Why focusing on touchpoints will leave your customer underwhelmed
The discipline of Customer Experience (CX) rightly looks at the big picture of customer desire and service interactions — it’s the when, where, how, what and why your organisation engages with your customer, and the overall outcome and effect achieved.
Measuring the effectiveness of your CX initiatives is vitally important, but if your CX analytics or optimisation program looks only at individual touchpoints — you’re missing the point. Reviewing isolated engagements can give you false or misleading customer insights and ultimately, be damaging your brand and costing you money.
It’s time to zoom out and understand how customer touchpoints work together — or not — in order to better understand your customer’s intent and deliver outcomes that exceed expectations.
The whole journey matters
An end-to-end customer journey includes all the steps a customer goes through to engage with your brand: from awareness, to interest and consideration, purchase, repeat purchase and advocacy.
Measuring the success of a single interaction or touchpoint can easily mislead your business into a false sense of customer satisfaction.
Let’s say one of your customers rated an experience with your customer service agent positively — perhaps they had a query which was easily resolved by a customer service agent over the phone and when polled, rated the phone call “helpful with the problem resolved”. Looking at this instance alone, what you may not know that the customer first tried, and failed, to find the information they were seeking on your website. They then sent a support email which was partially answered weeks later. So, after calling support and being transferred between teams several times, they were provided a call-back service. Yet the next customer service agent had no record of the previous communication so the problem had to be outlined all over again.
Yes, their primary issue was resolved well by the last customer service agent, but the overall experience left the customer feeling frustrated and undervalued. The scariest part about this example is, you may never knowthey felt this way. Quantitative metrics can measure the volume of tickets and the time taken to resolve customer support (once it a ticket is logged officially), but qualitative metrics are often collected at the point the customer issue is resolved, not throughout or during the end-to-end journey.
How then, can a business connect touchpoints to ensure more seamless experience, deliver customer satisfaction throughout the journey, while making the engagement more cost-effective?
Think like your customer
More than ever, customers want to feel like brands “get them”. This alignment of intent and outcome is what creates a positive emotional response between brand and customer. Not only does poor CX negative impact revenue, but positive CX amplifies a customer’s willingness to spend more with your organisation.
Putting yourself in your customers’ shoes is no longer a nice to have — it directly translates into revenue.
The Harvard Business Review found that:
For Transaction-based businesses: Customers with the best past experiences spend140% more than those with the poorest past experiences.
For Subscription-based businesses: Customers with the best past experiences have a 74% chance of remaining a member for at least another year; customers with the worst experiences have a 43% chance of being a member one year later. In fact, those who gave the highest CX scores were likely to remain members for another six years. There is a Correlation Between CX and Revenue Growth
Ask the right questions
Don’t assume you know what your customers want. Ask the right questions at appropriate times to ensure you’re delivering where it counts.
· First, find out how your customers want to receive information. Which are their preferred touchpoints and why? You may be using unwanted communication methods and wasting your resources.
· Are customers supported or confused by the information they’re receiving? Speak in a way your customers want to be spoken to. Be authentic and avoid industry jargon or in-house lingo. Keep information clear and concise to show you value their time and attention. Don’t forget to leverage the power of your community — support forums can extend your capabilities, help answer questions and create a community of influencers.
· Can your end-to-end customer journey be improved? Are shortcuts being missed? Are back-end processes making the customer journey complicated? By regularly mapping your customer’s journey from source to conclusion, you can better understand their drivers and connect with and satisfy their needs.
Upgrade your measurements
Instead of measuring customer satisfaction at individual touchpoints, look at the entire customer experience. If you don’t haven’t already done so, invest in mapping out your customer’s end-to-end journey against your desired or ideal journey.
Include polls in emails, website pages, phone calls and support interactions to collect a variety of feedback. While requesting and monitoring feedback, don’t limit monitoring to single experiences or data to closed-only responses as this can skew your perspective. Encourage customers to share their intent, report how many touchpoints they engaged within any interaction, and what they felt of the overall experience.
Establish a baseline of 3–6 months of CX data before you review what could be improved and look at customer segments to avoid over generalising your customers’ data.
Link it all together
We’re living in a multi-touchpoint world with a plethora of ways your customers can interact with your brand. Overlooking a critical channel in your customer’s preferred journey can impact the entire experience. Brands face significant challenges in the cost of connecting an expanding ecosystem, implementing effective technology and training employees and partners to create a consistently high-quality CX.
Linking touchpoints using technology is an effective way to create consistency and to scale operations. When implementing or evaluating new technologies to support your customers and operations, pay special attention to their integration and data sharing capabilities.
Bringing teams together in cross-functional delivery and project teams can help break down silos within your business, remove unnecessary processes and foster a high-performing customer-centric culture.
Once these dots are joined, you will more easily see where issues remain and can prioritise which to tackle first.
Brands that value the overall customer journey as opposed to prioritising the effectiveness of individual touchpoints foster loyal customers and improve retention, resulting in engaged customers who actively promote their brand. With customer experience now a key driver of revenue and growth, can you afford to ignore the big picture?