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It’s all about the experience

You’re driving in your car, sunroof open, enjoying the beautiful summer breeze. You see a billboard — a beautiful beach, a lady in a stunning bathing suit, and a name, Daniel’s Swimwear. You need a new bathing suit and this one looks like it’s just your style. You eagerly head downtown and find the location. The front window doesn’t look much like that billboard, but not deterred, you go inside. The blaring rap assaults your ears; you can barely walk through the aisles, crammed as they are with merchandise. A teen or even maybe a tween approaches you. Chewing gum, holding up a barely there bikini, she says, “Isn’t this sick.” At that point you’re getting a pounding headache and starting to feel, well, sick. How could you have been so naive, how could you get fooled again?

What you see is not always what you get.

If this has happened to you, you recall only too well the sting of feeling lied to and deceived. Nothing — I mean nothing — turns off a customer more than an inconsistent experience. It’s high time you conducted a touch point audit on your business, and I recommend bringing a pair of fresh eyes along for the ride. The challenge is that when we are in our business day in and day out, we stop seeing like our customers, particularly a first time customer that has their radar high tuned to spot a fraud. Pre-Internet, when mass marketing was all the rage, it didn’t matter so much. Lose a customer, no big deal. There’s plenty more where that one came from, and who can they tell anyway? Today, they can Facebook or tweet their friends and those friends will tell other friends and so on and so on. I think you get the picture — news, the good, the bad and the ugly travels really, really fast.

So back to the audit. The term touch point refers to everything that “touches” your customer. To simplify, consider these three categories. Communications and Media – everything from your advertising to invoicing; Environment or Space – your location, offices, store etc.; and People – the ones that deliver the goods.

First, establish your positioning. Sit down and decide what message you want to convey. Then document it. Next, pull together samples in the three key categories and run them through your “positioning” filter. Are they on target or wandering off in a different direction? Prioritize and identify your biggest “touch point offenders” and plan to change them ASAP. You should set a three-month goal to get all of your offenders in line.

From there, conduct your “touch point” audit annually to make sure your brand and all its touch points are still in line. Your customers will thank you; most likely by providing you with a larger share of wallet!

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