Have you ever taken a close look at the experience your customers have with you?

The big concept of Two Hat Marketing is for all of us responsible for marketing our businesses (and that would be everyone in our companies) to see through the eyes of our customers. This is not only easier said than done, but it also often includes touchpoints we don't even think about.

Mapping your customer's experience is a great exercise for all of us (me included). This involves walking through the entire prospect/customer experience and listing every single point where the customer's experience is impacted. This list will likely be longer than you initially anticipate. For example, for most businesses it would include at a minimum:

  • Your logo
  • Emails
  • Advertisements
  • Mailings
  • Outbound voicemail message
  • Inbound voicemail message
  • Letterhead
  • Business cards
  • The way you dress
  • Your website
  • First impressions
  • How you answer the phone
  • Last impressions
  • How you take an order
  • How a product/service is delivered
  • Advertising specialties
  • And many other touchpoints

I just returned from a meeting with a national trade association where we mapped out the experience for their big trade show. We had dozens of touchpoints that impacted their customer's (attendees and exhibitors) experience — the airport, the hotel check-in, the restaurants, the buses, event registration, signage around the convention center, the security people, and more.

Obviously, there are many touchpoints in their situation that they have little or no control over. If an attendee arrives at his/her hotel late and gets walked, the association can't completely control that, but it does impact the customer's overall experience with the event. I'm betting there are touchpoints you don't have complete control over, too.

But can you influence a touchpoint you can't control? Nowadays, for example, when you order something on the Internet, it's common for the vendor to send you an email immediately after the product's shipped, with the tracking number and link. This gives the customer the opportunity to follow their order every step of the way. Even though AT&T doesn't have complete control over the delivery of my new iPhone, they've sent me a link to the UPS site so I can track it. They are helping manage the experience.

A key point is to remember that everything walks the talk. Every touchpoint matters to your prospects and customers. And every touchpoint impacts their perception of you and your brand. Every touchpoint does one of three things. It eithers MAINTAINS their perception of your brand, or it ENHANCES their perception of your brand, or it DIMINISHES their perception of your brand.

What are all the touchpoints in your prospect's and customer's experience? Are they congruent with your brand and your branding proposition? Map each touchpoint. Then analyze how impacts your target's experience and perception. Do you have complete control over a touchpoint? Then make darn sure it walks the talk? Do you have little or no control? Then how can you influence the experience?

Most businesses I consult for have never gone through the exercise of mapping their customer's experience, but believe me, it's worth it.