How to Use Touchpoint Mapping to Improve Customer Experiences

34ways_long1 digital-mktI came across this article by my colleagues at Spectrio and wanted to share it with you. As a brand, you should have influence over each interaction a customer has with your business. You should consider every possible situation that could bring your customer into contact with your brand and design that scenario to deliver a positive experience. And for that, there is touchpoint mapping.

Before we look at touchpoint mapping, we need to look at what a customer touchpoint is.

A customer touchpoint is any interaction between your business and a customer. It includes any interaction before, during, or after a customer purchases something from you.

A customer touchpoint happens through personal interactions and marketing channels. The interaction may be direct where you control the experience (such as a delivering a marketing message or ad campaign). Or, it could be indirect and you don’t have control over the experience (such as a word-of-mouth review of your business).

While you may not have complete control over every customer touchpoint, as a business owner, you still want to do your best to influence each situation. The best way to develop a plan to manage these interactions is through touchpoint mapping.

What Is Touchpoint Mapping? 

Touchpoint mapping is the act of outlining each interaction that a customer could have with your brand. It looks at each step of the buyer’s journey and identifies the places where customers come in contact with or experience your brand.

Touchpoint mapping is important because it allows your brand to visualize and improve every experience a customer has with your business.

Because no customer buyer’s journey is exactly the same, each brand will have multiple variations of touchpoint maps. To create your maps, consider all of the possible ways people experience your brand and use the following process.

How to Start Touchpoint Mapping 

Now that you know what customer touchpoints and touchpoint mapping are, it’s time to implement a strategy for using this marketing method.

1. Identify Each Customer Touchpoint 

To start touchpoint mapping, begin by identifying each interaction that your business has with your customers. It helps to look at the experiences in categories: before purchase, during purchase, and after purchase.

While some of the touchpoints may overlap, this categorization can help you visualize and identify each potential interaction. Touchpoints marketing and advertising may include the following:

Before Purchase

  • Website
  • Reviews / Testimonials
  • Directory Listings
  • On-hold Messaging
  • Auto-Attendants and IVRs
  • Advertisements and Promotions
  • Store Locations
  • In-store Advertising
  • Word of Mouth
  • In-store Events
  • Digital Menu Boards
  • Content Marketing

During Purchase

  • Website (Ecommerce Section)
  • Showroom Design
  • Product Demo Videos
  • Staff/Employee Engagement
  • Overhead Music and Messaging
  • Checkout Kiosks / Point of Sale Systems
  • Checkout Lines

After Purchase

  • Order Fulfillment
  • Thank You Cards
  • Customer / User Portals
  • Billing / Invoices
  • Packaging
  • Rebates
  • Follow Up Emails
  • Online Help Center
  • Education / Follow-up Resources
  • Customer Service Phone Lines
  • Questionnaires / Surveys

2. Map the Touchpoints

Once you have identified the places where your customers interact with your brand, begin to place these experiences in chronological order.

As you go through touchpoint mapping, consider the steps that lead your customers through the purchasing process. Use the phases of a retail buyer’s journey to guide your outline.

  • Step One — Making Customers Aware of Your Brand: The customer is becoming familiar with you brand and products.
  • Step Two — Getting Customers Through the Door: The customer is familiar with your brand and is planning a visit to your physical store.
  • Step Three — Initiating Sales: The customer is in your store and is working through their purchasing process.
  • Step Four — Getting Customers to Come Back: The customer has made a purchase and is considering coming back and purchasing from you again.   

Don’t create just one buyer’s journey that goes through this process. Create at least 4-5 different types of customer maps to consider all of the different experiences your customers may have.

3. Improve Each Customer Touchpoint 

Once you identify each possible customer touchpoint, the next step is working to improve the interaction. You need to look at how you can provide the best possible experience for the customer at that moment.

As you attempt to improve your customer touchpoints, focus on making your brand experiences:

  • Simple: The experience should be easy for the customer to understand and interact with.
  • Appropriate: The experience should fit the context of its channel and interests of your target audience.
  • Relevant: The experience should match what the customer would expect and need to find during that phase of the buyer’s journey.
  • Meaningful: The experience should provide significant and useful value for the customer.
  • Appealing: The experience should tap into the cravings of the customer and give them the things they desire.

Look at each touchpoint and ensure that it has the qualifications of an exceptional and useful customer experience.

4. Set a Schedule for Reviewing

Touchpoints for marketing and advertising don’t end once you create and implement your new strategy. Marketing channels and your operational processes will continue to evolve and change. So, your customer mapping must do the same.

