All about getting and keeping more customers
The Touchpoint Principle™: The ability to get and keep desired customers and employees is enhanced by consistently delivering Valued Touchpoints.
The Touchpoint Principle has four key components to examine.
First, the Principle focuses on advancing the purpose of business – getting and keeping customers – according to renowned management guru, Peter Drucker.
Secondly, it adds “employees” to Drucker’s famous quote. Multiple case studies repeat the finding that improving customer-centricity enhances employee satisfaction and retention, and vice versa.
Third, the Touchpoint Principle addresses the Core Problem. A third component of the Touchpoint Principle is consistency. In order to improve customer-centricity, the core customer experience problem of inconsistency must be addressed.
Fourth, the definition of a Valued Touchpoint has a defined hierarchy. The definition is: A standardized interaction that is customer-centric while advancing the organization’s Values, Identity and Experience Strategy, and the touchpoint’s goal(s). In priority order, the hierarchy is:
- Experience Strategy
Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 1. Standardized. To address the core problem of inconsistency, touchpoints must be standardized. Standards address inconsistency. More on this momentarily.
Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 2. Customer-centricity. For a touchpoint to be valued by the customer, it must meet their needs. Customer-centric organizations’ touchpoints are comfortable – customers don’t have a sense of fighting the touchpoint to accomplish their goal. This is true regardless of the nature of or type of touchpoint, e.g. phone, web, human, etc. Customer-centric organizations gather and apply the Intelligence needed to know their customers and their customers’ needs. As a result, they seem to anticipate needs at each touchpoint along customer journeys. In helping customers fulfill their needs, customer-centric organizations actually aid progression and conversions along customer journey stages.
How do we know where to put trash cans?
Through observation, Disney understands where their guests will typically need a trash can. They watch as guests purchase food and other items at outlets throughout their parks and where they then typically need a trash can. They have taken this intelligence and applied it to trash can location. The guideline is every 50’ along pathways and every 25’ along higher density entertainment venues, with guest use-patterns driving final placement. Rarely will a guest who has trash have to search long for a receptacle or go far out of their way to dispose of trash.
This example also highlights a typical ancillary benefit of good Customer Experience Management – greater efficiency. While this customer-centric approach to trash cans help Disney’s guests, it also cuts down on the amount of trash Disney employees have to pick up off the ground. This saves Disney time, effort and resources.
Listening doesn’t always surface the best answer
To know your customers and what they need, you have to listen and observe. The first time I had to swipe my own credit card years ago at the grocery store rather than handing it to the clerk to swipe, I found it awkward. I wasn’t used to doing it and it didn’t come naturally to me. Subsequently, I appreciated the time savings and the ability to retain control of my credit card.
If surveyed, I am sure that speed through check-out would have surfaced as one of my desires at most retail stores. Yet if asked, I certainly wouldn’t have come up with the solution of conducting my own credit card transaction. However, by observing the check-out process, retailers were able to see the time wasting activities. Getting customers to handle the credit card transaction while the clerk rings up the items manages two activities simultaneously, saving time and improving the experience.
Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 3. Values. Like the values you personally hold dear and live, organizations have and exhibit values. Customer-centric organizations have not only clearly defined their Values, but have integrated these into the fabric of their company. Their Values are a part of employee orientation, training, evaluation and promotion. They are talked about during meetings and, most importantly, exhibited by leaders.
Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 4. Identity. Customer-centric organizations have a clear understanding of how they want to be perceived – the perceptual asset they want to create in the mind of the customer – and how they want customers to feel about them. These organizations are who they are across all of their touchpoints.
Identity and Values must be compatible. Each touchpoint should advance, or at a minimum, not conflict with or detract from either Identity (who you are) or Values (what you stand for).
McDonald’s has a clear Identity
When you think of organizations with a consistent Identity, it is hard not to include McDonald’s. Driving this Identity are the seven core Values Ray Kroc used to build the business:
- We place the customer experience at the core of all we do
- We are committed to our people
- We believe in the McDonald’s System
- We operate our business ethically
- We give back to our communities
- We grow our business profitably
- We strive to continually improve
In their Standards of Business Conduct, they write, “Inherent in each value is our commitment to be ethical, truthful and dependable.”
Is there any global business you know that is as “dependable” as McDonald’s? Their consistency is legendary, and it helps to drive and define their Identity.
Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 5. Experience Strategy. Organizations should have a long-term strategy in addition to their Operation and Experience Strategies. Valued Touchpoints serve to help, or at least not hinder, organizational efforts to achieve its long-term strategy while delivering on its Experience Strategy.
Valued Touchpoint hierarchy: 6. Goals. Along the Three Customer Journeys (Relationship, Transactional and Value Add), both your organization and your customer have goals to achieve. Customer-Centricity (second in the Valued Touchpoint hierarchy after standardize) addresses meeting customer goals. Your goals also have to be a consideration at touchpoints.
If the customer is on a Transactional Journey to potentially purchase or repurchase, you want the customer to complete that purchase (if it is in their best interest) and have it be a positive experience.
Goals for an email may be that the recipient open and read the email and then click a link to access a specific web page. Once on the web page, the goal may be that the email recipient completes a form to download a white paper.
The goal of a thank you note can be just to make a good, warm impression that increases satisfaction or loyalty.
The goal of a sign on a display near the checkout of a retail store may be to prompt an impulse purchase.
As a touchpoint is designed, it is always important to keep its goal in mind.
A change in priorities
Notice that the goal of the touchpoint – i.e. have the customer click on a link – is last in the hierarchy of a Valued Touchpoint. This is opposite of how most touchpoints are developed and evaluated. Typically, the primary or only consideration in developing a touchpoint is the goal of the organization for the touchpoint – and don’t think customers don’t notice.
It’s all about value
Valued Touchpoints in service of the Touchpoint Principle deliver value to both the customer and the organization. This is consistent with the definition and purpose of Customer Experience Management:
The discipline used to comprehensively manage a customer's journeys with your organization, product, brand or service in the efficient creation of value for both customer and organization
Truth: The Consistency Competency is the means to transition an inconsistent touchpoint into a Valued Touchpoint.
Remember, to your customers, you are your touchpoints.
For more, check out my book, TOUCHPOiNT POWER! Get & Keep More Customers, Touchpoint by Touchpoint (William Henry Publishing, 2013), an Amazon international top 10 customer service best-seller. For information and to order, visit TouchpointPower.com or view the TOUCHPOiNT POWER! listing on Amazon.
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