Though hard to define, we all intuitively know what a customer touchpoint is: Any communication or interaction with your prospect or customer that helps them form an impression of your organization or brand. Increasingly, many people think of touchpoints primarily in terms of digital channels in marketing and sales: e.g., email, social media, and even mobile device campaigns.
But consider the frequent interactions, very real touchpoints, that occur throughout the customer journey — from pre-sales engagement through contracts negotiation, on-boarding, billing and continuing customer service — that are critically dependent upon your internal document and information processes.
Though perhaps not as flashy as a SuperBowl ad, any time your staff engages customers there is the opportunity to delight—or, unfortunately, to disappoint. And these interactions have a direct impact on your organization’s competitiveness, growth, and revenue.
Customer Engagement: Risks and Opportunity
There’s little doubt about the positive link between successful customer engagement and business success.
Research by Watermark Consulting1, a customer experience consultancy, has shown that “companies which bring great customer experiences to the marketplace are being rewarded – by consumers and investors”.
In a Ricoh commissioned global survey2 almost seventy per cent of respondents said they would be less likely to do business in future, and sixty per cent said that they would likely switch to a different company or provider when confronted by a supplier’s ineffective customer-facing document-driven processes.
In today’s wired marketplace, the damage to brand from negative customer experiences extends well beyond the loss of existing customers; it can inhibit top line growth from new customers as well.
“If you’ve been in business for more than a week, you know that if someone is happy they’ll tell two friends, but if they’re unhappy, they’ll scream to 200. So it is with your businesses’ online reputation, and how it’s built.”3
You can be certain that negative word of mouth will impact your reputation and competitiveness – even if you are unaware. It also could be used by your competitors to their own advantage.
But here’s the good news. There are several potential upsides to improving the quality of customer touchpoints. When the quality of customer engagement processes as a whole is high, top line revenue can increase significantly. Over two thirds of respondents to our global survey reported that maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency in their customer-facing processes could actually improve revenue by an average of 10.1%. This includes ongoing, incremental revenue from (more) loyal customers and additional new customer revenue stimulated by positive reviews and word of mouth.
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Highlights from the Full Paper
- Any time your staff engages customers there is the opportunity to delight—or, unfortunately, to disappoint.
- High quality customer engagement can increase top line revenue, including ongoing revenue from loyal customers plus new revenue stimulated by positive reviews and word of mouth.
- Superior customer service, strong brand, and customer loyalty are advantages that are extremely difficult for your competition to replicate or overcome.
- Technology alone cannot create quality customer engagement; people make the most memorable difference in customer touchpoints.
- Success relies on all customer-facing employees having access to relevant information to respond to customer requests with consistency, accuracy, and credibility.
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Visit the “Process Imperative” (Business Insights for better information processes)
1 Picoult, Jon, “The ROI of a Great Customer Experience”, February 2, 2012. Note: Watermark looks at the cumulative stock returns for the Top 10 and Bottom 10 publicly traded companies in Forrester Research’s annual Customer Experience Index ranking.
2 IDC White Paper commissioned by Ricoh, “Organizational Blind Spot: The Role of Document-Driven Processes in Driving Top-Line Growth,” September 2012
3 Faber, Steve, “Online Brand Reputation Management – Keeping Bad Online Reviews From Killing Your Business,” September 6, 2012.