Touchpoints and the Digital Age: Research at Pyramidion

Kieran Kilbride-Singh is an MSc Marketing student from the UK. He worked with Pyramidion for three months, conducting research into touchpoints for his master’s thesis. This research is now complete. We will be presenting the results on 24th September at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. You can register for the event here.The arena of consumer touchpoints is one of great detail and variation. Yet it is an area that is often overlooked, despite digital touchpoints, and touchpoints in general, becoming increasingly important for customer interaction and satisfaction. Myself and Pyramidion are interested in finding out the significance, if any, the amount and type of touchpoint have on customer interaction within the high-tech industry. But just what are touchpoints and why are they important?

What is a touchpoint?

‘A touch point is any stakeholder interaction with a product, service or brand that occurs before, during and after a transaction.’

Anything and everything is a consumer touchpoint. An advertisement on TV is a touchpoint. When involved in a transaction process, the form of payment itself is a touchpoint – think Amazon and 1ClickBuy, and how smooth this makes the process of buying. When speaking to a customer service representative in a call centre or a store, this is a touchpoint. At any of these points, a good experience will have a positive impact on a company; a bad experience a negative one.

Two fundamental thought processes behind touchpoint marketing are:

  • Making the whole customer journey, from before purchase and continuing after purchase, a rewarding experience
  • Interacting with customers when they are most willing to interact with you.

 

If you know at what point a customer is most willing to listen to what you have to say, well then you better get talking at that moment in time. This alone will increase their satisfaction because they actually want to interact.

The rise of digital technology and online communications has also meant traditional forms of interaction between consumers and marketers are increasingly ineffective. Why would anybody pay attention to irrelevant TV adverts when they can search for exactly what they want on their smartphone or computer, exactly when they want to search for it? It is this digital ‘multi-channel’ consumer behaviour that is driving the need for touchpoint marketing.

Touchpoints in the high-tech industry

This research intends to explore current touchpoint usage in the high-tech industry. More specifically, I am interested in the significance that touchpoints have during interaction with companies and brands. How much do they really impact decisions? Do digital touchpoints have more significance than the physical? Is it possible to integrate the physical and digital worlds in a seamless flow of interaction? These are all questions that have formed during years of observing technology develop.

These questions do not just apply to the average consumer on the street either. There are bodies of research that suggest touchpoints are just as relevant in the business-to-business industry as in the business-to-consumer one. For me, it is this rise of technology and current trend in marketing research that has led to the exploration of touchpoints in the business-to-business high-tech industry.

Through the use of surveys and interviews, I hope to gain a range of views from both customers of the high-tech industry and the companies themselves. By looking at touchpoints from this dual perspective I believe I will gain insight into both sides of the touchpoint experience. For example, do customers of high-tech companies like to be contacted after they’ve purchased something, and if so, how often and through what channels do they prefer? Do organisations enjoy writing blogs and producing other such communications? And so on.

Collecting opinions will hopefully provide some answers to questions such as these, providing an understanding of the current use of touchpoints in the high-tech industry. These findings could possibly lead to some actionable changes – changes that could lead to better experiences for both customers and companies.

Outcomes

Touchpoints are an important part of every buying experience, be that a small transaction in the local store or a major purchase of advanced technology components. Both Pyramidion and I hope this study will add something genuinely useful to the on-going research being conducted into touchpoints. At the same time, we hope that the results will lead to some form of applicable marketing actions in the world of high-tech, leading to greater satisfaction for customers and increased client retention for companies.