A customer touch point is any direct or indirect contact a customer has with a brand. Customer touch points can occur within and outside of a brand’s control and may happen before, during or after the purchase of a brand’s product or service.
The interaction between customer and the brand may be indirect, such as reading reviews, or direct, such as shopping in a retailer’s store. During the customer journey, every customer touch point has the potential to alter perceptions and brand loyalty.
Customer touch points can occur under the control of the customer, under the control of the brand and under the control of neither customer nor brand. Examples of customer touch points include:
- Visiting a retail store (customer control)
- A commercial from the retail store that reaches the customer via a television broadcast (brand control)
- A social media complaint that exposes the customer to the brand (neither brand nor customer control)
How to identify your customer touch points
While customers play a role in each touch point, brands can improve their customer experience by documenting and understanding customer touch points. To accomplish this, brands can interview customers to learn about their pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase experiences.
In addition, brands can place employees in the role of customers to experience the touch points directly. For example, a brand can send an employee to shop at the brand’s own stores. By understanding and experiencing the touch points experienced by customers, brands can identify areas for improvement, which can lead to happier customers and higher customer satisfaction.
Brands can be challenged by the customer touch points they’re not aware of. For example, a customer can tell his neighbor about the poor service experienced at a retail store. This negative feedback is a customer touch point that the retailer will never see.
Brands that embrace open feedback with customers can be more in tune with feedback like the private complaint. In addition, brands that optimize the customer touch points they do control are more likely to positively impact those they don’t.
Importance of customer touch points
Customer touch points contribute to brand perception and customer loyalty. Customer touch points have a direct role in quantitative measures such as Net Promoter Score (NPS). Brands that understand and optimize the quality of their customer touch points can gain more loyal customers and higher Net Promoter Scores.