One of the reasons why there is no consensus on what CRM/CEM really is is because there is no consensus on the definition of relationship/experience. What’s worse, there may also be no consensus on who the customer really is!
So, before trying to agree on what the acronyms really mean, it is more important to understand what each alphabet represents in the first place.
What exactly is relationship? What exactly is experience? Who exactly is the customer? What exactly does management do, and who exactly manages who?
Relationship is made up of touchpoints. Touchpoints are experience-driven according to David Armano (2006). However, Frank Capek (2007) argues that experience does not happen at touchpoints. Graham (2007) says touchpoints are the key building blocks of experiences. He further defines episodes, experience and end-to-end experience on the basis of touchpoint.
• Episodes are groups of touchpoints.
• Experience is all the individual touchpoints or episodes that make up a purposeful activity by a customer.
• End-to-end experience refers to longer experiences made up of a number of episodes.
There are more different definitions of touchpoint since 2001.
Teradata (2001) defines touchpoint as “customer interaction channels such as call centers, web sites, automated teller machines and web kiosks.“
Touchpoint Metrics (2003) defines touchpoint as “every point of contact—online and off; each communication, human resource, branding, marketing and sales process initiative creates touchpoints. The quality of touchpoint experiences drives perceptions, actions and relationships.“
Intervox Group (2003) relates customer touchpoint to relationship cycle and defines it as “all physical, communication, and human interactions that your customers experience during their relationship cycle with your company. Increasingly, customer touchpoints are ‘owned’ and managed by the contact center.“
Touchpoint Experience (2004) relates touchpoint to time and sees touchpoint as “every point in time the customer ‘touches’ or connects with your company throughout the entire product/service delivery; pre-, during and post-purchase.“
What exactly is touchpoint?
Touchpoint sometimes is also written as two separate words. So, what is touch and what is point?
How about this?
Touchpoint is a point (what/who) that is touched via any channel (when/where/how) for a purpose (why). That said, it is every point of interaction, internal and external, seen and unseen.
And in 2010, touchpoint is redefined as simply “interaction between 2 or more entities which happens anytime any place by any means for a purpose.”
This is a back-to-basics approach where 5w1h is incorporated into the definition.
who: 2 or more entities
when: any time
where: any place
how: any means
why: a purpose