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What Are Customer Touchpoints and How to Identify Them?

a hand is holding a cell phone that says shop on it .

Today, consumers expect businesses to provide a seamless customer journey from the moment they first interact with a brand. In fact, 84% of consumers believe that the experience a company provides is just as important as its offerings.

In other words, getting prospects to purchase from you takes more than an excellent product. That’s why optimizing your customer touchpoints is more important than ever, ensuring that they pave the way for a frictionless journey for your prospects.

But what exactly should you do to ensure you hit the mark with each touchpoint? To refine your efforts, we’ve outlined the significance of customer touchpoints, how to identify them, and the key touchpoints essential for any successful sales process.

What are customer touchpoints?

Let’s start with customer touchpoints’ definition. Customer touchpoints are interactions between a business and a customer throughout the customer’s journey. Identifying key customer touchpoints helps companies determine opportunities to improve their customers’ journey.

Touchpoints affect your customers’ experience and their perception of your brand. When you provide a smooth journey from discovering your business until they buy from you and reach out to you after purchase, they’ll remember you as a helpful and reliable company.

Customer touchpoints are usually documented chronologically in a customer journey map. Doing so helps marketing, sales, and customer service teams identify what stops prospects and customers from proceeding with their journey.

Do your ads’ landing pages take too long to load? Are customer service representatives available to chat or talk when customers have post-sales questions? Businesses can eliminate or optimize the journey by identifying touchpoints with friction (such as a page load issue or unavailable customer support).

Why are customer touchpoints important?

Have you ever canceled your plans to purchase from a business because of a less-than-satisfactory experience? You’re not alone, with 73% of buyers saying customer experience is a critical factor in their purchasing decisions.

Identifying customer touchpoints pushing prospects away from your brand can help you determine which ones to optimize or remove altogether. As a result, you can improve your business’s customer satisfaction. Here are other reasons customer touchpoints are essential:

  • Increased customer retention: Satisfied customers will likely purchase from your business again. And we all know that retaining customers is less costly than acquiring new ones.
  • Brand loyalty: With happy customers turning to your business every time they need your products or services, you are building a loyal customer base that will refer and promote your company.
  • Better post-sales support: An optimized customer journey enables businesses to address post-sales inquiries better and resolve tickets quickly.

20 examples of customer touchpoints

If you’re a business-to-business (B2B) company, your customer touchpoints differ from those of an online retailer. That’s because different businesses have different customer touchpoints.

Read on to learn more about 20 common examples of customer touchpoints, categorized by when they occur in the customer journey—before, during, or after a purchase. They are summarized in the table below.

Before a purchaseDuring a purchaseAfter a purchaseContinuing the relationship
Social mediaConversation with a sales representativeThank-you or welcome emailsCustomer support channels
Digital adsProduct brochuresBillingCustomer onboarding
Online contentProduct reviewsFeedback surveysCustomer success program
Family or friend referralWebsite or ecommerce siteUpselling or cross-selling emailsCustomer loyalty programs
EventsPoint of saleSubscription renewalsSelf-service resources

Customer touchpoints before a purchase

Your first opportunity to create a connection with your buyer is during their initial contact. The initial customer touchpoints typically happen before prospects visit your website or store.

It’s important to realize that in most cases, now is not the time to make a pitch. The buyer has simply shown interest, so it’s your job to figure out what exactly they’re looking for and how you can help.

These touchpoints happen in channels where customers find you, including:

1. Social media

Did you know that social media is a source of product purchase advice for 80% of users? A cost-effective way to reach your audience, social media is a customer touchpoint before, during, and after a purchase, but it is typically a strategy to gain new prospects.

To execute an effective social media strategy, ensure your business is on the platform your customers use most often. Use social media to nurture relationships with your audience and build a community of customers. You can promote your products, services, and special offers.

2. Digital ads

Have you ever noticed the ads on search engine results pages (SERPs)? Or how about the display ads at the top of a webpage?

These are digital ads that serve as initial customer touchpoints. They can attract searchers or site visitors to click on the ad and visit a landing page. If your ad features a special offer, ensure it leads to a landing page with all the details they’d expect from the ad.

online ad touchpoint for organic cat food

3. Online content

This blog post you’re reading is an example of online content, which is any material that your business publishes on your site. Other formats include:

  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies
  • Infographics
  • Short- or long-form videos
  • Podcasts

Publish helpful content that your customers seek. When done right, online content helps establish a brand’s credibility and build trust among your prospects.

4. Family or friend referral

Ever wonder what customers say when they talk about your brand with their family, friends, or colleagues? When they share a positive experience and refer others to your business, your new prospects are four times more likely to buy. That’s why it makes sense to invest in word-of-mouth marketing, which boosts your business’s trustworthiness.

