Contact points are points of contact between a client and a company or a specialist, influencing the decision to start or continue cooperation, to buy goods or to refuse them. How to find and work out business-critical points of contact?
For companies or online entrepreneurs, there are several key points of contact:
- social networks - pages, posts, replies to comments and messages from users, advertising, guest posts, etc .;
- site - site pages, additional materials (for example, webinars or white books), comments, online consultant, feedback forms, a call from the site, contacts;
- e-mail newsletter, commercial offers;
- contextual and banner advertising, search results;
- third-party sites containing information about the company;
- methods of communication with customers: instant messengers, mail, telephone, etc.
For online stores or services that cannot be provided remotely, online contact points always continue offline: a telephone conversation with a consultant, a meeting with an employee, delivery, service provision, maintenance, etc.
For successful interaction with customers, you need to find all points of contact and highlight important ones among them.
Infographics with key thoughts of the article, for those who are too lazy to read
Contact Point Chains
Contact points do not work by themselves, they form chains that build for each business process. For example, for a medical center, the chain might look like this: "contextual ad - site page - a question to an online chat consultant - make an appointment by phone - talk with an employee at the reception - fill out a card and questionnaire - talk with a doctor - positive feedback on the site or third-party resource - receiving letters in the mailing list or SMS with the suggestions of the clinic. "
One medical clinic will differ from the other in the number and quality of contact points. For example, on the competitors' website there may be a form of questions to the doctor or an interesting blog that customers like to read, but you do not. Or competitors take the phone from the first beep, and you - from the third. Missing points of contact must be promptly identified, which is especially important in a highly competitive market.
For example, a patient wants to undergo laser treatment for varicose veins. He enters the search query, sees two similar ads and compares two sentences among themselves.
On the first site you can immediately see several points of contact:
- request a call back;
- clickable phone to call immediately from the site;
- to make an appointment;
- Ask a Question;
- leave feedback.
There are other steps on the site that a client can take if he has any questions. The page contains an interactive button to go to chat on the site, chat in a telegram, in the facebook or instagram messenger to chat with a representative of the clinic.
Moreover, the order form itself becomes a point of contact - the client sees a mention of a profitable promotion: free reception of a phlebologist and diagnostics when paying for treatment.
On the first site there are several other points of contact, for example, the quality control icon, which opens a window for accessing the head physician, a special form of entry with an 8% discount on admission and other elements.
And what's on the second site? Only contacts without the possibility of a call back.
Naturally, patients will often be recorded in the first clinic. Her points of contact not only simplify communication, but also increase confidence.
Determining the importance of contact points
The importance of contact points depends on the number of competitors, the size of the company, its position in the market and customer loyalty. In the absence of competitors and the high uniqueness of the product, a detailed study of each point of contact is not as important as with high competition. However, completely free niches and unique products are rarely found on the market. For most entrepreneurs, it is important what impression the users have when interacting with the business.
A significant factor in determining the points of contact - the size and experience of the company. For example, for a small supplier who is just starting an activity, the initial stages of interaction with retailers are very important: commercial offers, appearance and actions of employees at personal meetings. For a large well-known company, the compred may not play a big role - the brand name will overshadow the shortcomings of communication.
Likewise, it is easier to keep old customers - they are loyal to the company and more favorably evaluate advertising messages. New customers should be very interested in the point of contact in order to decide on interaction with the company or the purchase of an unfamiliar product.
Types of contact points
Contact points can be positive, negative or neutral - it depends on the reaction of the target audience to them. The positive reaction of the client is that he noticed the point of contact and reacted as it should, for example, passed on the ad to the site. The final impression is very important here. So, if the client clicked on the ad, but did not find the necessary information on the site page, then the point of contact turns negative - the visitor will leave the page regretting the time spent.
We must strive to ensure that every interaction with the company leaves a positive impression - a useful and interesting site, friendly employees, quick resolution of negative situations, etc.
The third type of reaction is neutral, the visitor did not pay attention to the point of contact. Neutral reaction carries less of a threat to a business than a negative one, which causes negative feedback and hits the company's reputation.
Points of contact divide the client's attention in time:
- Short term - those that the client studies for a few seconds. For example, an ad contextual advertising. For short-term points of contact, the first impression rule works. Within a few seconds, the buyer must decide to continue the contact and move on to another stage of interaction.
- Long term - for example, the company's website, where, ideally, the client spends a fair amount of time. Here, the principle of long-term retention of attention works: interesting content, additional options, such as video, tests, interactive, useful information, etc. They should not cause irritation or negativity.
Contact points have different life spans:
- Momentary - commercial offer, description of a product or service on the site. They affect the customer only once.
- Repetitive - regular blog articles, mailing lists, pages on social networks. Contribute to building long-term relationships with customers.
