The word “touchpoint” first appeared in 2001. Of course, the idea is not new because touchpoint is just another word for interaction. In his teachings, Confucius talks about li. Li is about all the actions committed by a person to build relationship with others. However, its thinking does not seem to be as wide spread as the concepts developed by the West.
Some academics and practitioners relate touchpoint to “moments of truth.” In his 1987 book, Jan Carlzon defines moments of truth as “the moments that ultimately determine whether SAS will succeed or fail as a company.” He further suggests that “they are the moments when we must prove to our customers that SAS is their best alternative.”
What is moment? What is truth? Can truth be defined in just a moment? It takes years to build trust but a few seconds to destroy. Trust takes time to develop. Moment of truth?
Touchpoint happens in a moment. That’s why it’s a touchPOINT. But in that moment, it does not offer any truth, but experience. That experience can be positive, neutral, or negative.
Sampson Lee of GCCRM suggests that customer experience may consist of any number of individually assessed service episodes, and each episode consists of any number of touchpoints one after another in a logical sequence. I posted a series of articles on touchpoint experience on Sampson’s GCCRM site since July 2005, when he was focusing on 3C and CRM. Mine is touchpoint first, then experience second, which agrees with David Armano’s idea that touchpoint is experience-driven. Sampson’s point of view is experience first, then touchpoint second.
Published in Mercer Management Journal 2004, Suzanne Hogan, Eric Almquist, and Simon E Glynnin write in their article Building a Brand on the Touchpoints That Count that “successful brand-builders consciously resist investing everywhere that their brand touches their customers. Instead, they identify and then spend aggressively only on the interactions they know will have the most impact on revenue growth and profitability.” Not every touchpoint counts. Touchpoint is in the eye of the beholder. No touchpoint is more significant than others. It all depends on which touchpoint matters most to people who do the hiring.
Positive relationship is made up of positive touchpoint experience. The question is, how to build positive experience? Shared goals, mutual commitment, a degree of trust, relational benefits and an absence of barriers to exit? Shared goals, mutual commitment, trust, relational benefits are results of positive touchpoint experience.
Here are some suggestions on how to build positive touchpoint experience.
At the people level, it’s about how they speak (like pitch, speed, volume, tone, and inflection) and how they act (like body language, eye contact, body movements and gestures). Attitude rules! At the information level, it’s about relevance and accuracy. KISS! (Keep it short and simple.) At the deliverables level, it’s about the 4P (product, price, promotion, place) for tangible deliverables, then additional 3P (people, physical environment, process) for intangible. Of course, it all comes down to value. However, this 7P concept is basic marketing then. The factors just mentioned are of course incomplete.
I’ve been studying touchpoint for 8 years since 2000. In subsequent blogs, I’ll comment those articles related to touchpoint and experience from 2001 to 2007 from my humble point of view.