Non-touch-points or, what anti-matter has to teach us about customer experience

I recently caught the end of a panel discussion where Frank Capek, CEO of Customer Innovations Inc, appeared to be upsetting an apple cart of debate about how you improve customer experience. He was exhorting the audience to measure their customers’ non-touch-points.

Non-touch-points. Elusive as anti-matter. Like getting the Polo mint quality control team to work on improving the hole.

It didn’t help that I’d missed the start of the discussion, so this esoteric notion was out of context. Non-touch-points stuck in my head though and it’s been knocking around ever since. Eventually I had to look it up and here it is in a post from four years ago.

The most influential elements in the customer experience often happen at the non-touch-points, says Capek. He cites a jewellery retailer. For its customers the most influential points of their experience happen outside of the shop: when they consider buying a wedding ring, for example, and the point they go down on one knee.

Touch-points in the customer journey - from Customer Innovations Inc

If the store could come up with a service that would have a positive impact at such an influential and emotionally charged moment, that would truly differentiate its service. Capek doesn’t let on what his jewellers did. But, perhaps understanding the heightened emotions that accompany a proposal, and offering something as simple as a 24 hour turnaround for resizing an ill-fitting engagement ring, might deliver a real customer experience edge for a jeweller. And engender real loyalty. That customer might be back at that shop shortly after, this time ordering wedding rings.

But for many companies, customers’ experience lifecycles do not come with influential non-touch-points that are so easy to identify.

What if you can’t pinpoint the anti-matter? Should you resign yourself to the ‘better sameness’ of incremental improvements to traditional touch-points?

Well, no. I’m with Capek. I think that the chance to be different is to be found at the non-touch-points. We are now in the very fortunate position of being able to find out just what customers are thinking, and when and where their emotional and influential moments occur. Because they’re sharing it online.

The challenge is to is get your customer experience team talking to your social media team. They might sit in your call centre, or in your marketing department, or in your comms team. They might be that intern… The chances are, they are at least halfway to identifying the anti-matter for you. The first thing most companies do when they start to participate in social media is to listen to the conversations that are happening about and around their brand.

So then the challenge becomes one of insight – how do we turn the data that’s rolling in into actionable recommendations? And then the next, bigger challenge – corporate culture – how can we get our teams talking together to make something happen?


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