This multiple touchpoint experience relies on the effective use of various interactive digital media channels, including company websites, blogs, a presence on social networks (ex. Facebook & Twitter), as well as dedicated mobile and tablet apps. It also includes direct e-mail, digital advertising and APIs used for interfacing with 3rd party applications.
This shift comes as increasingly more people prefer to interact with companies via digital channels. This experience usually offers users interactions that are automated, more convenient, quicker and more streamline. This in turn helps save time, lower the transaction costs for both parties, and can lead to greater overall customer satisfaction.
The shift to digital touchpoints is only going to continue, as more people who grow up using the Internet also become consumers and decision-makers.
Companies who don’t offer customers a digital experience will be left behind. Still, many are not yet sure how to take part, and in some cases don’t fully understand the tangible benefits it can bring them and their end-users.
B2C companies lead the digital customer touchpoint experience
Consumer focused companies in sectors like consumer retail and financial services where among the first realize the benefits of interacting with their customers through Web-based digital channels.
Many also offer users any-time interactions through smartphone and tablet-based Web apps.
- Consult their accounts
- Perform day-to-day banking operations
- Manage investments
- Get information on additional services
- Simulate and request credit and loans
Consumer retails firms like Amazon and Apple allow clients to:
- Browse their offerings
- Consult recommendations and 3rd party reports
- Sign-up for advertising and promotions
- Configure products and services
- Make purchases and track their delivery
- Manage loyalty programs benefits
While slower to adapt, many business-focused companies are discovering that they too need to create a digital multichannel experience for their customers, or else they will be left behind.
B2B customers can benefit greatly from a digital touchpoint experience
In the B2B market customers tend to be more demanding, products and services are usually more complex, and often require a higher degree of customization. Sales can take longer, and may demand a close customer relationship to finalize deals.
At the same time, individuals working in the B2B sector expect to use online resources (ex. company website, corporate and product information sites, blogs and discussion groups) to identify and select the companies they do business with. As such, they are taking more time to research companies and their offerings, and waiting longer before contacting a live sales representative.
In this context, an effective digital customer touchpoint experience can help smooth interactions, streamline transactions and strengthen customer relations.
Compared to non-technology firms, tech companies may also have slight advantage when it comes to understanding and harnessing the underlying technology required to build digital touchpoints to the extent that in many cases they already understand the underlying technologies. On the other hand, customer touchpoints still need to be designed with individual end-customers in mind, which implies offering a simple, intuitive and engaging experience.
Context matters as much as content
Thanks to portable digital media devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablet devices, B2B customers have the means to easily interact with companies in a multitude of specific contexts, regardless of time and place.
For example, we can imagine a situation where a client receives timely information for a supplier, leading to an on-the-spot transaction. Similarly a B2B end-customer could provide a supplier real-time feedback from the field, resulting in a quick problem resolution and benefiting other customer with similar problems.
Interactions like these are much more meaningful, and can boost trust and customer satisfaction, deepening the B2B customer relationships.
In a world where B2B companies can benefit greatly from connecting with its customers in a variety of ways, the real questions then become:
- How can a company create an effective digital touchpoint strategy to develop meaningful and lasting relations with its customers at an individual level?
- How can they measure ROI of their digital customer relationship marketing?