The fount of decision is determined by the well of need          Customer IMPACT Agenda          An Agenda for IMPACTing t...
Customer IMPACT AgendaIdea in Brief                                                                                       ...
Idea in Brief Championed Best Practice:                                 Challenged by Customer Reality: Organizations enjo...
For example, Audi tracks the customer’s post-purchase experience and ensures that the salesrepresentative can keep abreast...
The customer decision-making chain – or the purchase decision making process of a customer– is aspecial form of the cognit...
“needs”, “values” and “wants” are interchangeable: something that is perceived by an individualas being necessary or desir...
but so far, there has been no rigorous capturing of data leading to a comprehensive understandingand structuring of these ...
When seen from the wider perspective of the Customer                                           Decision-Making Chain (see ...
otherwise – and its relationship to their customers’ needs, they can begin capturing informationabout those touchpoints as...
the decision making cycle that were not even being used by this very high value segment. And thiswas just the awareness pa...
Consumers wished to, for example, “start in voice self-service or the Web and get live assistancefrom an agent, and to sta...
In most cases, the engagement types can be mixed and matched as needed for maximum client-customer interaction benefit.The...
step could involve taking that new, fact-based insight and feeding it back into a corporate memoryof the customer – either...
making is the interaction with their friends in informal settings – so the bank occasionally rents thebest coffee shop in ...
Framing the Customer ExperienceThe focus of this discussion has been on the customer’s perspective. However, in reality, t...
While this can be done manually or with normal computer tools, there are also new softwarepackages that make the process o...
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Customer impact agenda engl


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Discover the Customer decision chain, the IMPACT model and the dedicated Touchpoints.

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Customer impact agenda engl

  1. 1. The fount of decision is determined by the well of need Customer IMPACT Agenda An Agenda for IMPACTing the CustomerCopyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 1
  2. 2. Customer IMPACT AgendaIdea in Brief 3CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE & THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA 3Defining the Decision Making Process 4SHIFTING to the Voice of the Customer 5Focus on Needs 5Touchpoints and Moments of Truth 7THE NEW BREAKDOWN OF OLD CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION 9Visualizing Customer Touchpoints 10IMPACT TOUCHPOINTS 10FRAMING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE 15AN AGENDA FOR IMPACTING THE CUSTOMER: 16REFERENCES 16Copyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 2
  3. 3. Idea in Brief Championed Best Practice: Challenged by Customer Reality: Organizations enjoy measured success with CRM But customers have taken control over their programs and direct marketing when they embrace decisions, utilizing more information sources, in Customer Experience Management as an extention particular social media, and making decisions far of their current customer centric programs. earlier than the existing techniques can come to bear. An Agenda for IMPACTing the Customer: An approach and a framework are presented that extend customer experience to include the structured understanding of the entire decision making process, focusing early on differentiated customer needs and touchpoint choices – particularly social media – then proactively impacting those touchpoints in a process that provides an updated, sustainable customer-organization interaction designed to understand and satisfy customer needs along every step of the customer’s modern decision-making journey.Customer Experience & the Impact of Social MediaCustomer Experience Management is the activity surrounding an organization’s structuredapproach to providing a customer with a positive experience. Traditionally, the focus has been onthe post-purchase sequence of events that begins when a customer actually starts using theproduct or service – and therefore begins measurably interacting with the organization. A recentbenchmark study (Peppers & Rogers Group and SAS, 2008) which defined and measured“customer experience maturity” within organizations decisively concluded that “customerexperience directly correlates to business results; many companies lack the understanding,technology, and willingness to adopt effective customer experience programs; and the businessesthat do ‘get it’ are gaining an edge against their peers, even in a difficult economy. … If anorganization views customer experience as a differentiator and ingrains its importance into itsculture, measurable results will follow” (Customer Strategist, Spring 2009, p. 7). Typically, astructured program around this customer experience chain would look like this:Figure1: Traditional Customer Experience ChainA more widely encompassing definition of the customer experience that includes, for example, astructured understanding of needs identification or options awareness, has traditionally not beenincluded in the customer experience chain because the attention paid to these very tangibleaspects has proven so important that it provided immediate and marked differentiators, even inmature and highly saturated markets.Copyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 3
