01 May 2007

Back to Touchpoint... Beta

Relationship dictates. There is nothing new about this simple fact. But every now and then firm forgets about it. If relationship is fair, then every situation will automatically result in win-win outcome. There is simply no need to craft win-win solutions. Firm and market will both win fairly. By fair, it is not 80-20, but 50-50. Is it possible though? In the win-win formula, firm always likes to win first before giving an opportunity for market to experience satisfaction. 50-50? It is only possible when market is not loyal to firm.

If market is already loyal to firm unconsciously, who will care about customer loyalty? Firm will take loyalty for granted. Customer loyalty becomes important because firm never really cares about loyalty. If firm cares, then every touchpoint provided to market since day one will be positive thereby resulting in loyalty. Winning firm never has the need to create loyalty, because the notion of loyalty is already on the mind of every staff within the organization.

For firm who does not know what loyalty is all about, competition serves as a reminder. Competition exists not because competitors want to provide better services to market, but because competitors want to reap profits from competition. If profits are not yet affected adversely due to competition, firm won't care about loyalty. When empathy is absent in the relationship, win-win is impossible. Only when all market players start to realize the impact of competition, firm will consider taking action to protect profitability. Market usually benefits when there is competition.

If positive relationship drives loyalty, and loyalty is the critical success factor in sustaining business growth, then firm should allocate resources to manage relationship. What can be measured can be managed. Relationship is invisible. If relationship cannot be measured, how is it going to be managed?

Relationship is the summation of a chain of touchpoints. What is touchpoint? Touchpoint is every point of interaction, internal and external, seen and unseen. Point can be counted. Instead of managing relationship, it is more effective to manage touchpoint.

The first touchpoint is usually the most important, and is better known as "first impression." However, first impressions are usually wrong. People are good at covering up for the first few touchpoints. The truth will eventually be revealed. Managing touchpoint is about managing experience per touchpoint. Relationship will turn from positive to negative when there is discrepancy between first impression and the truth. Time proves. Consistency is the key word.

The original article is available on http://www.customerthink.com/blog/back_to_touchpoint.

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