Recently I bought a new washing machine. I was disappointed that the ridiculous cost of repairing my, relatively new might I add, machine meant that the best option was to replace it. So, right from the beginning I was a reluctant buyer.
Having trawled through the mass of customer and pricing reviews, I knew exactly what machine I wanted, right down to the model number. Touchpoint #1. I established what a fair price would be for my replacement and then started to consider who I would buy the machine from. I had no strong brand loyalty to any one white goods retailer, so I researched online to find the two or three who were offering the product at a competitive price.
That initial shortlisting was based simply on how I found their website. The ones I selected all provided clear pricing, easy navigation and listed unambiguous delivery charges. See what happened? My top three list of retailers was purely based on my experience on their website. Touchpoint #2.
My shortlist of retail brands were all offering the machine at a price within $40 of one another. So next point of action was to call. Touchpoint #3, a crucial one I’d say, as the first interaction with an actual person from the brand.
The retailer I selected was not the cheapest, but I was willing to pay the extra $30 because Sally, in the white goods department, made sure my experience was a good one. She demonstrated empathy when I informed her of my washing machine dramas. She was not rushed. She explained in detail the delivery arrangements and even offered to provide a discounted warranty on the new machine. I was not passed through 5 people before I could speak to the “right” person. I was not placed on hold for 10 minutes. It was as painless as buying a washing machine can be with the entire experience pretty seamless.
My point here is that, as a brand guardian, it’s important to understand that every point of contact between your brand and your potential customer has the potential to enhance or weaken the brand. Imagine being cut off on the roads by a branded delivery van. Is that the brand you are likely to trial first when you need their type of product? Imagine that same van unwashed and with broken lights. Is that a brand, which fills you with confidence?
It is not always easy to monitor all your brand touchpoints. Even harder to make sure that the customers’ experience at those points aligns with your brand positioning. But it is very important.
As marketers we sometimes become so immersed in our marketing communication pieces, and talking about how we want our brand perceived, that we lose sight of one important fact.
Brand perceptions are owned by the customer. Not us.
Those perceptions are created over time as a result of hundreds of interactions. Ultimately, it matters little what you proclaim in an ad or on social media if every other touchpoint is saying something different.
What about those of you working in a B2B brand. Do you consider what your company Christmas gift is saying to clients? How about the office mug you serve a coffee to your client in? Or how does the receptionist answer the phone? These are all touchpoints so easily missed but could make all the difference in a client’s decision to work with or continue work with you.
Our advice is to get out there today and look at your brand in its entirety and in detail. You will find hundreds of ways your customers interact with your brand, from automated phone systems through to product packaging. Imagine you are a customer and assess each of those interactions with your brand. Don’t forget that post purchase interactions are every bit as important in building brand loyalty and driving repeat business.
In the end, we are all in the job of building brand advocacy and that type of loyalty only happens if every brand touchpoint asserts consistently our desired brand position.
If you need help with your brand touchpoint audit, get in touch with Cuckoo today.