  4. 4. For example, Audi tracks the customer’s post-purchase experience and ensures that the salesrepresentative can keep abreast of their customers’ status – because at some point they will needa new car. Even in areas where a focus on the customer has not been at the forefront ofdifferentiating strategies, like in the energy industry, there are clear leaders emerging. Lichtblick,the 100% green energy provider in Germany, maintains its leadership not just through acommitment to “being green” but through an extreme focus on knowing and understanding everypoint of contact with the customer, defining key metrics to measure them, setting targets, andthen checking – weekly – to ensure they are meeting these goals. It should come as no surprisethat Licktblick CEO Christian Friege has accepted the award for Germany’s most customer-orientedutility two years running (Deutschlands kundenorientiertester Energieversorger 2009 and 2010).Marketing has focused strongly on early identification of market needs, particularly through use ofmarket research and focus groups. Successful organizations have translated this understandinginto programs that help promote their products, services and brands using above-the-linetechniques, such as television and print advertising, to reach their general markets and below-the-line direct marketing techniques for their target markets.However, they have not typically concerned themselves in a structured way with understanding,capturing and proactively responding to the decision-making process of the individual. Indeed: thishas not always proved easy to do. For most organizations, the “needs identification andawareness” of target markets (handled many times by marketing) and the “customer experience”of the individual processes (handled many times by customer service) have been separate topics,but today’s customer reality, particularly with the take-up of social media, is forcing a change inthat approach.Defining the Decision Making ProcessAs seen from the prospective customer’s perspective, the customer experience starts with his firstinteractions with his environment at the time he begins to think about a need, want or value –long before taking a decision or actually purchasing and using a product or service from anorganization. And this is just the first step in a series. To illustrate this concept, the abovecustomer experience chain has been extended below to include its true beginning and “end”,starting with the earliest stages of the decision-making process and finishing with reflection…which could lead to continuing interaction for the next decision. We call this the customerdecision-making chain, as it encompasses the entire experience and maintains an awareness ofthe needs and values to be satisfied at each step.Figure 2: The Customer Decision-Making ChainCopyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 4
  5. 5. The customer decision-making chain – or the purchase decision making process of a customer– is aspecial form of the cognitive process every human goes through in making any kind of decision.Daniel Kahnemann and Amos Tversky were the first to define this well in their seminal research ondecision making and cognitive processes. An individual first becomes aware of a need or a want;then a search is conducted for alternatives that will satisfy those needs. After undergoing acomplex mental activity of prioritizing the best possible options, given all inputs, a choice orcompromise is then made. The evaluation criteria are not purely rational or logical but containstrong elements of emotion, personal values and risk assessment. After a decision is made, stepsare taken to approach and execute on that choice. A take-up and usage phase contributes to thefinal step, which is to learn from that choice and remember the decision process, along with itsconclusions and a chronicle of what took place, for future reference.SHIFTING to the Voice of the CustomerThe concept of one-to-one marketing – understanding the differences between customers, puttingthem in groups with similar characteristics, and treating these groups appropriately – is wellestablished and used in leading organizations. This differentiation has focused primarily onunderstanding an individual customer’s value to an organization and the behavior of thatcustomer throughout his interaction with the organization along the traditional customerexperience chain (Fig. 1). But with our expanded definition of customer experience, there emergesa business requirement to identify needs and interactions much sooner in the process, so thatappropriate, highly-differentiated responses can be undertaken while they are still relevant.This is only achieved by an organization shifting its perspective from looking out at its customersthrough the traditional customer experience chain to one of structured listening – starting veryearly on in the cycle – in order to base its segmentation on a combination of both the customers’needs and the ways they prefer to interact with their environment during decision making.Figure 3: Differentiated Needs and Interaction Customer SegmentsFocus on NeedsWhen it comes to business, there is a tendency to confuse the delivery of a product or service withthe satisfying of needs, values or wants. Equally fallacious is to assume that offering a sensationalnew product or service can self-generate the need for it; such apparent cases in the past weremost probably due to a lucky strike that fulfilled an existing customer need. “When we definecustomer needs around the jobs that customers are trying to get done, then we can see that newinnovations—even the most radical or disruptive innovations—do not create a customer need.They simply satisfy a customer need in an innovative way” (Bettencourt 2009). For our purposes,Copyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 5
