Designing and improving processes in ways that “delight customers” is a major foundation to Six Sigma. It is such an important principle that we would regularly deploy customer touch point audits when I worked for GE before joining the CSR team. I continue to use customer touch point evaluations in my marketing and operations work. What’s a customer touch point, and why should you care?
Whether you’re in the business to manufacture products, provide legal services, deliver medical care, or generate revenue from any buyers, you have customers. Every interaction between your business and your prospects and customers is a touch point. Every single one. Here’s a list of examples that is far from exhaustive:
- Company voice mail system
- Live telephone greetings and individual voice mail greetings
- Outgoing texts on behalf of the company
- Email signatures
- General correspondence
- Meetings, conference calls, web events
- Social media platform responses
- Marketing materials
- Trade events
With every one of these touch points, a business has the opportunity to delight a customer or to drive them away. The company can win the business and keep it, or it can watch the revenue walk away to a more delightful set of experiences. What’s a business to do? There are three main options:
- Develop a checklist of your customer touch points for your particular business and regularly (with great rigor and consistency) test them. You’re familiar with the term “mystery shopper?” Be one for your own business. When you find less than delightful results, fix them!
- Hire an outside firm to evaluate your customer touch points. An outside firm will have the objective focus to thoroughly audit these from a potential customers’ viewpoint. Your job will be to implement their findings. CSR is happy to perform this service on a project basis.
- Do nothing – this is always an option and sometimes the #1 choice. React to complaints or time-consuming questions. But don’t be surprised when the growth you crave doesn’t materialize.