Touchpoint forms the basis of relationship, or the touchpoint chain.
Although there are no best practices as to how a positive touchpoint chain should be built, everyone should at least know the basic elements, or the ABCDEF.
Attitude – Attitude is everything, almost. Positive attitude turns impossible into possible, but it is no longer enough, for it is about oneself, but not for the others. People with positive attitude basically fear not, because they see every threat as an opportunity. However, does positive attitude benefit others? Sometimes, but not always. People should also be able to put themselves in others’ shoes. When people start asking WIIFM (what’s in it for me), they always deliver positive touchpoint experience to others, which ultimately results in win-win situation. The Golden Rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” may not work properly in a world where people are not all alike. Claire Raines and Lara Ewing suggest in their book The Art of Connecting that the Titanium Rule “do unto others according to their druthers” should be observed instead. That, is the power of empathy.
Benefits – Benefits please everyone. Whether the person is achievement-oriented or affiliation-oriented, it comes down to benefits in the end. Every touchpoint has to be mutually beneficial, or win-win; otherwise, the chain will not last in the long run. Focusing solely on getting what one wants, regardless of the needs of others, will ultimately result in lose-lose. Positive attitude is the minimum requirement. Benefits are the reason for initiating any touchpoint chain. But, small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. To make things happen, it is important to take this indispensable first step.
Connect – Connection is the first step of every touchpoint chain. People have to connect with others in order to develop further touchpoints. Everyone only gets one chance to make a first impression. Once the connection is made, it is important to maintain the relationship by making little things count. It is not difficult to get the obvious done right, but it is extremely difficult to identify the little things and then get them done right.
Discover – Discovery is about identifying and understanding the needs and wants of others. A need is a gap between the current state and the desired state. A want is a desire regardless of current state. Effective discovery requires high-gain questioning and active listening. Only by discovering those needs and wants, can people produce deliverables that provide positive experience to others.
Engage – Engagement is not only a result of consistent positive touchpoint experience, but it is also the entry point for achieving a deeper foundation of touchpoint chain.
Follow-through – Follow-through is the most important step of all, because it has always been neglected. People like to be recognized, and love to be loved. This is what post-purchase dissonance, the last step in the traditional buying cycle, is all about. People need others to tell them that they have made the right choice. Engaging is more than just the exchange of cash for deliverables. People want more after the simple exchange. They are like babies, and need to be taken care of after the exchange. Just as parents will never neglect but keep looking after their children, so too should every profit-maximizing firm. This should of course be under one condition: that every child is the right customer. A positive follow-through sustains the touchpoint chain. A consistent positive follow-through deepens and strengthens relationships, encourages word-of-mouth, and promotes loyalty.