  6. 6. “needs”, “values” and “wants” are interchangeable: something that is perceived by an individualas being necessary or desirable to having a good/better life. These can be broken down into basiccategories.Figure 4: Categorization of Needs, Values and WantsThis clear framework breaks down needs into Utilitarian, Social and Emotional components. Onthe left side of Figure 4 are the basic utilitarian, functional (or rational) needs. Convenient,Economical and Safe are all what could be called the foundational criteria of any decision. Thesetopics relate to the cognitive function that makes analytical, logical, rational, objective decisions,looking at all parts individually.In today’s business world, these elements are not simply “hygiene” factors: they show basiccompetence. Failing to fulfill these needs as a company may mean eventually forfeiting the right tocontinue playing in that market. A spectacular (negative) example of failure to get these veryimportant factors right underlies the global financial crisis, where the perception of the public isthat financial institutions neglected to satisfy and, in some cases, blatantly betrayed, their basicneeds for safety, economy and trust.Center and right in Figure 4 are the social (Prestige, Identity) and emotional (Pleasure, Sentimentand Spirituality) needs and values, which play an extremely significant role in any decision-makingprocess, as witnessed by the tremendous effort that advertisers, creative marketers and productdesigners pour into trying to address them.However, the systematic capturing of information about needs has traditionally focused ongathering information about the utility or functional needs – typically information that can begained through market research, focus groups, and surveys. These are used at a very high level toroughly understand a market’s needs. When it comes to the “soft” values of social significanceand emotion – needs of people, not markets – there have been some excellent academic papers,Copyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 6
  7. 7. but so far, there has been no rigorous capturing of data leading to a comprehensive understandingand structuring of these customer needs. However, identifying, understanding and positivelyinfluencing needs can be achieved by looking at a targeted customer segment’s interactiontouchpoints across their entire decision-making process.Touchpoints and Moments of TruthTo satisfy needs, an individual interacts with – indeed, experiences – the world around himthrough his five natural senses. And just as different groups have different needs, so they also goabout interacting with their environment in the decision-making process differently. From abusiness perspective, understanding the details of each point of interaction is the key to positivelyidentifying, differentiating and then satisfying those needs (with product or service offerings).Each of these points of interaction in the decision-making process can be viewed as a touchpointbetween individual and environment.The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Modern English defines a touchpoint as “the time in …development that precedes an appreciable leap in physical, emotional, or cognitive growth” – inother words, touchpoints include those moments of truth during which a person, under influenceof his needs, forges mental connections among his own decision-making criteria. And thesemoments of truth in the early phases of consideration turn out to be very important customerexperiences that contribute substantially to purchase decision-making.Any enterprise wishing to promote its brand, product or service will want to interact appropriatelywith these touchpoints before, during and after purchase or usage. This applies both to business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets.The emphasis on before and after is to highlight the deficiency in the way that most organizationscurrently focus on understanding touchpoints by looking at purchase or usage transactions.Examples of this include signup or purchase process, customer service, customer care, problemresolution and satisfaction surveys – imminently important activities, but insufficient to ensurethat today’s highly-connected consumers have the consummate customer experience.The classic channels of communication managed bymarketing – advertising, flyers, direct mail, invoices, letters,telephone interaction, web sites, email and face-to-facecontact – are all touchpoints through which companiesactively reach out to their customers, or vice versa. Theseinteractions are “easy” to register, track and measure – andfor the most part, they are indeed registered, tracked andmeasured. But in order to form a complete picture of thecustomer experience, that is, to understand whether (andwhere/when) it catalyzes a moment of truth, the touchpoints must be viewed from thecustomers’ perspective with regard to the decision-making journey, and not just from an isolatedfocus on internal systems and processes.Copyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 7
  8. 8. When seen from the wider perspective of the Customer Decision-Making Chain (see figure 2), relevant touchpoints can also be informal channels such as chatting with a friend or using a natural sense (such as taste, touch or smell) to gain additional input. While important for some decision-making journeys, these touchpoints are of the kind that organizations have heretofore not been able to monitor or participate in directly, except on the smallest of scales. But even thatis changing. The entire topic of social media represents a huge range of additional touchpointsthat are readily available and, to some groups, very important for their decision-making process.There is also a trend to surface touchpoints electronically via new platforms which combine socialmedia and traditional touchpoints with new forms of telephony, computing and electroniccommunication. Applications that scan a bar code while shopping and instantly compare prices,listen to a piece of music and instantly identify both the artist and music or use location-basedservices to identify alternatives close to the user are just a few current examples of