How to identify your customer touchpoints

Understand and optimize key points of interaction to improve customer experience

Table of Contents

During the journey of a customer, right from the first time a prospect comes into contact with a brand to the time they become its customer, they go through several points of interaction. 

Outlining and mapping these key points within customer journeys can help brands optimize customer experience and provide a good customer experience.

It is important to understand customer touch points as it can help significantly improve interactions with customers. Additionally, touchpoint mapping can even prove to be the reason consumers become loyal customers to your business.


What are customer touchpoints?

Customer touch points refer to the points of interaction between a business and a customer that occur during the customer journey. Touch points significantly affect customer experience and brand perception.

There is a wide array of touchpoints, identified and unidentified, that comprise pre-purchase , during purchase and post-purchase communication. At each of these stages, the type and medium of communication varies. Variation is also noticed in the nature of interaction. For example, before a purchase, during a purchase, and after a purchase. You can also call them the different types of customer touchpoints. 

Let’s understand them in greater detail.

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Types of Customer Touch points

Customer touch points can range from a customer visiting a physical store or website, to a customer making an online purchase. In order to understand these touch points better, we divide them into these three broad categories:

  1. Before a Purchase
  2. During a Purchase
  3. After a Purchase

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Before a Purchase

These are a few examples of touch points that occur before a purchase:

  • Social Media 

Social media platforms allow businesses to access millions of people and potential customers. By using the right hashtags and paid ads, among other features, it can be a useful tool in the process of customer acquisition. A brand’s social media platform can even be used to boost brand reputation. 

  • Word of Mouth

Word of mouth, or referrals, can prove to be one of the most effective forms of marketing for brands as people often trust their family, or friends, when recommended a product/service/brand by them.

  • Company Website

This is another checkpoint that occurs before a purchase. When consumers visit your company’s website, it is important for this experience to be enjoyable for them. You should ensure your website has a user friendly interface, is up to date, and is fully functional. Customers may get frustrated and leave the website before making a purchase if they are faced with many glitches and errors, or are having trouble navigating their way through your website.

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During a Purchase

These are a few examples of touch points that occur during a purchase:

  • Customer Reviews

Most online shopping websites allow customers to post reviews of products, along with ratings, that may alter the way potential customers view a product. If you went onto a website to purchase a pair of shoes, and you read a negative review about the shoe being a different colour than shown in the pictures, then you may rethink your decision and decide against purchasing them.

  • Customer Ratings

Though customer ratings usually go hand in hand with reviews, the product’s overall rating is often displayed right next to the product itself. This rating could be displayed through star ratings (a rating out of five stars), or through a five point or ten point scale. This rating can significantly affect whether your customers choose to buy your product or not, as customers would rather purchase a product with a four or five star rating rather than a product with a one or two star rating.


After a Purchase

These are a few examples of touch points that occur after a purchase:

  • Feedback Surveys

Sometimes businesses send feedback surveys after product purchases. This feedback allows for the evaluation of customer experience and helps businesses understand how pleasant the purchasing experience was. These surveys can also help identify the reasons for a good or bad rating. Understanding the root cause of bad customer experience can help organizations improve on these areas in order to make this touch point more pleasant for consumers.

  • Billing

Errors in billing or a delay in responses can turn a good customer experience into a bad one, and may even cost a business a customer. Billing is an important touch point and businesses should pay close attention to it. 

  • Emailing Lists

Certain customers may want to receive mails from your business, regarding promotional offers and sale alerts. This emailing list creates an opportunity for businesses to upsell their products.


How to identify customer touchpoints?

Identifying customer touchpoints requires the brand to think from the customer’s perspective . Analysing points which will allow the customer to reach out to the brand and find what they are looking for , is the key to understanding customer perspective . This can be done effectively by asking your self questions such as:

What is purpose for reaching out to the brand ?

This could be as simple as getting to know what the brand offers or getting a problem solved . People use different channels of communication based on the type of reason that they have for getting in touch with the brand and where will it be addressed in a quick and effective manner . 

Where and how did you discover the brand and it’s offerings?

People get to know about the brand from billboards , social media , advertising , word of mouth , websites among other channels . The medium that markets a brand and makes people aware about it , also prescribes ways to get in touch with the brand to know more about it . These marketing channels usually act as a guide for prospective customer’s journey from becoming aware of the brand’s presence to buying products or rendering services from them .

Which touchpoint encouraged a prospective customer to engage in purchasing from the brand and where did the purchase take place ?

Customers tend to pay more importance to certain mediums such as customer reviews , one on one interaction , email promotions etc , as a reliable source of gathering information before trusting and purchasing from a brand . Identifying these key touchpoints and working on improving them can greatly enhance the reach of brands and encourage increased buying . It is also important to know where did the customer purchase from , to decide if customers prefer online or offline buying , automated or interactive purchases and  company website or an online shopping platform . 

Where do you go when you want to interact with the brand post purchase ?

Post- purchase , customers get in touch with brand to avail after sales services or get their grievances redressed . Most people look for active interactions via phone calls as they get to talk to a brand representative and get on the spot solutions as against automated interactions through emails or websites where the redressal procedure might take up some time .

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List of key customer touchpoints

  • Live chat
  • Chatbots
  • Social media
  • Events
  • Online advertisement
  • Customer reviews
  • Product demos
  • Phone calls
  • Product catalogue 
  • Email 
  • Retail Store
  • Newsletter
  • Feedback survey
  • Customer loyalty programs
  • Website
  • Referrals
  • Blogs

Brands should track engagement activities on all these platforms and work on constantly improving communication quality in order to enhance customer satisfaction. Customer should be kept in the loop about new brand endeavours through generation of visually appealing content such as videos and blogs. 

This creates a feeling of belongingness and keeps the customers on the lookout for new brand sponsored content . Increasing engagement is a matter of ensuring good customer experience on all the customer touchpoint . Prompt responses , quick and effective solutions to customer problems , constant sharing , maximum transparency are respectful approach are pillars of good customer interactions . As famous author  Kevin Stirtz puts it- “Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back.” 

Brands should look at touchpoints as areas influencer customer approach towards the brand . For each customer , these points are a representation of what the brand stands for and how it treats it’s customers . To make sure that each customer steps away from these touchpoints with the right impression , brands must actively monitor and update its communication channels.

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Mapping customer touchpints

Touch point mapping involves mapping each customer touch point in chronological order. It can be thought of as a summarization of the customer journey. Touch point mapping allows you to closely evaluate each interaction between customers and your business, in order to come up with strategies to improve these interactions. 

These are the steps that can be taken in order to begin touch point mapping:

  1. Identify touch points while taking into account the aforementioned categories (before, during, and after purchase).
  2. Map the identified touchpoints in chronological order.
  3. Improve each customer touchpoint to create a good customer journey from start to finish.
  4. Regularly review the touchpoint map to change and refine strategies according to new changes in touchpoints.


Gathering feedback

It is essential for every brand to understand how their customers feel about their interaction with the brands on various touchpoints . Brands should survey panels of customers from each of it’s touchpoints to get to know where they lack and fill up the gaps. 

For example: A customer who registered a complaint regarding a product that they purchased from the brand website, can be asked how they feel about the telephonic conversation that they had with the brand representative, was there anything disturbing about the tone or manner of speaking of the customer rep, did they find the solution to their complaint or was there any delay. 

Such questions convey the areas where the brand needs improvement. Such a feedback can be carried out online, through one on one interview, over the telephone or through focus groups. Data collected through such feedback studies can be used to increase customer retention, increase customer loyalty and result in enhanced customer experiences .

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