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Nov 17, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Why optimising individual touchpoints is a failing strategy?

Toni Laitila

Consultant, Strategy

bcr-building.jpgCustomer experience management is a multilayered process with a multitude of variables to consider. Here we’ll briefly introduce some of the key elements for a successful customer journey mapping exercise, starting from the basics: touchpoints.

Touchpoint is a point of interaction between a company brand and its customers. For example, an ad on Facebook or a salesperson calling a customer are both touchpoints. Mapping touchpoints aims to give an organisation and different functions an understanding of how and where their brand meets the customers.

A Channel on the other hand is the medium, be it a mobile app or a person, that interacts with the customer and creates the touchpoint. Finally, a customer journey is a chronological set of touchpoints that a customer goes through during their experience with a company.

Image: The difference between a touchpoint, a channel and a journey phase explained with an imaginary coffee shop customer journey example

Mapping customer touchpoints is a good start to understanding how you interact with your customers, but it’s not enough. One of the major problems with optimising individual touchpoints is that it doesn’t mean the whole journey is optimised. If everybody optimises their own part, or one team optimises touchpoints only from their own point of view, it will lead to an under-performing customer experience. In addition, touchpoint mapping seldom takes into consideration customer actions, fears and expectations nor the underlying internal processes and responsibilities.

Mapping experiences and customer journeys is becoming a buzzword among customer experience professionals. This is no wonder: according to a research study conducted by McKinsey & Company, in some industries the journey performance is 50-100% more strongly correlated with customer satisfaction than performance on touchpoints. And what’s more, performance on journeys correlated 20-30% more strongly with business results like high revenue, repeated purchase, positive word of mouth and recommendations.

Performance on journeys does show differences in companies’ customer experience success more clearly too: according to the same study, in one surveyed industry the gap between the top- and bottom-quartile companies on journey performance was 50% wider than the difference on touchpoint performance. Even if a company does well with touchpoints, it is the performance on journeys that reveals the most successful companies.

Business success and high performance in customer experience is about the cumulative experience. Investing money and man hours to improving touchpoints without a clear overall picture does not make sense in the current competitive business climate, where time and other resources are scarcer than ever. This is exactly why one should look at digital, physical, marketing and sales touchpoints together to see whether they are parts of the same journey.

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