this trend.But the fascination with the new technologies should not detract from understanding that – to thecustomer – this is simply another touchpoint that may or may not play a role in their decisionmaking.Whereas in the past, the private conversationbetween individuals around a product, offering orcompany remained private, social media and theother new touchpoints now facilitate theexponential sharing of those conversations andopinions, exerting influence in ways that are notonly important for individuals, but are critical forbusiness. This means that one customer’s momentof truth – whether negative or positive – can bepropagated to hundreds of others in a blink of aneye, and again to thousands of others in the nextblink. Market-leading companies are alreadystarting to treat social media in this way: as a cheapand effective “repeating megaphone”.The reality is that social media and other modern touchpoints are no longer merely interestingtrends to be watched: in fact, they represent additional, critical touchpoints that must beunderstood in the context of their relevance to each stage of the decision-making process fortargeted customers. And the need to re-evaluate and re-focus traditional channels, particularlytelevision and print advertising, around that same decision-making process is now more importantthan ever. Once companies understand each touchpoint – whether traditional, social media orCopyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 8
  9. 9. otherwise – and its relationship to their customers’ needs, they can begin capturing informationabout those touchpoints as the first step in positively influencing the decision-making processtowards their product or service.The New Breakdown of Old Customer SegmentationThere are many anecdotes about youth using social media touchpoints, and this fast-growingmarket segment has been termed “millennials”, referring to their coming of age after the year2000. It is clear that these young consumers, who take for granted the omnipresence ofcomputers and internet, will have vastly different modes of interaction with their environment –BUT this fundamental extension of touchpoints in the decision-making process is affecting everysegment of customers, even those that may have previously been “typed” with a fair degree ofconfidence. Let’s use a concrete example by looking at one very specific market segment: the“Super Granny”. The Zukunftsinstitut, a German Think Tank dedicated to research on changes,trends and mega-trends, defines a “Super-Granny” as a well-to-do, highly educated and activeretired woman who is open to new ideas and spends a large amount of her time, energy andmoney on her grandchildren. In this group, we look at a desire that a Super-Granny might have: tosupport her grandchild financially in the future for further education. This will comprise needsaround cost and financial return, fiscal safety, and convenience, as well as social significance andemotional factors.Traditionally (that is, up until about two years ago), this grandmother would have simply gone toher bank to open a savings account in the name of her grandchild or, at most, discuss options inperson with her bank’s customer service representative. The underlying needs would not havebeen discussed directly, but a decision would have been made that satisfied those needs. Andthere are definitely still a lot of grannies that will do just that.However, in a November 2009-based focus group session, it was discovered that the “average”Super-Granny will, first, search on the internet to gain awareness of her options; because she is aneducated, computer- and internet-savvy woman, this is a natural first step. Once she has doneresearch on a number of ideas and approaches she will next go to the public library and furtherinform herself on those topics, usually relying on independent consumer reports to gain anunderstanding of the options from a source that she trusts. Note that while she is modern in usinginternet sources, she is still not comfortable with relying on them as her sole source ofinformation. After that she will email or – more and more likely – “facebook” her friends andfamily to ask their opinions on the topic, usually giving them a short summary of what she haslearned and the options she is considering. She may use that feedback to make a call to a friend orrelative to get a point or two clarified, after which she will develop her short list. Then, and onlythen, will she visit an organization’s website, pick up a phone or possibly drop by a physicallocation to start her approach towards purchase.In this example, the current customer experience processes – CRM systems, customer careprograms, IT systems, etc. – are only able to capture data on, monitor and influence the parts ofCopyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 9
  10. 10. the decision making cycle that were not even being used by this very high value segment. And thiswas just the awareness part of the decision process!If we multiply the missed opportunities in this small example by the myriad new touchpoints thatpeople are using and their different needs, it is no wonder that we do not understand ourcustomers as well as before. Those additional touchpoints need to be tracked and documented.Visualizing Customer TouchpointsThe concept of capturing the customer experience through documenting touchpoints is not new.It was a technique first used in early 2000s to systematically document the customer experienceprocess for an organization’s products or services and identify all relevant customer touchpoints.From this, a graphical representation could be developed that depicted the current state of acustomer’s interactions with the organization.While very successful as a technique, these so-called “touchmaps” were often limited to looking atonly the very restrictive definition of “customer experience” – post purchase and usage (see Figure1) as seen