Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's All About the Touchpoints!

I read a recent post about customer touchpoints by a fellow customer experience advocate, and it planted a seed. The post challenged all businesses to understand the importance of all customer touchpoints, but unfortunately, few actually do.

In the words of Annette Franz, “What is a touchpoint? There are many different ways that people define it, but in a nutshell, it’s a place or point that a customer touches, or interacts, with your brand. Those interactions can be in-your-face obvious or they can be those little things that may be less obvious or not as visible.”

How often have you been in a physical store or visited an online store, received an email, read an ad or billboard – and felt as if a business actually valued your business? The reality is probably not too often.

A famous brand known for revolutionizing the coffee industry by creating $4 cups of coffee is also known for its touchpoints. First, there were Baristas – not just employees who brewed coffee and poured it into cups for customers. Then there was a new way to label coffee cup size. Then there was a diverse array of specialty coffee drinks with options for customization. And there was the partnership with Apple and iTunes. Then there was an App to take the place of cash when making a purchase in its stores. Then small kiosks appeared in grocery stores, and finally, this brand’s products were sold in grocery stores.

But the most deep-rooted touchpoint for Starbucks was noting a customer’s name on the cup during the order process. However, despite all the massive growth of this brand, this critical touchpoint has been lost. Too often, either the employee/Barista doesn’t request the customer’s name, or when the drink is ready, this is what is heard: “Grande Frappucino.” What happened to “Grande Frappucino for Debbie?” I hardly ever hear this personalized announcement anymore.

Businesses work hard to create customer touchpoints because they are part of the overall marketing strategy. So those who work on the front line and interact with customers should understand their importance - or brand equity will be sacrificed.

Check out the inspiration for this post by Annette Franz (@CXJourney on Twitter):

Image Credit: University of North Carolina Wilmington (http://www.uncw.edu) 

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