Of course you know your direct sales channels. But what about points of contact that used to be in the B2B buying process? Do you have a strategy to attract enough traffic and convert the leads you have gained into profitable sales? We are going to show you how to find the most important touchpoints of your customer journey.
In the age of digital marketing and multi-channel sales, companies are in contact with their customers in more places than ever before in economic history.
But the ability to connect with customers through so many channels is both a curse and a blessing. While the many points of contact along the customer journey should be used to persuade customers to buy products, it can also lead to customers being lost to the company before they buy.
This multitude of touch points along the customer journey represents a special challenge for many companies. B2B companies in particular run the risk of losing sight of important touchpoints, as the customer journey often takes longer than in comparison to B2C.
What are touch points again?
Customer touchpoints (usually only called touchpoints in the short form) are all situations in which a customer comes into contact with a company or brand. These touchpoints between company and customer exist before, during and after the purchase of a product or service.
On the customer journey, i.e. the customer's journey from initial contact to purchase and use of a product or service, there may be a varying number of customer touchpoints at all stages. The number of these touchpoints between company and customer depends both on the size of the company and the complexity of the product or service that a customer is looking for or comes into contact with.
Touchpoints occur both online and offline. They can take various forms, such as interactive (e.g. a website), static (e.g. an advertising brochure) or human (e.g. a salesperson).
Companies should always keep in mind that at every touchpoint the customer journey will leave an impression on the customer, whether it is visiting the company website, reading a product comparison or visiting a store.
These impressions can be of a cognitive and emotional nature. The cognitive aspect refers to the information that the customer learns about the company, its brand and its products at the point of contact. The emotional aspect, on the other hand, refers to the feelings the customer experiences at the moment of contact. In technical jargon, this emotional aspect is called brand experience.
Customer touch points are so important for companies because they always leave an impression on the customer. This impression can be positive or negative.
Especially with B2B customer journey touchpoints the challenge is to offer the customer a positive and coherent experience over a long period of time.
Do you know your Touchpoints?
As already mentioned in the introduction, it is absolutely critical for the success of any company to know the various touchpoints through which contact with a potential customer can take place.
They should know and understand which channels their future customers will use, be inspired, inform themselves about and compare products, form an opinion and make their purchase decision.
Companies that know the touchpoints of their customer journeys can use their knowledge in a targeted way to direct their customers into the right channels and ultimately turn them into paying and returning customers.
On the other hand, companies that do not have an overview of their customer touchpoints will find it much more difficult to guide their customers and make them successful paying customers. Typically, such companies will lose their customers somewhere between the touchpoints on the customer journey.
How to find and design your touchpoints
In order to create a coherent customer journey, all possible touchpoints must be defined and evaluated. This is the only way to decide which ones have the highest chance of success and which channels you should focus on.
This is the only way to actively shape the customer experience and to lose as few customers as possible between the individual touchpoints. Incidentally, when identifying customer touch points, companies should ensure that both online and offline touch points are fully considered.
The touchpoints of your customer journey can be divided into three phases: Before the purchase, during the purchase and after the purchase. The following shows which touchpoints can be considered.
Touchpoints before purchase
Before a purchase is concluded, a customer passes through countless touch points. In a first step, the customer notices that he has a certain need. Either he notices this himself or he is made aware of it via online & offline advertising or an exciting article.
In order to satisfy his need, he turns to information sources known to him such as Google, social media channels or the advice of acquaintances. His search usually focuses on his needs and not on a specific product or brand.
Typical touchpoints for this phase would be search engines, instructional videos, blogs, forums as well as price comparison and evaluation portals.
In the phase before the purchase it is therefore particularly important to be present on the channels relevant to the target group.
Touchpoints during the purchase
Most companies offer their customers the possibility to buy their products and services through various channels.
Possible points of contact during the purchase process can be the website, a retail store, an outlet store, a catalogue, a TV shopping channel, a trade fair, telephone sales or the sales field service.
Touchpoints after purchase
Many companies make the mistake of neglecting their customers after a successfully completed sale. However, it is precisely the touch points after the sale that are crucial to ensuring that the customer has a lasting good memory of the company and returns to it for the next purchase.
An intelligent after-sales strategy turns (one-off) customers into not only returning customers, but also loyal brand ambassadors who advertise the company and its products free of charge. Investments in the care of existing customers are therefore always also investments in the acquisition of new customers.
These touchpoints of the Customer Journey can take many different forms. These include customer service or support channels, e-mails with newsletters or discount offers, as well as surveys and feedback.
Keep your touchpoints at a glance
The identification and analysis of all points of contact that a company has with its customers is a basic prerequisite for making marketing and sales customer-oriented.
Only through a complete understanding of the customer journey and all associated touchpoints can a company ensure that it can successfully accompany its customers throughout their journey.
In many companies, the analysis of touchpoints reveals the weak points in customer journey management. Companies should use this potential to steer customers in the right direction at the various touchpoints and turn them into paying and returning customers and loyal brand ambassadors.