Enhancing your customer journey touchpoints to improve the experience


 – tactfully manage the transition to an omnichannel regime for better effect

The customer lifecycle journey begins when the customer becomes aware of your brand, a first interaction takes place leading up to the point where the customer ends the relationship with you. During this timeline, the customer gets to engage with your brand through several communication channels. These channels are either face-to-face or digital variously. In today’s world digital channels are fast emerging as preferred channels for customers who can use digital systems to manage a convenient lifestyle where services and products are readily accessible.

The English dictionary defines omnichannel as follows, “denoting or relating to commerce that integrates the different methods of interaction available to customers” (e.g. online, via a mobile device, in a physical shop, etc.). Simply put it is a multichannel approach to sales where customers have various opportunities to trade with the business seamlessly from face-to-face interaction in a physical store to shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or website. The advantage of having omnichannel access is that customers can engage you on their preferred channel.

Note the following channel options. The single channel offers you the opportunity to trade through your brick-and-mortar store, webshop, or an online marketplace such as eBay (an online company that allows users to list items for sale so that other users can then bid on these items in auctions). There is also the multiuser channel where you interact with your customer via social media, by phone, and in your physical store (they may not all be connected from the customer’s perspective). Finally, with the omnichannel commerce channel, all the different channels (brick-and-mortar and digital) are connected seamlessly.

Omnichannel access presents immense advantages in terms of the visibility and accessibility of touchpoints. A typical customer journey that is seamless across touchpoints will start from the mobile App where the customer can receive an alert (SMS or email) or research potential products or services. The next point in this journey allows the customer to compare products and prices from the website of the brand in focus. A visit to the store follows where the customer gets to browse the items and select an option based on the physical examination.

While in the store if the customer decides to purchase, the items are available for pick up. Note that being in-store provides the opportunity to browse options before selecting and purchasing. The items may either be returned or sent away for consumption, the end of this journey would be a review or feedback if all goes well. Snigdha Patel a CX proponent suggests several strategies needed to deliver an omnichannel customer experience. According to her key reason why businesses should opt for an omnichannel model is to gain a clear perspective of the customer journey.

To increase customer retention by allowing customers to access your brand by reaching you through preferred channels. According to recent research customers are 30% more valuable to your business over the cause of their lifetime therefore by increasing your retention rates as a consequence of omnichannel experiences your customer lifetime value (CLTV) increases. Finally, as customers experience a high degree of responsiveness in a way that feels right for them (due to your intuitive responses to their issues) their satisfaction increases, and with it your company’s revenue.

Here are a few approaches businesses are adopting to keep their customers satisfied through omnichannel experiences. First, research extensively on buyer personas to understand their preferences from an intuitive study of their behaviour during the buyer journey. Second, map your customer journey to follow through with how the customer engages your brand. Third, note their preferred touchpoints to enable you to design touchpoints seamlessly. And Fourth, scrutinize customer feedback regularly to stay attuned to their sentiments.

Research Customer Persona

Knowing how to satisfy your target audience’s needs gives you a significant competitive advantage. It enables you to better deliver solutions that tie in accurately to their purpose.  To do this effectively your starting point is the customer persona. The Persona is a semi-fictional view of your ideal customer based on market research, and actual data about your current customer base. It encompasses demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and objectives. They are drawn broadly from your target customer, and following them gives you great insight to help develop marketing strategies and communications.

They are drawn also from your website to guide the design to access the target that buyer personas don’t cover. People who use your product or service fall in the category of user personas, and following their behavior gives you great insight into product design strategies. Knowing who uses apple products and observing their behaviours as they engage with the brand offers the manufacturers great insights into developing products that make them the preference of their customers.

In the words of Michael Hinshaw, CX Strategist “Personas are the starting point”. Personas are the ones whose journey you are mapping. Customer persona helps you determine such things as the kind of relationships you want to focus on in the customer value chain, the type of customers most relevant to your brand, which experiences are most appropriate to include, and where the experiences begin and end. Speaking to a friend who visited the country recently and decided to tour a place of interest I realized how unprepared we are when planning and delivering experiences.

He intimated to me a visit to a resort and could not help noticing the bad access road and poor services in the local area. Only one hotel he said and the services were well below standard. To get your journey map right you must be clear on who your buyer is based on your assessment of her, her goals and objectives, what is your persona trying to do, why, and by when? Motivations are what their key hindrances and triggers are. Their Behaviours in terms of where they find information? Persona’s profile is evidenced in demographics or price sensitivity, and confidence with technology.

Your goal is to bring your personas to life this is important for you to avoid stereotyping. Developing a thorough knowledge base empowers you to make the omnichannel customer journey smoother.

