There’s huge potential in customer communication – you just need to know where to look.

Here’s a question: How much time have you spent looking at your operational customer touchpoints recently?

Granted it’s not the most inspiring of questions. In fact, you’d be forgiven for dragging your mouse to the close button in the hope of finding something a little more inspirational to read.  But hang on for half a second…

A huge amount of effort goes into designing better experiences, investing huge amounts in CRM and CCM systems, VoC programmes, big data initiatives, the list goes on. All that investment and energy. Yet there’s so much potential for delighting customers and improving retention in “forgotten” communications.

So what are these ‘forgotten’ touchpoints?

I’m not talking your above-the-line, brand-aligned campaigns, or your targeted, personalised advertising efforts. It’s the stuff that so often gets overlooked in the customer journey but matters a great deal to your customers. Welcome packs, renewal notices, complaint responses, delivery notes, T&Cs, invoices, returns policies, instruction manuals, permissions, user guides, reminders, policy updates.  The really dry-but-vital stuff.

These are the unsexy, dry and, invariably, overlooked parts of the customer journey where there’s so much opportunity for improvement and still so little investment. Why worry about making them better when there’s more fun to be had elsewhere?

The orphan children of the business.

These touchpoints already exist inside most businesses but nobody wants responsibility for them.

Customer service teams often can’t retain full responsibility for them. Neither can Accounts – nor IT. Marketing doesn’t always get involved either. So they get produced by a little steering group of IT, Ops and Customer Services. If they’re lucky, they get farmed out to the PR or marketing agency’s junior writers to cut their teeth on.  No-one loves them.

But perhaps they should.  The research we’ve carried out with clients is pretty unambiguous – they matter massively to customers and they cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in workarounds, mistakes, complaints and lost business.

Thing is, these forgotten touchpoints really matter to customers. These are the communications that customers interact with most, that they take action on, that they need to understand.

The emotional impact

Any customer experience guru knows, the most important part of a journey is when there’s emotion involved. Imagine. A customer’s just bought your travel insurance because they’re about to leave on holiday. They’re stressed already – there’s packing to do, flights to check, hire cars to organise. So when your email confirming her insurance is hard to understand, a bit over-formal and the pdf of the policy reads like War & Peace, you’ve lost her already.  That’s your renewal gone for next year.  Imagine how much more important it is to make sure communications through the claims process are clear and helpful.  And that’s as judged by your customers, not your compliance team.

These are the communications that really deliver on your promises, when your customers need reassurance the most.

Changing perspective and looking more closely at them can show you potential moments of truth you’d perhaps not even thought of. It can open up doorways that have a significant impact on customer perspective or NPS, all without costly infrastructure changes.

Hidden customer communication and forgotten touchpoints are a huge source of opportunity, not just to save a significant amount of budget, but to improve the overall quality of the communications that will delight customers when they need you to delight them the most.

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