Online and offline customer contact points, also known as touch points, are business facets that deal with how a company interfaces with its customers. Although touch points technically deal with a variety of people -- including customers, employees and share holders -- most businesses focus on their relation to how customers come in contact with the company’s products and services.
Online Contact Points
As its name implies, an online customer contact point is a point where a customer comes in contact with a company’s products and services on the Internet. Online customer contact points come in an assortment of forms, including website banner advertisements, search engine results and streaming video commercials. Some businesses offer services that require a customer to log in to an account, such as a bank. A customer that logs in to an account is interfacing with the company through an online contact point.
Offline Contact Points
When you encounter information about a business while not on a computer, you are interacting with one of the company’s offline customer contact points. For example, when you notice a fast food restaurant’s eye-catching sign while sitting in traffic, you are interacting with one of the eatery’s offline customer contact points. These types of contact points can take on a variety of shapes and types, such as print advertisements, word of mouth and unsolicited phone calls. Television and radio advertising are also examples of effective offline contact points.
Companies pay a lot of attention to how customers interact with their services and products, which is why businesses conduct meticulous research on how online and offline customer contact points affect business. For instance, if you’ve ever filled out a job application online, somewhere during the submission process you’re likely asked to indicate where you heard about the job opening. The company takes this type of online customer contact data into consideration when deciding where to advertise future job openings. Companies can also analyze how offline customer contact points affect business by paying attention to how sales of a particular sale item performs, for example, after the sale’s advertisement runs in the local newspaper.
While most companies spend a lot of money analyzing and implementing online and offline customer contact points, some have figured out ways to make money in the process. For instance, a sports franchise spends large amounts of money to produce, market and sell team apparel which, in turn, brings in even more money while creating offline customer contact points in the process. The sports franchise’s name and brand is exposed to hundreds of potential customers each time the fan wears the apparel. Some companies also use online customer contact methods to generate income without spending anything in advertising. For example, a sports TV network that allows online users to embed snippets of a program onto websites -- such as blogs and YouTube -- is creating an online customer contact point that can lead to higher ratings and more advertising revenue.