There’s a famous quote that says, “People won’t remember what you said or did, but they’ll remember the way you made them feel.” This sentiment reflects today’s customer-brand experience, too. A Walker report had stated that customer experience would have more importance than price and product as a key brand differentiator. This is why marketers need to understand the value of customer touchpoints. This paradigm has changed over the last few quarters since much of the customer journey has moved online in response to the pandemic.
Customer touchpoints are moments in the customer’s journey when they interact with the brand. This interaction would be digital in today’s context. Each customer touchpoint represents a potential opportunity to create a positive connection between the customer and the product/service. Do this by adjusting this interaction in a manner that builds on the customer-brand relationship. Take efforts to ensure that these experiences don’t detract from this rapport built between the two.
The Customer Journey
We can break this into three main parts: pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. Each stage has unique customer touchpoints that provide crucial data for marketers.
This is the phase before the purchase and consists of two stages – awareness and consideration. In this phase, you take measures to alert your target audience to your product and help them know you (and your offering) better. There are several ways to do this.
- Search Engine Optimization
Using SEO tactics, you can make your website rank number higher on Google, Bing, or the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) of your choice. This will give your product information and brand communications maximum visibility for online customers. Specialists implement SEO tactics on your website, blogs and include both technical and non-technical actions. SEO uses strategically selected high- search volume keywords and phrases to open your website up to Google searchers – both human and non-human! (by which we mean search engines). The content you present on your website showcases your brand in the context of what your customers are looking for and helps you appear in their eye line when they go out looking for information.
The Data You Get: You’ll understand your niche’s relevant keywords and what’s trending online. You’ll also get landing-page performance data that will help both organic and paid growth.
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
Another excellent way to build awareness is through social media marketing. Along with creating viral posts, authentic communications, and online competitions, influencer marketing is emerging as a medium to take notice. It has grown from a secondary marketing tactic into a 10-billion-dollar industry by itself! According to your product/service and ideal customer persona, choose platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and more. Create appropriate content about your offerings, use relevant hashtags, and build awareness. Build user communities and engage with your users on the channels they frequent.
The Data You Get: The number of impressions, shares, likes, ad comments, and clicks reveals consumer behavior and mindset through the analytics and insight pages of every platform.
- Digital Ads
The digital advertisement industry has grown into a juggernaut with its smart innovations and programmatic advertising methods that empower optimized brand strategies. In 2019, marketers spent over 69.55 billion US dollars on Facebook ads and 134.8 billion US dollars on Google’s digital advertisement channels. The projections for 2021 are a whopping 147 billion dollars across platforms. Many consider programmatic advertising one of the most effective ways to scale, consolidate, and optimize your online targeting, influencing, and conversion efforts.
Digital ads emerged as the champion of small and medium-sized businesses during the lockdown. This is a critical customer touchpoint today. Do this with great care and dexterity to create informative and exciting experiences for your customer. Otherwise, everyone will find you annoying and skip your ads.
The Data You Get: Real-time data about your target consumer’s patterns and interests. Advanced reporting about ad placements and performance. This helps optimize campaigns quickly and accurately at scale.
- Customer Reviews
After your target customer is aware of your brand, they’ll want to know what else it can offer or what role it can play in their life. This is the stage of ‘consideration’, where they will analyze your brand’s benefits over other similar ones. Customer reviews play a significant role in spreading the good word about your brand. Websites such as Amazon, or similar platforms, help influence the customer’s opinion about your brand’s potential to solve their problems or fulfill their requirements.
The Data You Get: What customers are experiencing with your brand and how to improve it. This is especially important to enhance your product quality and customer services.
If you don’t have enough reviews, the next best thing is getting a team of bloggers and social media influencers to review your products. You can share these on your website or ask the blogger to advertise to their followers.
The Data You Get: Search impressions, clicks, CTR, total views and visits, individual post-performance, number of inbound links, traffic source, and more. These help you understand who is reading this content and acting on it and the kind of queries and concerns potential users will have.
This is the main part of the customer cycle – when your efforts convince the individual to make a purchase. If the online buying journey is difficult or filled with glitches, there are high chances that the buyer will abandon their cart. Your website’s user interface will play a prominent role here.
- The Online Buying Process
This includes payment options, discount coupons, the basket used to gather the items, and every other detail that forms a part of the purchasing process. This must be a seamless experience. One point to make a note of is that 54.4% of internet traffic comes from mobile phones. Ensure your website is fully-functional and efficient for both web users and those accessing via mobile. A hidden opportunity here is in the case of a discarded cart. You can craft an attractive and specific email, encouraging the receiver to finish the process, or even offer a discount code to attract them.
The Data You Get: This stage provides information about price point sensitivity and the possible obstacles in the online buyer journey. You can also get transactional details about customer preferences linked to technology, financial instruments, shipping channels and modes, and bundling options.
An overlooked, but opportunity-filled stage is at the point post-purchase. Don’t just leave your customers after buying a product, as this is the best time for community building and customer retention actions. If you’re able to create a wonderful after-purchase experience for your customers, they’ll turn into advocates for your brand.
The Data You Get: The effectiveness of your website, its UX/UI, and product reviews. Also, what induces customers to extend their relationship with the brand and the key problems they face with continued usage.
- Community Building
Some ways to retain your customers and turn them into advocates are sending out well-thought-out feedback forms, emailers, newsletters, loyalty programs, and promo-codes. You can also create digital events and invite your patrons to join in. Good customer service goes a long way, as does asking whether your customer had a smooth experience interacting with your platform.
The Data You Get: Overall reviews and feedback that help you enhance each stage of the customer buying process.
How Does This Help?
This data is crucial for the following:
- Improving customer retention.
By understanding which parts of the process your customers enjoy and which parts need to change, you’ll be able to take actions to retain your customers and turn them into life-long brand advocates.
- Enhancing cross-selling and up-selling efforts.
Post-purchase emailers are the best for promoting other offers. According to McKinsey, cross-selling can increase sales by 20% and profits by 30%.
- Increasing customer satisfaction.
By addressing the pain points, you’ll establish yourself as a brand that cares. Such brands always have a loyal follower base.
Which of these touchpoints do you have data on? That will tell you which you need to work on, and how can you enhance them for the best customer experience? It’s time to take a holistic view of the customer lifecycle.