from the organization’s internal perspective. Drawing on documentation of internalprocesses, focus groups of staff, surveys and existing customer insight, the touchmap created aninside-out snapshot focused primarily on the internal IT systems and business processes thataffected customer interfaces during the purchase and usage cycle, such as in the call center, onthe website, at the branch counter or ATM, or through direct sales contacts and emails. It isimportant to note that the touchmap captured only how systems and processes interacted withthese “classic touchpoints”: it did not attempt to record what the CUSTOMER was perceivingthroughout the decision-making journey. It was the marketing equivalent of looking at thefootprints of the animal as it passed, not at the animal itself.With the focus now shifted to understanding the customer’s perspective, a documentationapproach now requires different techniques. Customer surveys, customer focus groups and waysof recognizing the relevance of touchpoints from the outside-in perspective become the focus ofthe exercise. Even mass-market techniques can be focused specifically on targeted segments asthey walk through (and share what touchpoints they are using) along the customer decision-making chain.The business process understanding, the IT infrastructure and the customer intelligence functionsretain their importance but shift roles to become the major resources for impacting thetouchpoints identified as relevant for our customers. But first, it is important to decide how toengage these newly-documented touchpoints.IMPACT TouchpointsCustomers WANT personalized contact with their chosen suppliers and they demand continuity intheir relationships to their vendors across communication types. A recent survey conducted byGenesys found that “the ability to communicate across multiple channels is critical to loyalty”.Copyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 10
  11. 11. Consumers wished to, for example, “start in voice self-service or the Web and get live assistancefrom an agent, and to start in e-mail and have better integration with agent-assisted service” –without having to repeat all their information. And they were not bothered by the concept of theirsuppliers monitoring their touchpoints and even reaching out to them to “improve theirexperience through extended offers or help during self-service transactions”. In fact, 86% ofconsumers per country said “they would find proactive engagement either a ‘strong benefit’ orwould ‘welcome proactive assistance’ when they were stuck on the Web or in self-service”. (TheCost of Poor Customer Service: The Economic Impact of the Customer Experience and Engagementin 16 Key Economies, Genesys, November 2009).In many industries, this has already been implemented for the “controllable” touchpoints:customer service centers, websites, written communication, self-service contact centers.However, others, such as many of the social media touchpoints, cannot and should not be“owned” or controlled. Indeed, this fallacy is a tripping stone for many companies who attempt toharness the strengths of social media in all the wrong ways. In Socialnomics: How Social MediaTransforms the Way We Live and Do Business, Erik Qualman draws the following pertinentanalogy: “Now and in the future, marketers need to adjust their way of thinking because it’s no longer about building out the existing database. Instead, you could be in communication with fans and consumers on someone else’s database (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.). Yet, many companies fail to grasp this new concept. They build elaborate YouTube or Flicker pages, placing callouts and click actions that send the user outside the social network, often to their company website or a lead capture page. These companies still believe they need to get users into their prospecting databases in order to market to them. They are doing a disservice to their loyal fan base and in turn a disservice to themselves. It’s analogous to meeting a pretty girl in a bar and asking if she would like a drink. When she responds ‘yes,’ rather than ordering a drink from the bartender, you grab her and rush her into your car and drive her back to your place; because after all, you have beer in your fridge” (Qualman 2009).While it is still important to get potential customers into the database, at the same time there is aneed for alternate approaches for those situations where it is not practical, appropriate or possibleto simply “capture” the customer. And a decision on that approach needs to be taken at eachtouchpoint.At each touchpoint, especially in the uncontrolled/uncontrollable social media channels, it isnecessary to determine which types of interaction make most sense and then decide how toengage with the customer appropriately along the decision making journey. We have identifiedfive types of engagement that an organization can exercise with these touchpoints – and a fittingmnemonic for them – described here in order of increasing level of influence and involvement: Ignore, Monitor, Participate, Activate, ConTrol: IMPACTCopyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 11
