Part 1: Inspect Your Touch-Points

Let's face it. Most customer experiences are mediocre. They leave us feeling pretty much the way we felt before the experience.

It's kind of like eating a bowl of pea soup. People rave about lobster bisque or shrimp gumbo, but never about pea soup. What would happen if you served your customers lobster bisque instead of pea soup? Transitioning from mediocre to magical takes effort, inspection, and execution—so let's begin.

First, inspect customer touch-points. A touch-point is any producer/customer interface where the customer gets an impression of the producer's service, product, or brand. A customer's experience is the sum of all their touch-points. Just one poor touch-point can spoil the producers's service reputation in the mind of that customer.

So let's take a journey with a typical customer of Perfect Ready-Mix. Your touch-point analysis should include many more items and a more in depth examination than below, but this will give you a start.

Touch-point #1: Customer is visited by a sales representative of Perfect Ready-Mix.

  • Did the sales rep arrive at the agreed upon time? If not, did he communicate that he was on his way?
  • Was the sales rep appropriately dressed, professional, and prepared?

 Touch-point #2: Customer calls Perfect Ready-Mix to place an order.

  • Is the phone answered promptly and with a professional greeting?
  • Is the customer service rep courteous, friendly, and helpful?
  • Does the rep use his knowledge to guide the customer to appropriate mixes, etc. if needed?

Touch-point #3: The Pour

  • Is the truck (and the driver) clean?
  • Is the driver on time?
  • Is the load the right slump for the job?
  • Does the driver interact with the customer appropriately and handle all safety issues up front?
  • Does the driver washout in the right spot?
  • Is there on-going communication with dispatch regarding truck spacing and job site details?

Touch-point #4: Billing

  • Is the invoice correct?
  • Is the customer notified of invoicing policies up front?
  • Is the billing department staff trained to deal with upset customers?

You get the picture. Every department owns a set of touch-points. A great exercise is for each department to list the touch-points they own. We will talk about what to do with the information in the next column.

Joan Fox is a customer experience consultant to the ready-mix industry and a popular conference speaker. Telephone 513-793-9582 or e-mail joan@joanfox.com.