How Your Digital Touch-Points are Harming Customer Relationships

patient_exam I wrote a post a while ago about the problems your email subscribers are going through.  I see the problem has now spread to many digital touch points you have with customers.

Many of these touchpoints offer confusing,  unclear, or incorrect information that is damaging your customer relationships.  So let’s examine the patients, determine a diagnosis, and provide a cure.

The Exam

  • A webinar invite from a “Marketing Company” that is offering a free trial webinar (they usually charge for their webinars).  The invite asks me to confirm participation, but there are no clear directions or a link to confirm.  The invite also has the incorrect time on the email invite, and then I find I can’t even logon to the webinar once I learn it is happening.  And they want me to pay the next time?
  • A very popular blog that I subscribe to via an RSS feed aggregrator sends me a daily digest email that only shows a message that this popular blog has changed, while all other subscriptions show at least a portion of the latest post. Too much other content to read so I rarely click on the link to go read the blogpost.
  • Clicking on the “Change My Email Address” link at the bottom of newsletters only offers the ability to cancel my subscription instead of change it. Fine, I’ll just unsubcribe then.
  • Downloadable file names are meaningless and don’t help me remember the content or the business it came from. When cleaning my desktop it’s just easier to just drag it to the recycle bin.
  • Social Media apps that I add to my profiles or pages are just too hard to use or don’t do what they claim. “Remove App” is very easy to click.
  • Complex sign-up and security procedures for content that isn’t that important. Required fields such as date of birth and security questions for email newsletters just doesn’t make sense.  I’ll just move on to less secure content.

Possible Diagnosis

  • There are no standards for customer communications.
  • There are no quality checks of the content.
  • There are no customer experience checkpoints or testing.

A Cure

  • List all the different ways your business communicates or touches customers (blogs, downloads, email, RSS feeds, social media, website, webinars, etc).
  • Determine the call to action for each touch point.  What do you want the customer to do at each touchpoint?
  • Test each touchpoint and not just once – for quality, calls to action, and customer experience. Test them on a regular basis because a change in your website may impact any or all of the touchpoints you didn’t consider.
  • When testing, do it from the customer’s perspective. Does it allow the customer to do what they want and what you want them to do?
  • Here’s the key – don’t have those who created the touchpoint/process test it themselves. You are too close to it and will often miss critical issues. Have someone else test it who is not at all related to your department, or have trusted colleagues or friends outside your company test your process.

Hopefully this will prevent the spread of this disease, and keep your business and your customer relationship healthy.

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2 Responses

  1. All good points Paul. Of course, that also assume that the poor guy who is told to do this doesn’t have his boss hovering over him, telling him to “get the mass e-mail out NOW!”. In this economy, I have seen our overhead staff cut and asked to do more with less, and the demands for each employee has shifted from ‘How can I get the company more customers?’ to ‘How can I keep my job and keep from going insane in the process with all this extra work’. As someone who has taken a paycut recently in the defense field despite winning my company $6.5M in business last year, I can tell you that I fall into that latter category :)

  2. Good points Yarry! It’s especially tough these days with layoffs, which means those who stay now have new job in addition to their existing job. Part of the solution is determining how customer-centric, and therefore sustainable, a business is, or wants to be. You can only do so much, and an empolyee’s stress and ultimate disengagement will certainly impact customer relationships.

    Testing these touch-points should part of “the customer process.” I think it’s best described in terms of ROI. No, not Return On Investment, but Risk Of Ignoring (thanks Paula Drum http://bit.ly/wHZv8 ), which is the risk of not seeing your business from the customer’s perspective. Yarry, if all else fails, take frequent breaks, exercise and eat right to control your stress.

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