The Journey Map

According to recent research, 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts. The reasons are not far-fetched. Could it be that the journey to the point of purchase is not very clear? Going with the experience of booking online with State Transport I can relate to how unclear information can mar the customer experience. Booking a seat for a journey recently was given a visual of the seat position which I chose with the knowledge that I would get a nice comfortable window seat.

Well, guess what, the bus was a different arrangement from what I saw online and had crammed-up seats making the journey on the day very uncomfortable. On returning I got a more comfortable bus and enjoyed a better experience. When buying the ticket for my return journey I had to pay at the ticket counter and could see what bus I was going to board. The inconsistent picture from the online process undermines the experience. The omnichannel customer journey includes every moment a customer interacts with your brand across every touchpoint.

By paying attention to the journey map you will get a good sense of the customer experience as you document what in CX parlance represents the moment of truth. The customer journey map can be used to better understand the obstacles customers face in achieving their goals. They are often divided into distinct phases to help differentiate between otherwise similar types of interactions. In my article two weeks ago, I highlighted key touchpoints of the customer journey as awareness, consideration, decision, onboarding, and adoption/retention or in some cases advocacy.

The goal is to achieve consistency at all touchpoints of the customer journey. From the awareness stage to the end of the journey there has to be in the eyes of the customer, easy access to all the touchpoints from brick and mortar to digital. Customers see your ad for your business, visit your website, and call your contact centre at the initial (awareness) phase. Next, there has to be a process to guide new customers through the purchasing process.


This should include details on how to get the most out of your product or service. Finally, after a customer’s purchase the means to provide support for the customer via the phone, the company’s self-support portal or knowledge base, or contacting customer service via email, social media, or any other channel must be managed efficiently and effectively to give the customer a seamless experience.

Preferred Touchpoints

Touchpoints are the points of engagement with the customer. These are the places where interactions occur. According to recent studies, it takes an average of seven interactions with your brand for the customer to decide before the final purchase. The typical customer will depend on these interactions and usually create a first impression of the overall brand. When the journey is mapped across multiple channels it helps the customer understand their requirements better.

Furthermore, you get a better understanding of how your customers feel at each stage of the buying process and through different channels. CX proponents recommend the following to help you optimize your omnichannel model. First, by learning about the preferred touchpoints you are better able to actively respond across the channels for real-time assistance to customers. Second, You can personalize your interaction at the identified touchpoints and create excellent customer service experience examples.

By developing an efficient means of capturing data, you are assured of access to personalized information within a fraction of a second. Guess what that means for your response time! Advances in technology in contemporary times means mobile channel, tablets, and social media have all become commonplace and play a significant role in influencing buyer behaviour. Consequently, there is a growing number of customers using multiple channels during their shopping journey.

A typical shopper might research an item using a mobile App and compare prices using several websites from their laptop and finally buy the product from the physical store. When you have an intuitive understanding of your customer preferences you are better able to offer seamless multichannel experiences to minimize customer effort (relative difficulty in accessing your brand).

Stay attuned to the customer

Let’s not kid ourselves here. As much as we need to be right from the customer’s perspective we must not neglect the business as part of this process. Being heavily tilted towards the customer’s needs can potentially hurt the business therefore we must get the balance right. This is why we must get customer feedback directly from the source, the customer.  We must get a handle on how customers view our product to enable us to provide invaluable support. When the feedback is right we are better informed to guide and inform our decision-making to influence innovations and changes to products or services.

Great opportunities are created for us to improve the omnichannel journey. You are close to your goal of superior service when you are delivering real-time support and giving them an easy way to share feedback. Through omnichannel access, your brand is empowered to engage with them via every channel and capture feedback at each touchpoint.  Here are several ways to ask for customer feedback. They are from websites, social media, emails, in-app, reviews, face-to-face, etc.

Subsequently, we then go on to analyze the customer feedback to help set successful omnichannel customer journeys.  A few examples of how we can actualize this include feedback to develop an in-depth understanding of customers’ needs, pain points, wants, expectations, etc. to serve them better. Next, implement a proper system to help you collect feedback, analyze it, and act regularly. Finally, reduce friction significantly and resolve your customers’ complex problems and challenges promptly by leveraging the opportunities technology offers.

Omnichannel experiences offer immense benefits mutually to the business and customers alike. It involves interacting with and engaging customers on their preferred channels, creating a seamless, end-to-end customer journey regardless of the combination of touchpoints a customer uses to engage with your business during the point of sale and throughout their lifecycle. The process of setting up and normalizing this can be challenging however, it offers an easy route to an intimate understanding of your customer and ultimately will enhance business growth.

The Writer is a Management Consultant (Change and Customer Experience). He can be reached at 059 175 7205, [email protected], https://www.linkedin.com/Kodwo Manuel


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