A customer touchpoint map is a work in progress. You will need to continue to revise and update the touchpoint map as new purchasing paths are created and new marketing platforms are introduced.

To effectively use touchpoint mapping as a way to create better customer experiences, you need to make it a continual priority. It will likely fail to produce results if you approach it as a one-time strategy. So put in the up-front work, and then set a plan to execute and continue to refine your touchpoint mapping to get the best benefits and results.

Audit Your Customer Touchpoints Right Now

If you want to start improving your touchpoint mapping right now — start by doing an audit of your current customer touchpoints. Use the free customer experience retail audit worksheet from Spectrio to conduct a review of the major touchpoints that customers experience inside and outside of your store.

 

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The Best Times to Post on Social Media Platforms

 As marketers we rely on social media platforms to distribute content and promote our brands. Social media is very effective. And, to make it even more effective, we can stack the odds in our favor by making sure we use the different platforms to their fullest capacity. One way we can do this is by being conscious of the timing of our posts on the different platforms. Some times work better than others. When it comes to figuring out which times work best for your brand, there is no concrete rule.

Each business is different – certain days and times will work better for some than for others. The key is to consider the platform and how your prospects interact with it. Also keep in mind time zones – maybe the majority of your prospects are in a different time zone than you are. If so, you’ll want to post at a time that’s optimum for your prospects’ time zone.

This said, I did discover a great infographic that looked at data from over a dozen studies to create an effective go-to sheet for the best posting times on the different social media platforms. Consult it before you make your next post.


How Custom On Hold Messages Help Your Business

34ways_long1 In today’s advanced technology era, it’s easy to forget about technology that’s been around for many years. On hold messaging is one of those. But, customers still value and use the phone. Even with multiple options for communication, customers are still using the phone to connect with businesses when they need them. Spectrio is one of the nation’s leading end-to-end technology-enabled audio and video marketing companies. Here’s what they report about the importance of on hold messaging.

  • 61% of customers prefer phone over e-mail and online knowledge when they need assistance or support. 
  • 69% of customers rated voice as the method that provided the highest satisfaction for receiving support.

A bad calling experience can cause customers to hang up. Most marketing budgets are spent on getting customers to call. All of that marketing can go to waste if the customer calling experience is bad.

  • 60% of callers hang up when left on hold in silence.
  • 34% of callers who hang up don’t call back.

The messages that customers hear on hold can lead to sales. Hold messaging is an opportunity to connect with a highly engaged audience, which is why it can lead naturally into sales, up-sales, and cross-sales.

  • 16-20% of callers make purchases based on the information they hear on hold.
  • 45% of customers initiated a purchase over the phone in the last year.

What Makes Great Custom On Hold Messages?

To get the most out of custom on hold messages, the content must follow best practices. The best messages use the:

Correct Length. A hold message can frustrate if it includes the same message repeated over and over. You want your message to be long enough so that callers hear new information during their wait.

Correct Tone. Like all important customer touch points, the custom calling experience must accurately reflect your company vibe and values. It should reinforce brand consistency, match what is expected in your industry, and also use the language and tone that resonates best with your specific target audience.

Correct Messages. In order to use custom on hold messages to initiate sales, inform customers, promote specials, and keep callers on the line, you need to use the right language and copy. The script must speak directly to your target audience while delivering the most important messages in a salesy, friendly, and concise way.

This list is a basic look at the elements that make an effective hold message. Each of these categories includes a variety of strategies that can make your message more powerful and impactful.

16 Video Marketing Benchmarks That Make Your Video More Impactful

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video_marketing_largeVidyard recently spent hundreds of hours analyzing video data from more than 250,000 videos and 600 million video streams to put together the first-of-its-kind Video in Business Benchmark Report. What they learned is very helpful for marketers. This infographic shows 16 of their greatest findings you can use to see how your video stacks up.

How to Get More Prospects to Engage In Your Social Media

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In the 2017 State of Inbound report, more marketers reported they planned to add social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to their marketing efforts than in the previous year’s survey. The reason we’re seeing this spike is because the use of social media by prospects is so pervasive. But, finding the right platform and right approach on social media to reach prospects can be tricky. The key is to make sure you’re always testing new strategies to see what works and what doesn’t. But, beyond this, we as marketers need to evolve our views on social media. And, not just how we use it but also why we are using it.