5. Face-to-face events

Events and pop-up displays are a great way to introduce your business to potential customers who may not have been aware of your brand. Conferences and trade shows related to your industry are excellent places to start.

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Customer touchpoints during a purchase

Once the buyer understands how your solution can address their pain points, they advance to the mid-to-late stages of your sales funnel, where they’ll likely be evaluating your solution against similar options.

So what can you do to persuade them to choose your company? What further information does the buyer need in order to make a decision?

6. Conversation with a sales representative

After an initial online touchpoint, a prospect is convinced to walk into your brick-and-mortar store, and the first person they meet is your sales representative. When your sales rep provides the same frictionless experience as they had online, your prospect will likely proceed with their purchase.

7. Product brochures

Brochures are helpful tools for customers to learn more about a business’s product line. They usually contain images and product descriptions. They come in digital formats or hard copies.

Ensure this customer touchpoint assists your prospects during their purchase by providing helpful information. If it’s an online brochure, add a call-to-action that lets site visitors add the product to their cart.

8. Product reviews

Consumers used to do their research about business and product reviews well in advance of a purchase. Today, though, consumers can pull up their phones to do that research in the span of five minutes while they’re shopping in-store. Ecommerce sites now feature product listings with ratings and reviews.

product review touchpoint on Amazon

9. Ecommerce site or website

Another digital customer touchpoint during a purchase, ecommerce sites and websites let brands reach customers from anywhere in the world. Make sure your pages provide the information that your audience needs. Provide product descriptions, images, and videos to enhance the customer experience while they’re on your website.

Mind your site’s page load speed so your prospects don’t bounce off your site.

10. Point of sale

At this touchpoint, your sales representative is at the final stage of convincing your prospect that your product or service is what they need.  Make this interaction count by providing the necessary information that your customer needs.

If the point of sale happens online, ensure the page provides easy-to-digest information for your customers.

Customer touchpoints after a purchase

The buyer has decided to go with your company and has purchased your solution. Congratulations! You’ve won the sale. However, that doesn’t mean your sales process is over and that it’s time to move onto the next qualified lead. Make sure customer touchpoints after purchase are still as pleasant as before they were paying customers.

11. Thank-you or welcome emails or notes

Build rapport with your customers—old and new—by providing a thank-you or welcome email. Show your customers that you care about them and appreciate their trust. You can even leave your customer support contact details in the note so they know how to reach you when they have any questions or problems.

12. Billing

While billing may not directly influence your customer’s purchase decision, it is still a vital touchpoint in the customer journey. A negative experience during billing, especially for B2B businesses, may result in your customers leaving.

13. Feedback surveys

Do you want to know what customers think about your product or service? Feedback surveys are customer touchpoints that let you discover whether your business helped them address their pain points.

When a customer leaves a negative review, reach out to learn more about their issue. This can help you improve your product and your sales process.

14. Upselling or cross-selling emails

When customers buy a product from you, they may find that they need other tools to help them get the most from their purchase. Use this opportunity to upsell or cross-sell other helpful products to your customers.

Cross-sell email touchpoint from Amazon

15. Subscription renewals

For businesses with subscription models, renewals are key to revenue. It’s essential for customers to renew their subscriptions for sustained growth. Simplify the renewal process to make it effortless for customers to continue their subscriptions.

Continuing the relationship

The final customer relationship management touchpoint is continuing your relationship going forward. One of the biggest reasons customers leave is because they believe the company doesn’t care about them.

So what can you do in the days, weeks, months, and years after purchase to ensure you keep the buyer happy?

16. Customer support channels

Let your customers contact you when they need your help through chat, email, phone, or social media.

Want to take it a step further? Omnichannel support enables you to provide a seamless experience at this customer touchpoint. If they initially called your customer hotline, but your support team needs screenshots, they can jump into a chat or email without starting with a new service ticket.

17. Customer onboarding

Create a comprehensive client onboarding process to ensure customers understand how to use your product effectively. Effective onboarding reduces the risk of customer abandonment and increases satisfaction. Provide tutorials, guides, and personalized support during the onboarding phase to address any questions or concerns.

18. Customer success program

Proactively address customer concerns and offer solutions through a dedicated customer success program. This demonstrates a commitment to customer success and strengthens the relationship over time. Customer success managers can identify potential issues and reach out to customers to provide assistance, ensuring they achieve their goals with your product or service.

19. Customer loyalty programs

Implement customer loyalty programs to incentivize repeat business. Reward loyal customers with exclusive benefits, discounts, or early access to new products to encourage continued engagement. By recognizing and rewarding customer loyalty, you can increase retention rates and turn satisfied customers into brand advocates.

