This CX Mini Masterclass explores the concepts of customer touchpoints, experiences and journeys. The term touchpoint is so commonly misused. In this episode, show host and CX expert, Julia Ahlfeldt provides clarity around the correct definition and the role of customer touchpoints in experiences and journeys.
The customer touchpoint controversy
In my first CX Mini Masterclass episode, I explored the definition of CX. In the second CX Mini Masterclass, I looked at the difference between customer experience and customer service. This episode tackles a concept that is so frequently misrepresented in CX, that I personally believe it’s a surefire way to identify someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about with CX: customer touchpoints. People often use this business buzzword when they are actually describing a customer experience, so in this episode I also covered how touchpoints related to experiences and journeys. Here are my definitions of each:
- Customer touchpoint – these are the channel of interaction or the conduits for customer experiences. For example, If I call my bank the call center is a touchpoint. If I use and app to order something online, the app is the touchpoint.
- Customer experiences – The culmination of actions or interactions that a consumer has while they are fulfilling various consumer needs in their lives. When these actions and interactions are prompted by the customer, it’s often as the result of a specific “job to be done” that the customer has identified. For example, I might call my bank to check in the status of a recent credit card payment, or perhaps I use an online shopping app to buy a Christmas gift for my mom. Both of these are examples of customer experiences.
- Customer Journeys – This is the series of experiences that a customer has as they are trying to fulfill some greater goal or objective in their life (though it doesn’t necessarily have to be something they are actively acknowledging this as a “goal”). For example, I might want to maintain a good credit rating and therefore want to check that my credit card payment posted on time. Or I might be shopping for that Christmas gift for my mom because I want to be a thoughtful daughter. The Christmas gift journey in particular, is likely to include interactions with multiple brands, which is an important thing for journey-mappers to remember. Customer experiences don’t happen in a vacuum. The consumer ecosystem is vast an includes a whole ecosystem of stakeholders.
It’s important to note in the examples listed above that each journey probably includes many different experiences, and that each experience probably incorporates lots of different micro interactions. There isn’t a set “scale” for journeys. When mapping journeys and experiences, you can zoom in or zoom out as needed. The examples of customer experiences that I’ve listed above have enough steps and interactions that you could probably even map them as little “sub-journeys” or “episodes” on their own right.
If your head is spinning, don’t worry. I’ve got several CX Mini Masterclass episode in the works dedicated to practical how-to’s about journey mapping. Stay tuned in December!
Ways to keep learning about CX
If you’d like to checkout more of these CX Mini Masterclasses or listen to my longer format CX expert interviews, check out the full listing of episodes for this CX podcast.
And if you are looking to super-charge your CX skills and continue learning, be sure to check out CX University. They have a great array of CXPA accredited training resources available on a flexible monthly subscription plan. Use the code PODCAST10 to get 10% off your first month’s subscription and support this podcast.
Decoding the Customer is a series of customer experience podcasts created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and one of the top experts in customer experience management. To find out more about how Julia can help your business achieve its CX goals, check out her customer experience advisory consulting services or get in touch via email.