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What is a touchpoint? And why am I asking that now?

Well, you know by now that I tend to have a story or a situation almost every week that inspires me to write a blog post. Today is no different.

So, back to my question: What is a touchpoint? There are many different ways that people define it, but in a nutshell, it is a place or point that a customer touches, or interacts, with your brand; those interactions can be in-your-face obvious or they can be those little things that may be less obvious or not as visible. And that is what brings me to today’s inspiration. I’ll start with the story.

Friday night is pizza night with my boys. Last Friday, after their taekwondo class, the boys wanted to go to the Domino’s store next to the dojang to order a pizza. We walked in and placed our order. The cashier handed me the receipt, let me know the pizza would be ready in 12 minutes, and went back into the kitchen. The boys asked if they would call my name when the pizza was ready, and I said, “No. He didn’t ask for my name.” I brushed it off because we were the only ones in the store, but the thought didn’t escape me that he did have the opportunity to ask me my name (or, at the very least, see it on my credit card).

When the pizza was ready, another employee walked out and handed us the pizza, and we were on our way. I didn’t think about that interaction again until later that evening. I don’t know why, but it occurred to me that I should look at the receipt to see what he put on it in place of my name, if anything at all. I pulled the receipt out of my purse, and here’s what it said:

“Lady.” I had visions of Jerry Lewis saying, “Laaaaady!” running through my head.

Well, I guess it could’ve been worse. (Remember CVS, Radio Shack, Papa John’s, and others?) But, guess what? This simple piece of paper is also a touchpoint. They had an opportunity – a moment in time, a brief second, one question – to personalize the experience a bit. To make a connection, if you will, through this touchpoint. Actually, I don’t even want to call it a personalization. I want to call it a human touch.

Contrast that with another experience.

Sunday is bagel morning with my boys. Yea, I love our traditions. And so do the boys! Bagel mornings are always at Einstein Bros. Bagels. I’ll have to write in detail about Einstein Bros. another time, but it was a totally different interaction. The experience there is consistently great. After they take my order, rather than giving me an order number, they ask for my name. (I’m not a number! I’m a person!) And when my order is ready, they call my name for pick-up – and many times, like they did this past Sunday, they bring the order to my table for me. They don’t have to do that. They just do. Here’s what the their receipt looks like:

No doubt in my mind whose order this is! Or about who cares about their customers.

Domino’s has a lot to learn. But the good news is that there’s a simple fix here, really. That one simple fix can make all the difference in this situation. Train your employees to ask their customers for their names – and then address them by their names. I would call this common sense, but I’m reminded daily that common sense is not so common. So this particular piece of the process needs to be trained.

Isn’t the human touch much better than being a number or a “Hey Laaaady!”

It starts with respect. If you respect the customer as a human being, and truly honor their right to be treated fairly and honestly, everything else is much easier. -Doug Smith

One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising. -Jim Rohn