Part 2: How to Map a Defendable Advantage, Touchpoint by Touchpoint

By Hank Brigman

Part 2: How to Map a Defendable Advantage, Touchpoint by Touchpoint

To review Part 1 – Differentiation and the Touchpoint Economy, please see Volume 5, Issue 8, pages 28-29.
Part 1 can also be found online at:

sticky notesThe Touchpoint Economy

In the first part of this two-part series, “How to Differentiate and Build a Defendable Advantage – The Power of Touchpoints”, we explored the importance of each and every interaction, or touchpoint. Touchpoints are the physical, communication, human, and sensory interactions with and within your company. The power of touchpoints for both company and customer is increasing and, as a result, we find ourselves in a touchpoint economy. To maximize success in this world of empowered customers we need to master the Three Customer-Centricity Competencies:
-Identity: Define and live
-Intelligence: Right information to the right people at the right time
-Consistency: Standardize touchpoints

Consistency is the Differentiator

Of the Three Customer-Centricity Competencies, Consistency is the differentiator. Consistency solves the core experience problem of inconsistency. It is Consistency that separates the iconic customer-centric companies for the rest. Apple is always Apple. They are consistently Apple at every touchpoint. McDonalds, Disney, and Southwest Airlines have defined and consistently live who they are – their Identity – at each and every touchpoint.

Consistency across each and every touchpoint is historically the hardest part of becoming customer-centric. That is why it is the differentiator. The challenge for those aspiring to be customer-centric has historically been how to do so. Mapping is the answer.

Whether you call it experience mapping, journey mapping, or mapping touchpoints, it is the means of standardizing touchpoints and solving the core customer experience problem of inconsistency.

Five Steps to Mapping Success

Mapping is done in a workshop setting with a team of individuals involved in the experience being mapped. The steps of mapping a customer experience are:

  • 1.Map the current touchpoints of the experience.
  •       a.Use Post-It Notes as touchpoints on a white board or wall

  • 2.Evaluate the current touchpoints
  •       a.What do our customers want, need, and value?
          b.Based on that, what do we do well and what are our opportunities for improvement?

  • 3.Brainstorm possibilities as if there were no restrictions.
  •       a.How would we deliver a great customer experience/touchpoint if there were no physical, financial,       staffing, or technical restrictions?

  • 4.Design the new experience and its touchpoints.
  •       a.Establish the standards – the minimum level of performance expected every time.
          b.Capture best practices – what is over and above the standard.

  • 5.Communicate, implement, and measure (if applicable)

There are four roles within the team: Facilitator, Producers, Customer, and Support.
-Facilitator: This individual guides the group and captures the output.
touchpoint teams
-Producers: These are the group of employees who will produce the workshop’s output.

-Customer: The best-case scenario is that actual customers are involved in the process. In lieu of actual customers, or when actual customers can’t attend, the role of customer will need to be played by an employee. If this is the case, this role is best filled with an employee who is close to customers. Those role-playing as the customer should stay in character and function solely to provide the team with a customer’s perspective.

-Support: Support or ad hoc members are colleagues or vendors brought in by the team to add specific intelligence or to perform a specific function – for instance, to conduct a survey.

As the team works through the mapping steps, it should answer four key questions for each touchpoint:

  • 1.Customer. What is the customer trying to accomplish? What do they need, want, or value at this touchpoint?
  • 2.Identity. How can we best meet customer needs and wants? How can we make it easier for them while advancing (or not detracting from) our values and Identity? How do we want our customer to feel?
  • 3.Touchpoint. What are our goals with this touchpoint and how can we accomplish them?
  • 4.Best practice. What current and/or potential best practice would “wow” the customer?

Empowering Employees Enhances Success

This process empowers employees to define their own standards of performance. Staff are typically far more invested and dedicated to implementation success when they decide their performance standards rather than having standards dictated to them by a manager or owner.

Mapping Never Stops

Your company changes touchpoints and develops new ones on an ongoing basis. It is important to continually work to standardize touchpoints. These mapping workshops don’t represent a program or initiative that starts today and ends at some point in the future. The key to customer-centricity is that it is ongoing. Standardizing touchpoints via mapping is a competency that becomes a part of your organization’s DNA.

It is through mapping that your organization will tactically address the problem of inconsistency and drive the cultural changes that produce a defendable competitive advantage for the long-term.

Best of luck, and remember:

To your customers, you are your touchpoints.

hank brigmanExcerpts from TOUCHPOiNT POWER! Get & Keep More Customers, Touchpoint by Touchpoint (William Henry Publishing, 2013), foreword by Peppers & Rogers.

Hank Brigman’s methodologies and tools have helped drive over a billion dollars in additional sales with organizations from sole proprietorships to five companies in the Fortune 100. A sought after consultant, coach, and speaker, Hank has inspired audiences on four continents. The first to define “touchpoint” on Wikipedia, Hank is known as the Touchpoint Guru.,

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