Thursday, August 31, 2006

Touchpoints and Moment Of Truth

This is going to be a tricky post. Simply because 2 out of the 3 terminologies mentioned here have been spoken about at length by the executives of my alma mater OgilvyOne and are their properties. So I need to tread the thin line between plagiarism and quoting someone

What is a Touchpoint?

Touch points are the occasions when a brand gets closer to its customers in order to create a positive brand experience.

Touchpoints can be any attempt a brand makes to contact our customers.

I tried dividing the Touchpoints into two categories, and here is what we have

1. Common touchpoints
2. Creative touchpoints

What is a Common touchpoint?

The basic of touch points, it is a hygiene or rather a mandate that any brand does these. These are the starting point of any customer's relation with a brand. And they are mostly “Me-too” replicated by others.

Example 1: A poster or any Point of Sale material at the shop floor. This definitely makes the customer look-up to the brand and is surely a touchpoint. But unfortunately almost everyone does it.

Example 2: A welcome kit or a starter kit with consumer durables or automobiles. You must have some form of communication to ensure that the customer enjoys using the brand. And therefore to make him understand the basics of the brand you use this medium.

What is a Creative touchpoint?

This type of touchpoint is mostly data dependent. There is a lot of thinking and strategy involved to arrive at this. This type of touchpoint ensures that the brand produces a WOW effect on the customer.

This basically is a touchpoint hitting the customer at the right time at the right place. This is what in OgilvyOne terms is called the Moment Of Truth or MOT.

Example 1: You have run 25,000 Kms in your car. It is time for a service. How would you feel if your dealer calls you now and requests you to bring your car for service?

You will surely feel flattered when you are asked to come for a service just at the time you are starting to think about the service.

Example 2: We had a new business pitch and I had to work 2 full days to complete the presentation and the related collateral. I was completely worn out when the pitch was over, I was thinking about taking a day off. That was when my boss called me and gave me a days leave of absence.

I didn’t expect it, but I wished I had a day’s leave. I felt flattered and my loyalty to the organization and my love for my boss slightly increased for the time being.

Increased contacts with the customer or more touchpoints would increase the loyalty and create a better bond with the customers for a brand.

Now let us see an example from the automobile industry and let us count the number of occasions the brand is in touch with us till one buys a car.

1. You hear about the brand through your friends or somebody you know.
2. You get brochures and literature about the brand and read them
3. You see advertisements / outdoor / signages
4. You go to the showroom
5. Speak to a salesman
6. You take a test drive
7. The salesman calls you back with a deal for you

Here we have counted 7 occasions where the brand would be in close touch with you. This is just a count of the minimum, this is bound to increase in a real life scenario.

In the OgilvyOne lexicon there is one more terminology. They call this the “Critical Loyalty Drivers”.

This is defined as a touchpoint that can lead to a customer opinion (about the brand) being formed.

A Critical Loyalty Driver is not necessarily a Moment Of Truth. But if strategically timed it has the potential to make or break a relationship the brand has with its customers. And a Critical Loyalty Driver could turnout to be an important Moment Of Truth.

Example of a positive Critical Loyalty Driver

I go to a bank for getting an account opened. There is a long queue standing before I could get my job done. Now imagine a customer service executive offering me a cup of coffee and a warm word “We are sorry for the delay. But I’m sure that you would have your turn by the time you have this cup of coffee”.

This makes me think that I have landed in a very safe, caring, proactive bank. I have a good opinion formed about the bank.

While this may or may not be a MOT, this is surely a touchpoint at a crucial juncture that would have made or broken the relationship I was supposed to have with the bank.

Example of a negative Critical Loyalty Driver

My monthly bank statement has just arrived. And I can’t believe that they have wrongly debited $200 without any reason. I am pissed and uncontrollably angry.

The bank statement is a routine touchpoint. But this touchpoint takes the shape of a Critical Loyalty Driver because of my experience with the brand in this particular touchpoint.

This experience may even make me close my account with the bank and end the relationship.

Summing up

a) Touchpoints are the routine contacts a brand has with its suspects, prospects or a customer.

b) When the customer finds a particular touchpoint important (positively or negatively), it becomes a Critical Loyalty Driver.

c) A touchpoint becomes a Moment Of Truth when it reaches the customer at an opportune moment when the customer was expecting or not at all expecting it to happen. Moment Of Truth are those (most) meaningful interactions a brand had with its customers.

d) To create touchpoints a brand should first understand its customers, their needs and wants.

e) The number of touchpoints a brand has with its customers and their timing would make a touchpoint a Critical Loyalty Driver or a Moment Of Truth.

More on CRM later...

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