Customer touch points are the windows of interaction between an individual buyer and your business. This encompases any exchange, whether in person or via digital means. Research in the “State of the Connected Customer” report shows how modern customers are looking for interactions that are connected and contextualized at every turn. From product recommendations to proactive service, customers expect touch points that are uniquely personalized across their journey.

For business teams accustomed to owning only one stage of the customer journey, it’s a tricky proposition. Customers judge companies based on their experience as a whole — not just interactions with individual departments — and they expect consistency.

This can mean seamless touch points between departments, customized engagement based on earlier interactions, and other factors that make the customer experience more connected. Today’s customers seek contextualized experiences — meaning their engagement with a company reflects an understanding of past actions, product usage, and a myriad of other factors.

As brand channels multiply, many companies struggle to prioritize the touch points they invest in. If younger generations point the way to preference trends, however, social, online communities, and voice assistants are critical.

Sixty-seven percent of millennials and Gen Zers use voice-activated personal assistants like Siri and Alexa to connect with companies — 1.7x more than traditionalists and baby boomers who do the same.

What experiences are customers looking for before they even make a purchase? Many say that user-generated content — such as product reviews and photos from other customers — is important.

Personalization is another common thread that customers say is important. Even if a customer hasn’t interacted with a company, they still want to feel known. Customers are 2.1x more likely to view personalized offers as important, versus unimportant.
When it comes time to buy, today’s customers expect more than knowledgeable salespeople and a quick and easy checkout. Increasingly drawn to ecommerce sites, they value product comparison tools as well as mobile apps. On top of it all, they want to move seamlessly between various digital and offline touch points, often browsing on one in the morning only to close the deal on another in the evening.

Customer service isn’t just a reactionary cost center — it’s a core element of differentiated customer experience. To meet current standards, service must be quick, readily available anywhere, and even proactive.

Increasingly unfamiliar with the concept of waiting, customers are keen on self-service tools that empower them to find quick answers on their own; when they do need more personalized help, they’re not apt to wait on hold. Customers are 4.7x more likely to view real-time messaging as important versus unimportant.