Paying Attention to Customer Touchpoints

What I wanted was a different car.

What I didn't want was to talk to a sales person. So I did what most people do these days.

I started by doing a lot of Google searching. Most of the results were articles that were doing comparisons – which was perfect.

My question was simple – what’s the most powerful convertible that comes with luxury features and is comfortable enough for me (a large guy) to fit in and enjoy?

So I was comparing all the usual suspects.

Then I noticed that some of the Google results were from dealerships local to my area. So I clicked on a few and checked out the local inventory.

I even filled out a few forms and traded a few emails.

Some of the dealerships were fantastic. Some sucked. And eventually I knew I'd have to go into a dealership to sit in the car and see if I fit comfortably.

But I didn't want to rush that. Unfortunately, the moment I started filling in forms, I was getting hit with tons of email, text and phone calls.

Even when I was specific, I would get PDFs filled with cars they had in inventory that didn't match my exact desires. But hey, they were just trying to help me out. Right?

Eventually, I landed on a very specific car with a specific set of packages. I emailed three dealerships close by and asked if they had a car in stock that matched my desires.

One agent told me they had tons in stock – “Just come on in.”

Another agent told me that I probably didn't need one of the packages I wanted and sent me other inventory to consider.

And lastly one agent told me he'd have to bring it down from one of the other dealerships they owned. Could I wait until Monday (2 days from now)?

It’s no surprise that I bought the car from the last agent.

But I don’t want to get into customer service. I want to talk about something more fundamental.

Customer Touchpoints

Here’s how most dealerships think of touchpoints:

  • Billboards
  • Online Ads
  • Dealership Website
  • Brand Website
  • Dealership
  • Receptionist
  • Sales Agent

What they're thinking about are all the places where I might hear about them and/or interact with them.

But they're looking at it from their perspective.

Now, try to think about it from my perspective – as a client.

My touchpoints were:

  • Google search results
  • Other people’s articles about their cars
  • Their dealership’s website and forms
  • Their agent’s auto-responding emails
  • Their agent’s voicemails
  • Their agent’s texts
  • Their agent’s emails
  • Notice the difference?

My experience with their company wasn't all based on their approved marketing budget spends.

It was based, primarily, on other people’s voices and one or two of their staff’s tone and decision making.

Freelancers make the same mistake

You're likely not a dealer, and you likely don't own a building that people come to. It’s likely you don't purchase billboard space.

But you may be making the same mistakes dealerships do when it comes to customer touchpoints.

And you likely think that most of your touchpoints are when people meet you in person (like at a conference or meeting), or when they visit your website.

But you miss all the places where you can be building trust – off of your site.

And you likely haven't spent nearly enough time on your auto-responding emails. Some people I know add Gravity Forms contact form and leave everything default. Just saying.

So here are three questions for you

1. Are you cultivating relationships with others that compliment your services, so that they can recommend you?

My friends Brian and Jennifer Bourn do this all the time – building relationships with all sorts of people because they never know who will be recommending them next.

These touchpoints are between one of their friends (like me) and one of their prospective clients (like Tony Perez, CEO of Sucuri). Tony hired them because told him they were great. They didn’t have a hard time closing him because he was already closed.

So maybe a better version of the question is, Who is closing deals for you?

2. Are you developing places outside of your website where you’re demonstrating expertise?

My friend Josh Pollock is running his company. So while I’m sure he’s busy doing that, and I’m sure there’s enough on his plate to write for his company site, it doesn’t stop him from writing elsewhere. Like on Torque Magazine’s site.

Three to four times a month, he’s adding value outside of his site. And it means when people go looking for answers (not necessarily ready to hire someone), they may find it on a site that doesn’t have his name in the domain.

That adds credibility. And creates additional touchpoints where people can learn from you and learn of you.

3. Are you designing your emails for maximum impact?

Maybe your form replies say something like, “Thanks for reaching out. I’ll reply soon,” or “I’m so glad you visited my website and filled out my contact form. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”

These auto-responses are so common that standing out isn't hard. And it doesn't just apply to contact forms. It applies to email receipts for purchases. It applies to order confirmations.

Every single email your systems send are opportunities for you to enhance the experience, to build trust, and to ensure that clients stay engaged with you.

I received an email from a company after I made a purchase. The email was one of those autoresponders, I was sure of it.

But the email was written casually, without all sorts of pomp and circumstance. And it said something like,

“I was thrilled to see you make a purchase at our site. A lot of us on staff read your blog. It was so cool to see a customer name we recognized. We want your experience to be awesome. If it’s not, please don't hesitate to call me at xxxxxxxxxx.”

That didn't look automatic. I am pretty sure it wasn’t. And maybe it was a special treatment that only I would have received. But none of that matters. Because what was a casual purchase to me suddenly became an important one.

What changed wasn't the product. What changed wasn't the vendor. What changed wasn't the price.

What changed was my feelings. Suddenly I felt close.

I'm a fan of click funnels not because of their product or features, but because they understood something fundamental about a client touchpoint.

You have options

In the end, you have options. You can spend money on your website. You can write more articles on your blog. You can go to conferences, sponsor them, and stand on stage to talk.

All of these will help get your name out there.

Or you can scale all that back a bit, and then work on the touchpoints mentioned above so that you’re building trust even when you're not personally involved or engaged.

It’s up to you.

But if you're a small shop or a solopreneur, you likely have a limited amount of time to spend on marketing. And in that case, getting those autoresponders customized, getting articles out there beyond your site, and getting others to recommend you – all may scale your efforts better.

All because you spent some time thinking about touchpoints from the customer’s perspective instead of from your own.

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Chris Lema

Chris Lema is the CTO and Chief Strategist at Crowd Favorite. He’s also a daily blogger, a public speaker, and product strategist.

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