  12. 12. In most cases, the engagement types can be mixed and matched as needed for maximum client-customer interaction benefit.The first step is recognizing that a touchpoint exists and may have relevance. From there, thesenext levels involve making the conscious decision as to whether one should do anything proactiveabout the particular touchpoint, and if so, what.Ignore: This is a documented go/no-go decision. For any touchpoint that is currently irrelevantor of little to no interest to target audiences, any level of proactive engagement can carry a highcost: precious resources should not be spent frivolously. In this case, the best approach is to takethe documented, definitive decision to ignore the touchpoint for the present.A good example here is Second Life, the free 3D virtual world. While still an important marketingchannel to those organizations offering 3D virtual world products and services, many otherorganizations have found it not to be “relevant” for reaching out to and communicating with theirtarget audiences. This could be because Second Life does not figure as a relevant touchpointduring most customers’ decision making cycles for the targeted products or services.The decision can always be reviewed again at a later time to see if there is new justification fortreating that touchpoint in another way.Monitor: Any touchpoint that plays any significant part in customers’ decision makingprocesses should, at a minimum, be monitored. For traditional touchpoints, the methods are welldocumented: the entire topic of Customer Intelligence has traditionally been concerned with thecapturing of such touchpoint data that can be transformed into new, fact-based information aboutthe customer. For other, “modern” touchpoints such as kiosk, new telephony devices, etc., thesame holds true. The data is there and can be captured and monitored – if it contributes to abetter understanding of the customer.Social monitoring tools are becoming available almost as quickly as new social media touchpointsappear. Sometimes these are standalone tools: Twitter monitors, blog search tools, searchanalytics and news consolidation services are just some examples. But of even more significanceare the emerging tools and services that span ALL social media touchpoints, allowing anorganization to tailor its own touchpoint and search criteria through a single interface.Next it is important to decide whether the monitoring should be done as a standalone activity –i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, reports, etc. – or if it should rather be included into a morestructured process of data capture and utilization within the organization’s existing customerintelligence infrastructure.At a minimum, the monitored touchpoint information should be distributed to those within theorganization that have a clearly defined responsibility to take action for that touchpoint. AnotherCopyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 12
  13. 13. step could involve taking that new, fact-based insight and feeding it back into a corporate memoryof the customer – either in the customer data warehouse or the customer intelligence practice –so that it can be used to tighten and tune the accuracy of the models for describing the customeror – by association – the segment that accurately represents this customer.Participate: The next type of involvement is to participate, which means taking the decisionto assign responsibility within the organization for proactively replying or corresponding throughan existing targeted touchpoint that the organization did not create or control. Often, participatewill be the right involvement type for an existing social media touchpoint, since the conversationand interaction cannot be controlled or screened and, in general, there is a very wide audiencethat can listen in to the dialog between any two parties. Examples here include responding to acomment in an existing blog, interacting with Twitter comments or openly joining social networksand communities and participating in the dialog.When participating, it is important to observe four fundamental rules: 1. Any participation must be real. It cannot be a ghost writer or an automated response. Many organizations have spent time and effort building a brand promise for their organization. This is where they need to ensure its authenticity. 2. Participation authenticity can be achieved employing an organization’s own staff or specialized external personnel who have been trained to respond in the organization’s name. The highest level of authenticity comes through enthusiastic customers who are natural advocates of the organization. 3. Remember that participation is not control; it will not always be possible to predict the course of interactions, or to stop activity that does not perfectly suit. 4. A solid social media policy, based on existing corporate, brand and communications guidelines, is how organizations best steer and guide the participation in touchpoints.Activate: In many cases, it is appropriate to go beyond participation – that is, to activate anew platform, offering a new way of providing target audiences with a way of exchanging andcommunicating via this touchpoint. Some examples here include forums, communities, blogs,ideas capture and product/service rating mechanisms. Frosta, a provider of ready meals, runs aforum site that proactively encourages comments – both good and bad – about the meals itprovides. The occasional negative comment is far outweighed by the sense of community andcloseness generated by the users of the forum. In addition, it provides valuable insight into futureproduct requirements.Activation can happen even for touchpoints that are not online or social media. The Italian bankBanco Mediolanum knows that a touchpoint with key implications for their customers’ decisionCopyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 13
