Customer touch points and the “wrapped product”

October 30, 2009

In my last post I talked about the customers’ experience cycle as they engage a product or service. Going through the cycle a customer moves from awareness of need at the beginning through use in the middle to disposal at the end. A critical insight is that this cycle provides multiple opportunities along the way for supplier companies to engage or “touch” that customer and leave an impression – go0d or bad. What I want to share in this post are some brief thoughts on the importance of exploiting customer touching opportunities and thinking broadly of  what you can bring to bear to do that.

I argue that your development teams have a broader array of capabilities and capacities at their  disposal to work with to design market winning new offerings than you might think – i.e. the core product or service they are developing and everything that your company wraps around that core product and service (see below – what I call the “wrapped product” and others have called the “augmented product”  or “the product with a capital P”.)

Wrap around3

The key for the team is to explicitly design the experience at each and every key customer touchpoint  i.e. the places where your wrapped or augmented product touches the customer as they move through the full experience cycle – so that in total these experiences add up to the market winning combination. Customers (particularly B-to-B customers) may tell you that the key factor in their buy decision is the value they receive in using your product or service but how often is what they get most excited talking about is the good or bad experience they had at the purchasing or service/support touchpoints.

As an aside, the “customer touchpoint” concept and tools like “customer touch point mapping” are actively used in the customer experience community particularly by those focused on the functioning of customer call centers where the “touching” of customers is obvious.

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