Dancing with Disruption Newsletter: April 2017

The Power of Customer Touchpoints
Are you Inadvertently Creating Disloyal Customers?
Shane Cragun

Whether consciously or not, every time your customer brushes up against your organization they are giving you a rating. Truth be told, customers are rating you on every interaction they have with you. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your monthly customer satisfaction reports are telling you the entire story of how your customers feel about you.

Monitoring customer touchpoints can actually give you a better read on customer satisfaction, customer engagement, and customer loyalty scores. Note that customer touchpoints might not even be human-to-human interactions. They can simply be the feeling they get when they see your ad in a mailing they receive, or when they are operating your product.

The power of compelling customer touchpoints can be enormous. But they are often unmeasured.

Here’s an example of compelling customer touchpoints and how they drove the authors feelings of loyalty to the Apple brand. This happened during a visit to our local Apple store when we needed to purchase a power cord for our laptop.

We walked into the Apple store and the first thing we noticed was that the “yellow-shirted” people (employees) actually outnumbered the customers in the store. Being pressed for time, this was very cool (Touchpoint 1).

We immediately met two Apple employees holding iPhones. One greeted us and asked how they could help. We told him what we needed, and he immediately said, “follow me” (Touchpoint 2).

We followed this enthusiastic associate to the back of the store, where he selected our power cord, gave it to us, and pulled out his iPhone. He then asked, “What is your name?” He inputted our name, found our information, and asked, “Would you like this on the credit card we have on file?” We said yes. He then asked, “Would you like a hard-copy receipt, or would you like one sent to your email that we have on file?” We told him email was best. He then said, “Thanks…have a great day!” (Touchpoint 3).

We stood there speechless wondering what had just happened. The entire experience lasted no more than two minutes. And, by the way, where was the checkout line? And why didn’t the Apple employee ask to see our credit card, the signature on the back, and the three-digit code? How come he didn’t put our product in a bag? What happened to the little white receipt? Apparently, all non-value added touchpoint work was jettisoned.

It was a brilliant experience. Despite paying premium prices, our loyalty for Apple products and the Apple brand skyrocketed.

Do you think those Apple touchpoints were random? Think again. They were designed to happen that way.

Regarding the customer experience, Apple has a passionate point of view - why engage the customer in unnecessary activities when the core goal is to create unparalleled customer experiences that emphasize 1) a hassle free experience; at 2) lightning speeds; and 3) delivered by enthusiastic and helpful employees. Apple simply designs customer touchpoints in a way that delivers on this three-pronged promise.

Customer touchpoints can also be called moments of truth. Why? Whether you like it or not, customer’s leave with a renewed perception of the organization, with two outcomes being the result: increased customer loyalty or decreased customer loyalty. The Age of Disruption hates the status quo and rarely allows it to stick around. Customers simply have too many options today.

Is your current customer experience random and something that has evolved subconsciously over time? Or have you proactively designed the customer experience to influence customer loyalty with clear and compelling customer touchpoints?

When designing your touchpoints, start by simply asking the following question for each touchpoint: “what do we want our customer to know, feel, or do at this touchpoint?”

When it comes to something as important as the customer experience, and customer touchpoints, avoid random, and, like Apple, choose design.

Published in April Edition of BPA Quality