Customer Touchpoint Planning may be something you have heard about but in many SME businesses in New Zealand, this is a foreign phrase. Put simply, it is the process of identifying the different points that your customers interact with your brand or business, at which point in the customer journey they do so, then planning these interactions so your customers have the best possible experience with your brand or business, no matter how they interact with you, or at which point of the customer journey they are on. This may seem like a very complicated process – but it needn’t be.
Below, we define the key phrases to help you understand the ‘lingo’, and we also include a step-by-step guide to Customer Touchpoint Planning, including free, fully customisable templates available for you to download.
Touchpoints are any interaction, whether directly or indirectly, that might alter the way your customer experiences your brand or business, including your website, social media and direct advertising.
Maps/Mapping in its simplest form, this is identifying touchpoints specific to your business and making a list. Then, you can add them to a simple flowchart to identify where on the customer journey they are likely to interact with these touchpoints.
Customer Journey is the complete journey from finding your brand or business to finalising a purchase from your business, or having a service provided by your business.
It includes three key areas: Before (Pre-Purchase), During (Purchase), and After (Post-Purchase).
It seems absurd how many of us do not even realise that Customer Touchpoint Planning exists, let alone include it as an essential part of our marketing plan!
It is so important that every interaction a past, potential, or current customer has with your brand or business is a positive one. If just one interaction they have with you is negative, such as slow delivery, it will taint their entire journey with your brand or business, risking the extinction of other touchpoints such as positive reviews, or word of mouth referrals.
The first thing you need to do is identify your touchpoints. Start by thinking about possible ways a customer could interact with your brand or business via mobile, web, print, marketing, products, people, and other services, as in the image, above.
Then, you can then list all touchpoints within these categories by considering what a customer can access using something in that category. See the table, below, which shows each category and some of the possible different touchpoints within each category, e.g., the category ‘mobile’ can include touchpoints including apps, internet browser, telephone, or SMS.
Customer Touchpoint Planning: Table 1 – Our Touchpoints
and use in your planning by clicking the button, below:
Once you identify a few touchpoints you will find it much easier to identify further touchpoints specific to your brand or business and add them to the list.
You can do this within our downloadable template, or however best suits your business and brainstorming style, from the very basic Post-It notes flowchart on your whiteboard, to using specialised Customer Journey Mapping software.
You need to think like a customer for this process to see how they experience your business at every step of their journey, from before purchase to after purchase.
Ask yourself, what does the customer experience, via what channel? Can this experience be improved, and how?
The movie The Intern with Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro gives a great example where Jules (Hathaway), the CEO of an online fashion retailer, places an order herself to experience what the customer experiences and she is not impressed by it. This is what you should consider when identifying and analysing your customer touch points (interactions) and experiences with your brand and business.
This process can seem quite complicated without being broken down into a simple step-by-step guide, especially if you have never heard of Customer Touchpoint Planning before reading this blog, and especially for those of you with trade or service businesses, as the majority of information online is for retail businesses. So, we have created a customisable list to guide you through this process.
The list includes:
You can download the full list by clicking the button, below:
We have also created a customisable template to note your results for each step in the list, which includes a couple of example pages to illustrate what you should be considering, and the data you should gather. This template will help you collate your data during this process, which you can then use as-is as a table, or use it to create maps.
You can download the template by clicking the button, below:
This is the advanced area of Customer Touchpoint planning where you create flowcharts to map out the different customer journeys for your brand or business.
There are a few ways you can create these maps, manually via Post-It’s on a whiteboard, using an online flow chart creation tool, or using a programme you already have available via Microsoft or other subscriptions, e.g. Microsoft Visio. You can also use customised software which can create the maps for you, such as Smaply or Zoho CRM.
Using Customer Journey Maps help you to visualise all the different ways in which customers are finding, accessing, and using the different touchpoints you have.
The process of Customer Touchpoint Planning is:
Remember our free Customer Touchpoint Planning downloads!
We have covered a lot in this month’s blog, and touchpoint planning clearly is not a simple nor quick process. However, we have researched and found some excellent free resources to help you get started, and listed these with links to the original source, below.
Spectrio – Retail Customer Experience Audit Worksheet
(Note: This is for retail stores but can be amended to suit your business. If you need help with this, feel free to contact me)
Spectrio – Editorial Calendar Template 2021
Planning your marketing is a must, and this editorial calendar template from Spectrio is a great resource to get you started.
HubSpot – Customer Journey Map Templates
A great way to keep track of your customer relationships and interactions is to use a combined CRM and CIT tool, like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, or HubSpot. All vary with their capabilities and cost, so if you are a small business, try to find one that suits your needs and offers a free trial before purchase. You can also try using Google Forms and Sheets if you’re looking for a free, but very basic, system.
Staylisted – How To Track Customers [and Customer Interactions] Using Google Forms and Sheets
This is a free alternative for small businesses to using a CRM and/or CIT programme.
Note: Customer Touchpoint Planning information is scarce in New Zealand, so most of the free resources and information listed above came from companies in the United States.
If you, or anyone you know, needs advice, or help with your
Customer Touchpoint Planning, get in touch with me today and
book a free, 90-minute, no obligation consultation.
If you have any questions, queries, or comments about this month’s content,
feel free to get in touch with me via telephone 027 447 7577, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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