8 min read
Marketers often use the term ‘touchpoint’ when they’re talking about interactions with customers. But, what exactly are brand touchpoints? In this guide, we’ll take a detailed look. In doing so, we’ll also discuss how they should be measured, categorised, and analysed.
What are brand touchpoints?
When we talk about the customer experience, we’re actually talking about the result generated by a series of interactions between a company and a customer. Each of these individual interactions are what we call ‘brand touchpoints’.
A brand touchpoint is defined as any interaction between your brand and a customer. Each business has hundreds of touchpoints, but popular examples include:
- Face-to-face interactions with customer service representatives
- Transactions (both on a checkout page and in a store at a till)
- Reviews or ratings of a company
- Blog content
- Social media output
- The uniforms of staff members
- Advertising campaigns
Some brand touchpoints are entirely within your control, such as your website, sales staff, and advertising strategy. However, there are some brand touchpoints you only have influence over (such as third-party ratings and word of mouth) and some are totally outside of your control (such as competitors discussing your brand).
Why are brand touchpoints important?
Every brand touchpoint is important. This is because each individual interaction a customer has with a company can influence both their opinion of the brand and their purchase decision.
Whenever a customer comes into contact with your brand, a positive or negative impression will be made. If your touchpoints aren’t up to scratch, then your brand’s integrity will be damaged and your customers won’t return. For example, if a customer can’t get in touch with a member of your customer services team to ask a question about your product, they’ll likely take their business elsewhere and not return.
So, with this in mind, let’s look at how you can create and deliver the best possible brand experience for your new and existing customers.
How should you measure brand touchpoints?
As each interaction matters, it’s vitally important that brands determine how effective each individual brand touchpoint is. This way, the brand can then optimise each touchpoint and ensure any inefficiencies are addressed.
If you want to improve the interactions you have with your customers, then you need to understand where you’re having those interactions and what each interaction looks like. After all, without this level of understanding, it’s impossible to measure how effective each brand touchpoint is and whether these interactions are having a positive impact.
To measure brand touchpoints, you should take all of the following steps:
Identify all touchpoints
Before you can start to measure the effectiveness of your brand touchpoints, you first need to identify all possible touchpoints. When carrying out this process, you should make a list of all the possible ways that a customer can interact with your brand. In doing so, you should split these touchpoints into the following categories:
- Pre-purchase experience: such as your website, advertising campaigns, and social media posts
- Purchase experience: such as your packaging, in-store experience, and the performance of sales reps
- Post-purchase experience: such as your product experience, ongoing customer service, and the performance of loyalty programs
At the end of this process, you should have a comprehensive list that includes every possible way a customer can interact with your business. So, think deeply about the customer journey and every touchpoint the customer can encounter.
As part of this, you must consider both the offline and the online experience. While some customers will come to you via your website, others will be persuaded by your in-store experience. Due to this, you must measure the effectiveness of both digital and non-digital touchpoints (we’ll discuss more about how this is possible later).
Once you’ve identified every touchpoint, you must assign an impact rating to each. This will then act as a measure of the importance of each touchpoint. For example, if a customer encounters issues when paying for products on your website or they cannot get in touch with a customer services representative about their order, then their relationship with your brand will come under severe strain. In these instances, the impact rating of these touchpoints should be high. However, if your store is a little dated, then it’s unlikely that the customer will be entirely put off from making a purchase with you, so the impact rating should be lower. Of course, it’s still important to address these issues. It’s just that they’re not as much of a priority.
Impact ratings are non-scientific and there’s no exact formula for assessing exactly how important each touchpoint is. When assigning impact scores, you should put yourself in the shoes of your customers and consider the positive and negative interactions you’ve previously had with brands. This way, you can begin to understand the importance of each touchpoint.
On top of this, you should also ask for the input of some of your customers when devising scores. When doing this, you should send out surveys. This way, you can be confident that you have accurately measured the impact of each touchpoint.
How to measure non-digital touchpoints
Of course, measuring digital touchpoints is far simpler than measuring non-digital touchpoints. After all, when it comes to digital touchpoints such as your social media channels and website, you’ll have access to hard data that shows its effectiveness. However, you should still ensure that all of this data is placed in a CDP. This way, you can prevent silos and generate a powerful understanding of how your customers interact with your brand.
With non-digital touchpoints, it’s much harder to judge effectiveness and inefficiencies. However, there are still techniques you can use. For example, you can use secret shoppers to measure the effectiveness of various in-store customer touchpoints. This shopper goes through the same process that customers follow when they engage with a brand. They’ll start by doing research about the business and then ask the customer services team questions. They’ll then make a purchase and pay for the product.
