01 April 2010

touchpoint, experience, relationship from LinkedIn

How would you define touchpoint and experience?  How do you see the relationship between both?  Is it absolutely true that "one does not shape a good or bad experience through a single interaction?"  How about "love at first sight?"  What if prior experience exists?  How do you define relationship if experience is summation of touchpoints?  Do you actually mean touchpoint creates experience?  And how would you define impression?

Marta Menezes
Manager at GMS Consulting

In my opinion, experience is the result of a set of touchpoints interactions.  The touchpoints are the points in which the customer interacts with the company (when he buy, contact, pay...).  His experience is the "feeling" he gets from the company after he tries each touchpoint.  Touchpoints are points of contact between the company and client eg. buy, use, contact, pay, abandone (set of contacts within the client life cycle).  Internally, from the company perspective this reflects into processes such as Sales, Customer Care, Billing, Retention.  Interactions are actions of contact: the sales contact, the act of paying the bill.

Debmalya Dutta
Lead Consultant within Business Information Management at Capgemini

Touchpoint/Interaction point is the point where the consumer (can be an customer, prospects, any individual or business in case of b2b) reaches out to learn or consume the services provided by another business (again -can be an individual or a business).  So, it's the interaction start point and mind you that the interaction does not always need a human at the other end.  So, I can interact or try reaching the business's boundary thru any channel - ATM, KIOSK, BRANCH, CALL CENTRE, WEB, MOBILE, IVR etc.  So every time I try reaching out to a business to use their services, I generate a touchpoint.  Now, experience on the other hand, is a summation of impressions formed (qualitative in nature) / observations (quantitative in nature) made through multiple touchpoints over a period of time.  One does not shape a good or bad experience through a single interaction.  So, if I were to draw a tree diagram: (i) A touchpoint results in the customer making a observations (quantitative in nature) tacitly or impression (qualitative in nature) processing (ii) Individual, multiple touchpoints/ interaction points result in individual observations and impressions (iii) Observations and Impressions help in shaping the customer's experience.

Mark's was a great example.  And I agree with Shubra too because fundamentally both are alluding to the same point.  Manage at a micro level to deliver at the marco level.

Let's use an example.  Say I were a blind man - When another human extend out his/her hand and touches me, the hand touching me is a touchpoint/interaction point.  Now when the hand touches me, I cognitively process multiple things like - is the hand touching me warm, cold, sweaty, is the texture of the skin soft etc. Now this qualitative, tacit processing is my observation that this person touching me has say coarse, warm hands.  I on the first instance only make an observation (needless to say it contributes to the building of an experience)... I can only classify it as an experience when I have put together multiple observations together...  Now, you stitch together these observations (micro experiences) to form a macro experience/your perspective of a business/object.

So, yes, you need to manage every interaction so that you deliver a positive vibe consistently so that it all adds up to a positive over-all experience...  It would be futile to measure at an interaction level because all interactions cannot be of the same quality - some exceed expectations, some just meet them and some fall short of customer expectations.  But a customer forms a positive or a negative opinion (customer's perspective equates to his experience) as part of every interaction and when the business consistently helps creating these positive opinions (with very few exceptions), the customer says that his/her experiences with the business is great...  And if the business is inconsistent in delivering these +/- vibes, then the customer is unsure about how to judge the business.  So, the customer has a passive opinion of the business.  And if the business is consitently delivering negative vibes (with few exceptions of positives), then the over-all experience is negative...  So I, as a business, need to manage each and every touchpoint experience so that I can consciously make a positive impression on the customer.  But always remember that experiences are nothing but opinions from a customer's standpoint.  You normally dont form a long lasting firsm opinion unless you interact with the other individual multiple number of times (hence multiple touchpoints).

Mark Gregory
Customer Experience and NPS Programme Practitioner

I use the analogy of films and pictures.  A touchpoint is a snapshot of a moment in time whereas the experience is like a movie, a series of snapshots joined together.  The relationship between the two is such that you can't have a movie without the individual frames (snapshots) and it's only when you join these frames together do you get the full picture of the customers' experience.

Shubhra Ramchandani
Senior Vice President at Synovate Loyalty

I feel that the difference implied between a touchpoint and experience has been artificially created (mostly by us -- analysts and consultants!) to acknowledge the current organizational structure of companies. Putting on my customer hat -- every touchpoint is the experience. A series of experiences creates my overall impression of the brand.

Each touchpoint or moment of truth or interaction -- whatever term one uses to define each experience that a customer has with a particular brand can be viewed as building a savings account.  Good experiences = deposits and bad experiences = withdrawals.  The amount of the deposit or withdrawal is determined by 2 things -- 1) the positive or negative experience and, 2) the importance of the interaction to the customer.  The net balance in the savings account at any one point in time is the brand 'impression' the customer is left with which is the primary driver of the potential for future purchases/recommendations of the brand from this customer.

No comments: