Service Design is at the forefront of business and design discussion in Ireland and abroad at present. Government sectors in particular are announcing incredible investments to bring existing services into the digital age through design. As companies and entities continue to partake in the digital transformation, maintaining high-quality Customer Experiences (CX) becomes more challenging. People are now accustomed to streamlined service systems such as online banking and paperless billing. They expect services to be immediate, seamless and consistent across online and offline environments. Whether you are looking to renovate an existing service or create an innovative new offering, understanding your service touch points is a good way to start.
The simplest definition of a touchpoint is any interaction a customer has with your service. These are experiences which must make positive impressions, impart essential information and add value to the experience of your brand. Interactions can be once-off transactions or customer journeys which span many years. This is the case for pension schemes, or utilities accounts for example. Offline touchpoints can include print advertisements, letters or a customer service desk. Online touchpoints may consist of a website, customer portal or chat support service. Of course in-store touchpoints may include staff, shelved products and the store environment itself.
Each of these touchpoints must communicate the essence of the brand with a consistent tone, but also intuit and accommodate the customer’s needs and behaviour. If I see a billboard advertisement for a phone service package at €19.99 a month, that is a touchpoint which creates a specific expectation. If I enter the store and a staff member repeats the offer, that is another touchpoint which reinforces my expectation. When I purchase the service plan, I expect my first bill to give me a breakdown of costs in an easily digestible format and add up to €19.99, or else clearly explain why it is more.
If that letter arrives and I cannot understand it, I have to contact customer service to learn what I have been charged. In this way, a single touchpoint in a series of interactions has created a negative customer experience that could have a negative effect going forward. For other examples of poor service touch points in action, read our Customer Experience (CX) Comic Series.
As we describe in our Service Design offering, “We bring game-changing consistency across your environments, communications, products and processes.” This is achieved by analysing the end-to-end collection of touchpoints associated with the customer lifecycle and creating journey maps. This includes interviewing business, marketing and support staff during interactive design workshops. From these journey maps, we identify which areas can be streamlined to add the most value and consistency to the service, the customer and the client, while adhering to business requirements. The processes and systems surrounding touchpoints are adapted accordingly, to optimise workflow for staff and produce the best quality experiences for customers.