  14. 14. making is the interaction with their friends in informal settings – so the bank occasionally rents thebest coffee shop in each town and then simply invites their customers to bring a friend along. In allcases when a touchpoint is activated, the organization is the facilitator – not the owner – of themechanism.Many of the best examples of Social Media and Social CRM, whether planned or impromptu, turnout to be very good examples of activation.ConTrol: There are touchpoints that can be controlled. A call center, an email channel, a website, a retail location or direct sales staff are all examples of touchpoints that an organizationowns, and therefore can (and should!) control. In fact, there is a danger in not doing so: recently amajor European telco was lambasted in the media for having responded to a comment on Twitterwithin 20 minutes – but only because the equivalent email to the official customer supportaddress was never answered at all. Bad press for an apparently good customer service response(quick reply to a Tweet) is unfortunate, but failure to react to customer inquiries that comethrough the proper, company-prescribed channels is perhaps unforgivable.Touchpoints that we can control are still the most critical in any decision-making process exactlybecause customers KNOW we own those touchpoints and they expect a professional client-company interaction. However, those touchpoints, whether call center, email or physical location,are sometimes expensive to maintain -- which is exactly where alternative controlled touchpointscan come in: Dell has made a huge success of going from email-based to community-basedcustomer interaction, where not only staff but also other, user-rated experts help answercustomer questions. Customer satisfaction is up and costs are down – all thanks to understandingthe IMPACT of alternative touchpoints.Even traditional above-the-line marketing “channels” such as billboard and television advertisingare being refocused based on a better understanding of where they play as touchpoints in targetcustomers’ decision-making processes. A good example comes from The Economist, who knowsthat advertising on newsstands around London is extremely relevant as a reminder touchpointthat reinforces its loyal readership with the message “I am proud of being a part of thiscommunity”, which naturally supports customers in renewing their subscriptions but moreimportantly serves as an occasional prompt to recommend the magazine to a friend.The five IMPACT types of engagement are all valid and relevant. Any given touchpoint type maywarrant more than one form of engagement depending on its relevance to the targeted customergroup. In addition, it may be appropriate to treat a touchpoint, say, during a customer’s awarenessstage differently than in the purchase stage. Deciding which engagement strategy is right forwhich touchpoints needs to be made within the context of a Customer Experience Framework andthe organizational capabilities that affect the experience.Copyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 14
  15. 15. Framing the Customer ExperienceThe focus of this discussion has been on the customer’s perspective. However, in reality, theactual – and any future desired – experience that an organization wishes to achieve will only comeabout by utilizing the resources that an organization already has. This will bring all itsorganizational capabilities to bear: people, brand, structures, business processes, informationexchange abilities and, more and more as the complexity rises, IT platforms and infrastructure.To create an ongoing process that nurtures the different segments with a differentiated customerexperience along the entire decision-making chain, it is important to not only understand but todocument the relationship between the outside-in customer experience process described abovewith that of the organization’s capability to transform and maintain the experience.This is best done by viewing each of the topics as a layer, with the various interface points to beidentified and linked based on the target audience, its needs and decision-making journey.Figure 5 Framing the Customer ExperienceWithin such a framework, touchpoint and decision journey elements can be prioritized anddescribed from the customer’s perspective. Both current and desired future states can be mappedand a gap analysis performed across the organizational aspects to highlight necessary changes.Such a framework is useful for developing scenarios, benchmarks and simulation, or for providingthe foundation for trying out new and innovative aspects of customer experience in a controlledand focused manner. Resource allocations, timing and change or implementation priorities can behighlighted and tracked.Copyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 15
  16. 16. While this can be done manually or with normal computer tools, there are also new softwarepackages that make the process of capturing, documenting and linking touchpoint interactionsefficient and effective.An Agenda for IMPACTing the Customer:For an organization to be successful with its customers today, it must fundamentally change theway it looks at the customer – by taking the customer’s perspective through his own decision-making journey. By employing a Customer IMPACT Agenda approach and framework, anorganization stands to gain a measurable and sustainable competitive advantage by extending itsunderstanding of the customer’s experience to include the entire decision making process,focusing much sooner on differentiated customer needs and choice of touchpoints, includingsocial media, then proactively impacting relevant touchpoints. The Customer IMPACT Agenda is aprocess that provides an updated, sustainable customer-organization interaction designed to helporganizations understand and satisfy customer needs along every step of the modern, tech-savvycustomer’s decision-making journey.ReferencesBettencourt, Lance A., “Debunking Myths about Customer Needs”, Marketing Management, AmericanMarketing Association, January/February 2009, pp 47-52Boztepe, S., “User Value: Competing Theories and Models”, in International Journal of Design, Vol. 1 No. 2,August 2007.Kahneman, D. Tversky, A.,(2000) Choices, Values, and Frames, New York: Cambridge University Press.Liebetrau, Axel, „Bankless Banking”, BankInformation, December 2009.Baxley, B., (2002) Making the Web Work, Indianapolis: New Riders Publishing, 73-90.Surowiecki, J., (2004) The Wisdom of Crowds, New York: Anchor Books, 26-29.Qualman, E. (2009) Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business,Hoboken: Wiley & Sons, 38 - 49.Copyright© Phil Winters 2011 all rights reserved 20110413 Page | 16