Touchpoints – all the interactions that collectively make up a client’s experience – matter to us at The Giles Agency. In certain fields, making the sale may be everything. But in creative industries, that sale is just the beginning of the story. We want to get to know our clients deeply, and build long-term, fruitful relationships with them. Not only does this make financial sense (with studies showing that attracting a new customer costs six to seven times more than retaining an existing one), it makes our careers more fulfilling, too.
As consumers freely share their experiences on social media, brands need to be proactive about following every stage of the customer journey. And that means maximising touchpoints.
“Touchpoints aren’t limited to the communications you carefully create and strategically distribute,” notes Freya Giles, our agency’s founder. Any contact – on- or offline, written or verbal – is a touchpoint. “If a client wants to ask one of our editors a quick question, that’s a touchpoint. If we have a conversation at a networking event, that’s a touchpoint. If a prospective customer calls the office for directions, that’s a touchpoint.”
Understanding the customer lifecycle
To make every touchpoint as positive as it can be, you first need to know what your prospective and current clients are actually experiencing. According to software company Astute, the customer lifecycle can be broken down into the following five integral stages:
- Product and Support Experience
Awareness is about your visibility and reputation: the messages you’re putting out there, and the opinions of clients past and present. Next, Evaluation involves anything from a split-second decision to a period of deliberation. What are people saying about your brand? How are you seen to be interacting with customers? Is all the information available to potential clients – whether searchable or provided by your representatives – consistent and on brand? “We strive to speak with the same voice across all our channels,” says Freya. “We also work to ensure that all our marketing and comms material reflects our brand values. We create material that’s intelligent, packed with useful information and insights, high-quality and positive in tone.”
Supplying contradictory information to a potential client could be a deal breaker at Evaluation, while at Purchase, a customer’s ability to talk to a live person can determine whether a sale is converted or lost. And so it goes with Product and Support Experience: How quickly and easily do your customers receive individualised support from a real person?
Relationships that last
“In a fiercely competitive world, the strength of your brand is very often the reason your customers buy from you and not your competitor,” says Freya. “Every touchpoint is an opportunity to build on that brand, and to create a consistent and positive experience that converts customers and keeps them coming back.” Keep them coming back enough, and you will achieve the final stage: Bonding. Now, not only have you created a loyal customer, but a client who is a brand devotee will be much more likely to recommend your products or services to others.
At Giles, one of our goals is for our brand values to shine through at every touchpoint – as Freya explains: “Whether you’re in Hong Kong or Singapore, a loyal customer or a visiting handyman, the experience should be the same: friendly, professional, reliable and solution oriented.”
Actions speak louder than words though – so why not put us to the test? As much as they appreciate the excellence of our work, our clients value how helpful and responsive we are.