During this process, they’ll make detailed notes about their experience at each stage of the journey, including any issues that arose along the way. For example, they may note that it was difficult to get in touch with customer services, or that the representative they spoke to lacked product knowledge and couldn’t answer their question. By using secret shoppers, your business can accurately measure the effectiveness of each touchpoint in the sales process and identify which touchpoints, in particular, are most valuable to the experience.
If you need further support when measuring non-digital touchpoints, then you can also enlist the help of focus groups. However, although they’re incredibly useful for measuring the effectiveness of customer touchpoints, focus group research is not cheap to conduct. As a result, you may find this exercise is too expensive. If this is the case, instead spend time reading customer reviews, or looking for brand mentions and interactions on social media.
How should you analyse brand touchpoints?
Analysing brand touchpoints is difficult. After all, not all brand touchpoints are created equally. While some touchpoints simply need to be ‘good enough’ or delivered at a level of competitive parity, others need to differentiate your company in the minds of your customers. In these areas, you’ll need to deliver above and beyond in order to win hearts, minds, and custom.
That said, no matter what shape or form they take, all of your brand touchpoints must:
- Clearly represent your brand and your business
- Help you stand out as a class leader
- Motivate your customers to take a desired action (such as making a purchase)
So, once you’ve identified all of your brand’s touchpoints, take each of these in turn and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my first impression when I encounter this touchpoint?
- Does this touchpoint effectively align with our brand strategy and brand identity?
- How does this touchpoint differ (either positively or negatively) from the touchpoint offered by our competitors?
- Will this touchpoint help us attract new customers?
- Does this touchpoint effectively influence a customer’s purchasing decision?
- Would a customer who encounters this touchpoint be left with a positive impression of our brand?
Once you’ve audited your touchpoints in this way, you should identify which touchpoints require improvements and then create a priority list that shows which will be improved and when.
How you determine which touchpoints to prioritise should be determined by the impact ratings you assigned earlier in the process. You should always start with the touchpoints that have the highest impact rating, as these will have the most significant impact on the customer’s overall experience.
When improving these touchpoints, you should work as part of a team with representatives from a number of departments. So, assemble a task force. Again, the key at this stage is to ask yourself a number of questions, such as:
- What exactly is making this touchpoint so ineffective?
- How could we improve the customer experience at this part of the sales process?
The actions you take to improve the effectiveness of brand touchpoints will be wide-ranging. For example, you may need to redesign part of your website, offer additional training to staff members, or employ more members of staff.
However, when making these improvements, you should calculate how you can streamline your brand touchpoints. In doing so, you can then make your touchpoints act as a cohesive unit that a customer moves through, rather than individual points that do not link together. This will help you improve brand awareness.
Once you’ve finalised the changes to your touchpoints, you then need to schedule a review so you can assess the effectiveness of the changes you’ve made. By making a direct comparison between the old touchpoint and the new one, you’ll be able to see whether you have solved the underlying issue, or whether more work is required.
Improve your understanding of customer touchpoints with Apteco
By continually tracking and measuring all touchpoint-level data, you can ensure that you know how to improve the individual interactions and resulting experiences that drive satisfaction and loyalty. By unifying all of your data in an Apteco CDP, you can take full advantage of this data and generate practical insights that you can put to use.
Once you’ve unified all of your customer data, you can turn it into a source of competitive advantage. By gathering data from multiple sources (such as transactional, website, behavioural, and mobile data), you can also generate a powerful understanding of each customer and how they interact with your business.
Without a thorough understanding of customer behaviour, you cannot improve customer experience. This is because this process begins by understanding each customer's individual journey and how they are moving between different touchpoints.
For this reason, you should use our software to perform a journey analysis. This can teach you more about the goals of your customers, where they encounter friction, and which touchpoints are causing churn. It can also show you:
- Which interactions have led to a purchase
- Which interactions and journeys provide the highest value for your business
- How customer journeys have changed over time
Once you’ve developed a keener understanding of your customers and how they interact with your brand, you can also deploy an omnichannel marketing approach. By harmonising your messaging in this way, you can ensure that each customer touchpoint is consistent and performing as intended.
With the help of our solutions, not only can you determine which touchpoints you should focus on, but you can also discover more about how customers interact and engage with your brand. Ultimately, this means that you can create an omnichannel approach that is tailor-made to them. From here, you can add Apteco Intelligence (AI) to your marketing campaigns and harness the full force your data provides.
To discover more about how our solutions can help you realise the value of your data and improve your brand touchpoints, book a personalised demo today.