customer touchpoint

What is a customer touchpoint?

A customer touchpoint is any direct or indirect contact a customer has with a brand. Customer touchpoints can occur within and outside of a brand's control and may happen before, during or after the purchase of a brand's product or service.

Interactions between customers and brands may be indirect, such as reading reviews, or direct, such as shopping in a retailer's store. During the customer journey, every customer touchpoint has the potential to alter perceptions and brand loyalty.

Examples of customer touchpoints

Customer touchpoints can occur under the control of the customer, the brand, or neither the customer nor the brand. Examples of customer touchpoints include the following:

  • A customer visits a retail store (customer control).
  • A commercial from the retail store reaches the customer via a television broadcast (brand control).
  • social media complaint exposes the customer to the brand (neither brand nor customer control).

How to identify customer touchpoints

Although customers play a role in each touchpoint, brands can use the following techniques to improve their customer experience and understand customer touchpoints:

  • Interview customers. Brands can interview customers to learn about their pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase experiences.
  • Gain firsthand experience of the customer journey. Brands can place employees in the role of customers to experience the touchpoints directly. For example, a brand can send an employee to shop at its own stores. By understanding and experiencing the touchpoints experienced by customers, brands can identify areas for improvement, which can increase customer satisfaction.
  • Gather critical feedback. Brands can be challenged by customer touchpoints they're not aware of. For example, a customer can tell his neighbor about the poor service experienced at a retail store. This negative feedback is a customer touchpoint that the retailer will never see. Brands that embrace open feedback with customers can be more in tune with feedback like private complaints. In addition, brands that optimize the customer touchpoints they do control are more likely to positively impact the touchpoints they don't control.
A chart that lists six touchpoints for customer engagement, which are phone, email, chat/video chat, social media, customer service and mobile
Customers and brands interact with each other across many different touchpoints.

Importance of customer touchpoints

Customer touchpoints contribute to brand perception and customer loyalty. Customer touchpoints have a direct role in quantitative metrics such as net promoter score (NPS). Brands that understand and optimize the quality of their customer touchpoints can gain more loyal customers and increase their NPS.

Editor's note: This article was written in 2019. TechTarget editors revised it in 2023 to improve the reader experience.

This was last updated in March 2023

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