Your First 100 Days as an Account Management Leader Part 3: Why Are Customer Touch Points Important?

When customers have any type of negative experience, it can have disastrous consequences for your business — both for keeping the account and when it comes to long-term revenue implications. The risks of falling out from that single negative touchpoint are high, but the reach extends to all prospective customers and leads.

The best way forward is to identify proactive touchpoints that can curtail negative experiences. Learn about how your account management team can identify positive opportunities for touchpoints for existing and prospective clients, improve insight into accounts and client movements, and create a more consistent stream of touchpoints.

What Is a Customer Touchpoint?

A customer touchpoint is virtually any interaction between a customer and a business. Whenever customers and businesses exchange information or complete a transaction, this is considered a touchpoint. A touchpoint is also any occasion when a company provides a service, engages with a prospective customer through outreach, or otherwise has an opportunity to increase the sense of trust a customer has in a business.

For example, suppose you’re helping a customer evaluate their account plans. You start by understanding your clients’ core objectives and discuss their strengths to stay competitive. In this conversation, you can strategize how to future-proof their business model and answer their questions with planned training sessions and proactive customer support. In the next few weeks, you help track additional leading indicators by having regular VOC inputs and frequent client check-ins. 

Now, several touchpoints were packed into that scenario, and every single one of them was a key touchpoint for the whole customer relationship, not just the sale. 

If those customer touchpoints are so monumental in building customer trust, engagement and growth, just imagine the impact that customer interactions have on businesses relying on your expertise for their very livelihood.   

If your organization doesn't have a strong workflow in place, all of these touchpoints represent an opportunity for disaster. However, if your business is centered around the customer experience, each of these touchpoints is an opportunity to shine and build a stronger relationship. 

Direct Touchpoints vs. Indirect Touchpoints

Because there are so many different touchpoints, it's important to categorize them. Consider the difference between direct and indirect touchpoints, for example. Direct touchpoints are directly steered by the business. Targeted ads, requests for feedback after a customer engagement, emails to key leads and customers... All of these are deliberate touchpoints originated by the seller, and they should be crafted to be as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

At the same time, there are indirect touchpoints. These are moments of contact when a customer calls in because of an issue or has a question. Businesses can accommodate indirect touchpoints, but you only have a limited degree of control over them. This makes it important to have standard operating procedures and customer-centric mindsets: you want to be able to deliver a positive interaction, even if it starts off negatively or unexpectedly.

Discover everything you need to know in your first 100 days as an Account Management Leader.

How Do Customer Touchpoints Affect You?

As a B2B organization both direct and indirect touchpoints frequently occur throughout your industry. Some common touchpoints that you can see include:

  • Conversations with salespeople or customer service representatives
  • Discussions with other customers that may or may not refer your business
  • The actual transaction 

These interactions aren't just positive or negative for the customer, but your business as well. Even the same touchpoint can have wildly different results. Suppose one of your key accounts has a problem with the reporting tool that's confusing numbers and their goals. They call up their account manager, and this happens:

  • The Good Outcome: The AM picks up the call, identifies what's causing the problem, and walks the customer through how to resolve the error in real-time. The customer source of frustration is gone, they understand more about the platform, and they have a pleasant interaction. They know that the next time they run into a problem, you and your key account team will help them.
  • The Bad Outcome: The AM doesn't pick up. The account rep sends an email, but the AM doesn't know how to help and escalates the ticket to an overcrowded customer support queue. The customer is losing money because of the delay, so they start browsing for alternative account management tools and services. Even if they don’t leave the partnership, they want to.

Remember: all it takes is one interaction to send an account into a negative spiral. And that's bad for business; after all, according to Review42, "65% of a company's business comes from existing customers."

How Can You Improve Your Customer Touchpoints?

It's clear that customer touchpoints are opportunities to strengthen loyalty and trust, but knowing how to do that is harder. Implement these steps to start finding — and planning for — more touchpoints:

  1. Research your customer journey: You need to know how customers arrive at and interact with your business each time they make a purchase so you can find the best times for direct touchpoints.
  2. Understand your customer's perspective: Determine what pain points, objectives, and interests a customer is likely to have when they begin or end a touchpoint. This can help you plan out the best possible engagement or response.
  3. Plan out customer touchpoints: Through your key account management software, schedule out direct touchpoints so you can regularly engage in positive, proactive contact. You can also build out robust account profiles so you have their details at the ready for unexpected indirect touchpoints.

Stay Ahead of Opportunities for Great Customer Touchpoints With Kapta

With customer-centric mindsets and software, you can be ready for every direct and indirect touchpoint. These collections of moments are what make up the bulk of your customer relationships, their impressions of your business, and your data about your customers.

Kapta's key account management software gives you the tools to plan out future touchpoints, stay on top of client relationships, and plan broad strategies. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a demo and see how we can help improve your business’s operations.

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CEO at Kapta
Alex Raymond is the CEO of Kapta.