Customer "Touch-Points" as Marketing Opportunities

Published: 23rd February 2011
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The average customer interacts with a company on multiple fronts. It could be the moment they are face to face with the clerk at the cash register, make a call to the technical support staff, or take the item they purchased out of the box. These interactions are called touch points, and being able to identify them is critical to your marketing strategy. Because they impact how consumers perceive your business, taking control of them is extremely important. This article will discuss some of the most common customer touch points, and how you can optimize the experience for the consumer.

Pre-Sale

There are a number of touch points the consumer may encounter before purchasing a product or service from your business. Perhaps it's your website. Maybe a search advertisement you took out on AdWords, or word of mouth that spreads through the online communities or an opt in email marketing campaign. Do not overlook the importance of these interactions. These touch points are essential and should be designed to mold the consumer's perception and expectations they have of your brand. The objective here is driving awareness through the touch points that will have the then potential customer thinking about you when they decide its time to do business.

Sale

When a consumer leaves the pre-sale stage, they move into various touch points of the sales arena. These touch points may involve paying a visit to your store, contacting the customer service agent for more information, or actually making a purchase. Optimizing these interactions involves demonstrating the value of your offerings and the brand itself to give the customer the reassurance that they have indeed made, or are about to make the right decision. With these touch points, it is vital to demonstrate your unique selling proposition, the reason why choosing you over the competition is the best option.

Post-Sale

Post-sale touch points become a factor after the customer makes a purchase. Capitalizing on these interactions is essential to maintaining customer retention. The good thing here is that you have great control of these interactions and can use them to enhance the experience. Some examples would be creating a loyalty program, targeting the customer based on their recent purchase, simply delivering stellar follow-up service. With these touch points, your mission is to accomplish three specific goals: maintain a high level of satisfaction, strengthen relationships with your audience, and foster loyalty. For many businesses, this is the most important, and sometimes difficult stage to manage.

In Conclusion

Customer touch points are represented by the interactions that occur from pre-sale to the buying stage and beyond. While not all touch points have the same level of importance, they all play a key role in creating the customer experience. Identifying them is critical to understanding your business, and being in the position to control the interactions with your audience. Your ability to manage them could be the difference between whether your brand is viewed in a positive, or negative light.

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