20. Self-service resources

Provide self-service resources, such as a help center or knowledge base, to empower customers to find solutions independently. This reduces dependency on support teams and enhances the overall customer experience. Ensure your self-service resources are comprehensive and easy to navigate, allowing customers to access information and troubleshoot common issues on their own quickly.

How to identify your customer touchpoints

Now that you know the different examples of customer touchpoints, it’s time to identify yours.

1. Know your customers and their needs

Identify the different types of customers you have by collating information from your market research and customer surveys. Create buyer personas from them, and identify their various needs.

Based on your different buyer personas, what are the best initial touchpoints for them? For example, let’s say you provide interior design services, and most of your customers have found you via search.

Your initial customer touchpoints are search ads and online content. Optimizing these touchpoints is a good idea to make a good impression on your prospects. 

2. Review how customers interact with your business

If you already have customer touchpoints in place, identify the ones your customers use regularly. Do they interact with your business more through social media or your website? You can also ask your customers where they prefer to engage with your brand through surveys.

3. Map out your customer journey and customer experience

Now that you’ve identified your existing customer touchpoints, map out your customer journey.

How does a buyer persona identify their problem, research a solution, and find your business? Map out how they first interact with your business, purchase from you, and engage with you afterwards.

Customer experience matters at every touchpoint. That’s why it’s crucial to map out the customer experience to find their pain points throughout their journey.

4. Get feedback from your customers through surveys

Are your customers satisfied enough with your product and service that they’ll recommend your business to their family and friends? You can find out by running a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey.

An NPS survey examines your customer’s satisfaction and asks them if they’re likely to recommend your business. If they’re not satisfied at any point during their engagement with your company, address the friction.

You can also run other surveys throughout your customer’s journey to determine which touchpoints need to be optimized.

5. Regularly review your customer touchpoints and customer journey map

Optimizing your customer touchpoints isn’t a one-and-done activity. Review them regularly and update your customer touchpoints file whenever you have new marketing campaigns or customer paths.

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How to optimize your customer touchpoints and journey

Once you’ve mapped out your customer touchpoints, you can use this information to optimize your customer journey, resulting in improved customer satisfaction and business growth. Here’s how you can use your customer touchpoints to achieve these goals.

Use feedback to enhance the customer experience

Identifying customer touchpoints and mapping out the customer journey gives you insight into which elements of your touchpoints customers liked and which may need improvement. 

To identify areas for improvement, you can use feedback from surveys, questions customers asked your sales or support team, and data about when leads dropped out of the journey.

Discover new opportunities

Identifying your customer touchpoints may also help you identify new opportunities for interacting with prospects or increasing sales. 

For example, a customer may identify an outreach channel you’re not yet using through a survey. You could also discover an upsell opportunity you weren’t aware of through the pages a customer viewed on your website.

Prioritize your touchpoints

When you determine which touchpoints are most popular with your customers and which most often lead to a sale, you know which touchpoints to prioritize. You can then allocate the right amount of time and resources to each communication channel based on their value to your business and customers.

Integrate omnichannel communication

Omnichannel communication seamlessly integrates customer interactions across various channels, including websites, mobile apps, social media, SMS, and more. The objective is to provide a unified and frictionless experience for customers, regardless of the channel they choose. For example, if a customer reaches out to a support hotline, their inquiry should seamlessly transition to other channels if needed, without any disruption in communication.

Test and iterate touchpoints for improvement

Continuous testing and iteration are essential for optimizing touchpoints. A/B testing allows you to experiment with different messaging, design elements, and strategies to determine what resonates best with your customers. Given that customer preferences and trends are constantly evolving, ongoing testing enables you to stay ahead of the curve and adapt your touchpoints accordingly.

Align touchpoints with brand messaging and values

Brand alignment entails ensuring consistency across all touchpoints in terms of visual elements, messaging, and overall identity. Curating a cohesive and authentic experience that reflects your brand’s core values and resonates with your target audience is essential. Whether a customer interacts with your brand through a website, social media, or in person, they should encounter a consistent brand image that reinforces trust and loyalty.

Identify and optimize your customer touchpoints with Nutshell

Optimizing your customer touchpoints is an essential activity if you want to increase customer satisfaction and retention. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Nutshell can help you identify which interactions lead your prospects to purchase.

Our CRM comes equipped with a variety of features for optimizing customer touchpoints. You can categorize customer data and even generate in-depth reports to find out how to optimize your sales pipeline.

Want to try out Nutshell for yourself? Just check out our 14-day free trial!

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