Touch-points are defined as contact points that customers happen to get in touch during a transaction with an organization. It could be a sales transaction, placing a complaint, inquiring about a product, asking about warranty services, or any other transaction that an actual or potential customer may go through in dealing with an organization. In non-digital era when internet was not widely available, touch points were cared for through professional reps over phone, trained receptionists at the entrance, face-to-face customer services, and/or professionally arranged retail services that would take care of ensuring customer satisfaction. Since positive customer experience is heavily dependent on the quality of touch-point activities, a detail touch-point analysis and design have been essential for organizations to succeed in a competitive world.
In digital era with wide availability of internet, identifying and designing touch-points have become formidable tasks as ever. Even though the basics of touch-point analysis still stays the same, the proliferation of digital options has widened the horizon of touch-points in such a way that companies need to pay critical attention to this horizon for future success.
Technically, digital touch-points could be company web site(s), email communication, display advertising, paid search, customer complain handling via web, and/or social media handling for addressing customer issues etc. It is extremely important to maintain consistency and quality of experience for customers through these touch-points. Can Customers get the information they want through my website? Is the query-form loaded in the website capable enough to handle customer comments? How long does it take to open and address a complaint submitted through complaint handling page? Is my website updated and well-designed to give users the desired experience? Well, in many cases, companies can handle this part of digital touch-points very well. Then, the big question arises, what is the use of writing about it in this blog? Here comes the answer.
While taking care of digital touch-points, companies often forget the fact that digital touch-points are not self-sufficient by themselves. These touch-points are not an “island” to land on, rather a “bridge” to get to an island. Is my website capable of accepting one thousand complaints per day? Yes. Wonderful. We have a great digital capability. Now, does my back office have the infrastructure and human resource support to handle that many complaints per day? No. Oops. Is your server capable to handle two thousand emails per day? Yes, we have big servers. Great. Do you have enough trained people to answer that many emails? Well, we can answer in 15 working days! How pitiful.
Therefore, digital touch-points must be aligned with the physical infrastructure and human resources. “Delivery” of service would ultimately create positive experience in customers’ minds. Digital touch-points just help in achieving this end. Without this synchronization, installing a high capacity digital touch-point structure would be useless.