Do You Know Your Customer Touch Points?

Blue Hand Reaching - Do You Know Your Customer Touch Points?

What are your customer touch points? Photo credit: Manu Mohan

Do you think the only interactions a customer has with your company is through your customer service agents and sales? Unfortunately, there are numerous overlooked touch points where a customer will interact with your company. Most businesses put huge amounts of effort into public facing elements like advertising, press releases, or sales presentations. Unfortunately, you can’t plan every interaction. You don’t know whether the first contact will happen on your terms, with a sales person, or (more likely) on their terms with some back-of-the-house employee. You don’t want friendly sales people passing off your customers to vexing billing workers. Polish and effort needs to be put in every area where a customer has contact with an employee.

You need to identify and prepare your entire “touch point chain,” or the places where customer interact directly with your business, in order to give positive impressions to customers.

Understand how a customer can interact with your company and remove any possible failure points. You prepare your business, you prepare your employees. Businesses that do so can count on satisfied, loyal customers.

What’s a Touch Point?

Before going on, let’s define a touch point. A customer touch point is a direct or indirect interaction your customer has with your business.

It’s very difficult (and probably impossible), to control where and when a customer will contact you. They will find you through any number of sources, whether online or offline. A direct line of contact could be your sales department or your call center agents. An indirect line might be a referring customer or one of your suppliers. As you can see touch points can be found at multiple, unexpected places.

Overlooked and Underappreciated

Here are some commonly overlooked customer touch points:

  1. Billing – Don’t neglect the way your billing can affect your customer’s experience. Is your billing process unnecessarily complex or convoluted? If a customer wants to split their bills between business and personal, are you able to fulfill their request?
  2. Field Service Visits – Are your field service technicians trained to give excellent service to your clients? Do they have all the tools they need in order to best serve customers? How well is your scheduling analysis handled–can you see different skill levels, availabilities, locations, customer outage dates, languages, vacation times, etc?
  3. References – How well do you handle your references? You don’t want to keep asking the same customers over and over for references, making them do work. Your customers are busy too. Keep customers up to date on new developments–you don’t want referrals to come to you with old information about the services you offer.
  4. Sales Quotes – How many times have you had different salesmen from the same company give you different prices or quotes? It’s unprofessional and it can drive away customers in frustration. Do you have a good system in place to manage pricing information consistently across your organization? Make sure your sales team is on the same page when it comes to quoting to the same customer.
Also consider the way workflow management impacts the way your customers are moved through the touch point chain. Does each step add value to the interaction? Do you have unnecessary redundancy in your chain of customer interactions?  Ensure the way you handle customer work requests and cases is efficient, logical, and uses the customers needs as the supreme measure of success. Every person working with a customer should know what the previous case workers have done, said, and tried. Don’t make the customer work for you–it’s your job to make their life easier.

A quotation often attributed to Albert Einstein is to “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Wise words.

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