not be realistic in the short-term but is a goal you can work towards incrementally. In the first instance, it is better to focus on those touchpoints you can influence and which will have most immediate impact on your customer’s experience.
Mapping out your customer touchpoints – before, during, and after sale – will enable you to more easily identify where to focus. Your customers and your employees are really well placed to give you the insight you need to identify where you have issues and bottlenecks or where you are creating a real ‘wow’ moment that can be replicated elsewhere.
Speak to your customers and front line employees, gather their feedback, or conduct surveys – they will tell you what is or isn’t working and also have suggestions for how things can be improved. Armed with their insight you can make informed decisions as to where to focus your attention and resource and what changes will bring most benefit both to you and your customer.
The pandemic has led many businesses to embrace new channels increasing the number of touchpoints to manage and heightening buyer expectations. For example,
QR codes have surged in popularity with customers wanting to minimise physical contact with the businesses they visit.
Mobile apps and ecommerce have been adopted by businesses that relied previously on their bricks and mortar stores.
In shifting to digital to facilitate product and service delivery, however, businesses should not lose sight of customer needs. Chat bots may be a cost-effective way to provide 24/7 customer support but should only be used for first level support questions. Nothing creates a more frustrating and dissatisfying experience than a series of irrelevant responses from a bot and human agents should be available to deal with more complex questions. Competitive, successful digital CX must include both front-end innovation and commitment to customer-centricity across the organisation.
Whilst more expensive than digital channels, incorporating human interaction at key touchpoints has the potential to give a brand real punch and elevate the customer experience significantly. Insight gained through deeper engagement can also ensure a tailored, personalised approach across all channels and touchpoints. If you are looking to design an exceptional experience, deploying the human touch strategically across your customer’s journey will ensure they feel valued and make your brand memorable.
Customer experience is now the key differentiator and enabler of growth and businesses need to prioritise resources in this area. When targeted intelligently, human interaction can deliver a powerful, emotional connection, build trust and create a personalised and differentiating experience that will delight your customers.
Voice specialists for over 30 years’, our agile approach enables us to integrate the human touch at each stage of your customer’s journey with you. We offer a range of phone-based services from inbound call handling and ‘Voice of the Customer’ research to high-performance lead generation and remote sales/Inside Sales. If you are looking to refine your customer engagement strategy, get in touch to discuss how we can help.
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