PR Blog

Let’s Get Touchy – Creating Meaningful Client Touch-Points

November 18, 2013, by Ruby Blue

Touch Point: a point of contact or communication between you and your clients and prospects.

At all times, but particularly when the economy is sick in bed with a hangover, effectively managing your contact with cli­ents and other key targets is, well, super important. In fact, we think it’s crucial both to retaining existing business and to growing your practice further – and when the economy is making things tough, the loss of clients can be debilitating on your bottom line.

Revisiting and reviewing your current client touch points is a great way to start the process of creating engaging and customer-focused communications. Your touch points are every point of communication between you and your clients and prospects, including:

  • Front of house – how you answer to the phone, what people see when they walk in your front door, and how they’re greeted on arrival
  • Letters – prospecting, reminders, information exchange, follow up correspondence
  • Online – website, social media platforms (Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn), blog
  • Emails – daily correspondence, mass e-marketing, all database client relations

boredomWhy should I bother making my touch points effective?

Honestly, your touch points give your customers and prospects an idea of who your business really is.

A website that’s hard to navigate? The business mustn’t want us to know much about them or their services / products.

A waffling letter to your prospects? As a customer I may never get out if I call to enquire further.

Your receptionist answers the phone sounding flat and disinterested? Your business mustn’t really value their customers.

It’s easy to make the wrong impression. In the wise words of Warren Buffet, ‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.’ It’s the same with touch points – it doesn’t take much to ruin your chances of business.

So how do I make my touch points effective?

Why, it’s simple Dear Watson. You just need to change shoes for a minute – instead of being the business, pretend you’re the customer.

Firstly, think about all of those niggly little things you hate about dealing with other companies (I find this one is easier to start with). Make a list of all those negative influences that make you look at those other companies as being less than deserving of your business. Whether you hate the hold music, feel like they can’t give you clear and concise information, or even that there are spelling mistakes on their website, write ‘em down.

Take your list and honestly assess how many of those things occur in your own business. Unwittingly or not, nine times out of ten there will be some sort of cross-over. Put together a strategy that helps your business avoid these customer-banishing situations for good, as well as preventing it happening in the future.

Now think about all the things you love about dealing with businesses you hold in high regard. You might love the chirpy receptionist who answers the phone and remembers your name, or the ease of being able to send them a message via their website. It may be as simple as the way they offer you a refreshment when you have a meeting with someone, or that they keep you in the loop with what’s happening in the market that might affect you.

Again, make a list, sit with it, and honestly ask yourself how many of these great customer service activities you employ in your own business on a day-to-day basis. Then, it is time to strategise! Work these positives into the way your own business runs to ensure your customers love you and your workplace is a happy one to be involved in.

It can also be beneficial to employ the services of a customer experience consultant to review your lists and implement the strategies to improve your business. Customer experience consulting gives you a chance to work with a professional on how your business can best utilise these changes and stamp out any undesirable behaviour.

What works.

Don’t take our word for it – customer touch-points really make or break a brand. These top companies know what it takes to be listed in the 2012 MSN Customer Service Hall of Fame, and all they do is take steps to make their customers feel loved.

hilton10Example 1: Hilton Hotels Worldwide

Imagine your surprise if, shortly after tweeting some gripe about your hotel, the issue is miraculously resolved.

Hilton Worldwide is among the growing number of companies that have set up a dedicated Twitter watch to both respond to customers’ direct tweets and scour the Twittersphere for random rants.

Even if they find customers that are just complaining, Hilton takes action. They have also put in place a customer guarantee to ensure that guests have the opportunity to communicate any of their needs

Example 2: Sony

Sony’s VAIO desktops and laptops are viewed as top-line computers – a trait that the company puts down to their investment in quality customer service. You see, getting the computer up and running isn’t enough. Sony surveys its customers immediately after the purchase and again after 30 days and 90 days.

The company then monitors whether customers would recommend the product to a friend based on their experience in four areas: shopping, setting up the computer at home, using the computer and getting support later.

Sony then holds a monthly meeting where they go over all of this voice-of-the-customer data and look for ways to improve their product. Among the improvements based on customer feedback: a self-heal button — an internal diagnostic tool — on computers, faster boot-up time and video tutorials.

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