For awhile now the goal of social media strategy has been laser focused on generating leads and then trickled down to brand and content promotion. This isn’t a bad plan. It’s a great one – if you are coming at it from the right perspective. The focus isn’t on your company. It has to be on your prospects – what are their interests and goals and challenges? We have to consider our social media an opportunity to be social with our prospects and not promotional. There’s a big difference between these two. Here are some ideas to help you retool your social media approach.

  1. Do Your Homework

There’s a lot of information out there on your prospects if you take the time to go looking for it. And, to make it easier, you can start by looking at the analytics you already have for your current social media campaigns. Which ones got your prospects to engage? What information did they find relevant? Once you know this, design your social media around what you already know is of interest to your prospects.

Make sure if you’re going to share a blog or e-book on your social media that you first make sure the information is relevant to your prospects and then that you present it in a manner that is preferred by your prospects – think infographics, videos, etc.

  1. Think Like Your Prospects

When you start evaluating how to generate more likes, comments, and shares from your social media audiences, think about how you personally use each platform. It’s a good idea to create a detailed marketing persona for your prospects so everyone on your team has a good understanding of whom your messages are talking to. Consider how they spend their time on the different platforms and what it is they want to see on each.

  1. Apply Your Marketing Knowledge to Your Social Media

Most likely, social media is “new” to you, but marketing isn’t. And, social media is just another tool to market to your prospects. So, use your marketing knowledge to make your social media the most impactful. Use tried and true marketing approaches like making sure you have a call to action, you test approaches, and you use professional quality graphics with titles and subtitles when necessary.

And when it comes to creating content, think about how you optimize blog posts with on-page SEO elements, creating titles, headers, meta descriptions, and URL structures to help your blog posts and webpages rank in search engines. Apply this thinking to your other social platforms.

If you follow these tips, your social media engagement rate should increase because you’re creating prospect-centered content on platforms that resonate with your prospects. You’ll see that more of your prospects will begin to like, comment, and share your posts.

 

E-Mail Continues to Prove Its Effectiveness to Reach Prospects…Learn How

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According to a June 22, 2017, article in Entrepreneur, the first marketing e-mail was sent nearly 40 years ago by a marketer named Gary Thuerk from Digital Equipment Corporation. Wanting to promote his company, Thuerk decided to send an e-mail to approximately 400 people. It worked! His company saw a huge spike in sales. And, the rest is history.

While there’s no denying the effectiveness of e-mail, one of the inherent problems for marketers is the reality that prospects have short attention spans. But, there is good news on that front. After analyzing data from billions of e-mail opens from 2011 to 2016, Litmus just released a report that states the average time spent reading an e-mail has increased by nearly 7% since 2011.

That’s great news, but the reality is that attention spans are still pretty short. So, for our e-mails to be the most effective, we need to keep these guidelines in mind:

  • All of your e-mails MUST be mobile friendly. If they aren’t, you will lose subscribers.
  • Make sure your subject line speaks to what is in the content of your e-mail. If it doesn’t, your readers feel tricked.
  • Take advantage of headlines, subheads, and bullets to quickly communicate information.
  • If you are going to use an image, make sure it’s a good one that grabs attention and connects relevantly to your content.
  • E-mails that take a long time to load because there are too many large images won’t get read. Period.
  • Sometimes you need to write a long e-mail, and that’s okay. Just make sure you don’t go over 102kb because if you do, it will likely get clipped by the e-mail provider.
  • Always test your e-mail across platforms to make sure it can be opened and read and that all of the links work.

 

 

How Digital Signs Affect Our Everyday Lives

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If you’re like me, you’ve probably noticed that you’re seeing more and more digital signs – everywhere. They are used to share information and advertise a multitude of services and products. But while they are prolific, they aren’t obtrusive. That’s because digital signs and their messages feel so natural and organic that you don’t even realize you’re receiving a marketing message. But, you are…and it’s very effective. You absorb the digital message without considering the platform delivering it to you. (In a study by Arbitron, 47% of people remembered the content of an ad they saw on a digital sign 30 days later.)

If you haven’t noticed digital signs yet, I bet you will now that they are on your radar screen. I think you’ll realize you’ve been seeing and benefiting from digital signs almost every day and may not have noticed it until now.

The infographic below was created by Digital Signage. I wanted to share it with you today because it shows how a typical consumer (like you and me…and our prospects!) can encounter over a dozen digital signs in a typical day. If you’re not using digital signage, you should explore this highly effective platform.