The important point is that contact points affect customer perception. They should be remembered and different from similar points of contact of competitors, have certain chips.
At the end of the chain of points use the final chord - a bright link, the final interaction. Ideally, the final chord should give rise to a new chain.
How to determine the point of contact
In the process of selecting a particular company or product, the client compares various offers. You can order a great selling text, think over the ads, bring traffic to the website through social networks and newsletters, but it will not help if there is an employee on the phone who is unable to close the deal. The whole chain should be thought out to the smallest detail and work like a clock.
Work out contact points in two ways:
- Put yourself in the place of a potential client and go his way - from the first to the last touch point. It is even better to ask a third-party person to do this, who will take a fresh look at the situation and see the shortcomings.
- Walk the path of customer competitors - see where they thought of everything to the last detail, and where they have mistakes.
It is necessary to identify key points of contact, assess their condition in themselves and competitors, find ways to improve interaction with customers.
Each point of contact is evaluated by several parameters, for example:
- site - functionality, convenience, availability of the mobile version, download speed, design, amount of useful information, feedback, etc .;
- call operator - speed of response, call melody, operator goodwill, sales script;
- social networks - frequency of posts, their usefulness, user involvement, reaction to comments;
- Email - The pattern of response, speed of response, the design of the letter.
Customer interaction at each stage of purchase
To create a chain of points of contact it is worth remembering how a customer makes a purchase decision.
Stage number 1. Awareness of the problem or need
The client understands that he has a problem and is looking for a solution. For example, he needs to eliminate theft from the warehouse. In the process of finding a solution, he learns that there are special smart video surveillance systems. You can help the client see the solution using a blog or a social media page, referral marketing, when you are recommended by past customers who have encountered the same problem, remarketing with the display of advertisements relevant to the request.
Stage 2: Search for detailed information
The client, having learned that there is a certain solution, does not immediately make a purchase. He begins to look for information - in blogs, magazines, ask for advice from friends and in specialized communities. You need to understand where the client goes with his problem and where he can find information about the company. For example, in the process of finding ways to lose weight, a person understands that there is such a service as the development of individual weight loss programs.
This is where he can find additional information:
- Search results and contextual advertising - for example, there may be requests like the "Quick Weight Loss Program";
- Profile communities, forums - they usually ask questions about the effectiveness of various weight loss programs;
- Blogs, online publications;
- Social networks, especially YouTube and Instagram;
- Personal recommendations.
This means that the clinic that develops weight loss programs can use:
- A blog with customer stories and articles about weight loss techniques, healthy lifestyles;
- A site with interactive functionality - the ability to calculate calories for the day, create a menu, etc .;
- A series of webinars, newsletters or e-books with the first steps to achieve the perfect figure.
- Contextual advertising, which will lead people to the site;
- Social networks - pages with useful posts and demonstration of client results, YouTube channel with free webinars;
- Affiliate programs with beauty salons, hairdressing salons, former clients - discounts for friends listed, etc .;
- Incoming calls and requests from the site / social networks;
- Publications in blogs, magazines, online media, working with bloggers.
Stage 3: Comparison of the found options
A customer compares several companies with similar services or several products. The higher the cost of the product - the more thorough the comparison. The clinic should monitor the quality of each point of contact. For example, the site requires the ability to call back, chat to communicate with a consultant, a quick form of subscription to useful content. Required reviews and cases with the results of clients.
Step 4: Purchase Decision
The client chooses a company and makes a decision. This does not mean that the purchase will occur, the client only moves to the next step. Then it all depends on the competent drawing up a chain of points of contact. The importance of such elements as courtesy of the employees answering the call, the speed of answering and recording, the quality of the preliminary consultation, the convenience of payment, additional bonuses, discounts from the clinic’s partners gain importance.
Stage # 5: Buying Reaction
At this stage, there are two options - the client was satisfied with the purchase and leaves positive feedback, recommends it to friends or the purchase has caused negative emotions and frustration. With a positive response, it is necessary to continue interaction with the client - for example, to offer a program to maintain the achieved results, donate a discount card or a discount to other programs, think over a chain of letters that encourage re-appeal.
For companies selling goods, the continuation of contact with the customer will be a guarantee, further maintenance, and related services, such as winter storage of bicycles or tire inflation in a bicycle shop. For complex technical solutions, they develop training programs for the client’s staff and provide assistance in implementation.
Maintaining contact after purchase increases customer loyalty and frequency of repeated calls.
For drawing up and working out of points of contact it is possible to use schemes or mind-cards.
The customer moves from one link to another through the ideal chain of contact points, eventually reaching the final stage - making a purchase or closing a deal. And then maintains contact with the company in order to reapply in the future.