A Touchpoint (contact point, customer contact, Moment of Truth, point of contact) describes the interface of a product, service or brand with customers/users, non-customers, employees and other stakeholders, before, during and after a transaction. This may be applied in business-to-business as well as business-to-consumer environments.
ROI-oriented management aims to augment and optimize the impact and cost-benefit ratio of internal and external processes. As of 2011[update] a single communication channel seldom provides high-impact reach to all target-persons. This includes customer relationship management, buying and selling channels, distribution, service, internal and external communication, human resource management, and process-optimisation programmes. Transactions take place across multiple divisions and touch points that span the whole value chain of a company. For example, transactions may be made through classic advertising, intranet, or call centres, or through sales staff at the point of sale. Precise measurements taken at all touch points, accompanied by a systematic management of them, leads to an impact-oriented performance improvement of a brand's management.
The benefit of touchpoint analysis is that, while comprehending all relevant media and departments, it filters and measures all the relevant contact points from the target customer’s view. Touchpoint management allows companies to optimise all the interactions with the existing and potential customers, the internal communications and process management.
Example: touchpoints of a bank
A customer may have numerous touchpoints with a bank, including client service advisors, statements, promotional events, products, financial expert reports, website, intranet, IT-systems, research reports, sponsoring, word of mouth, e-banking, call centres, etc.
Which touchpoints are relevant for success?
With often over a hundred touchpoints identifiable within larger companies, the key question is: Which of these are relevant for the company’s success? Analysis and assessment is undertaken on the nature and impact (for example, on brand management) of specific touchpoints. The touchpoints which are relevant for a company’s success will vary by multiple factors including industry, product, service, target segment, etc..
From the overall interface landscape, central touchpoints can be identified, analysed and assessed. Such analysis enables companies to evaluate their processes, measures and engagements more holistically: future assets and budgets may be better aligned and applied to deliver a more sustainable contribution to the success of the company.
Across all industries touchpoints can be divided into paid (classical push media with advertising messages), owned (companies own marketing instruments, sales consultations, website, brochures, etc.) and earned ones (test reports, recommendations by customers,etc.). 
A large number of good tools are available to analyze specific touchpoints. Yet it is still a challenge to compare all the different contact points. New tools – like the Live Experience Tracking (LET) – capture key online and offline touchpoints. In addition to frequently examined contact points such as advertising and sponsoring, it also details store visits, sales force and PR contacts. Moreover it collects recommendations received and given (word-of-mouth). The result: all touchpoints are in one "currency".
Touchpoint management can be seen as a multi disciplinary strategic approach, which focuses on the optimisation of the performance in all internal and market oriented management divisions. Normally companies manage their touchpoints in different areas such as marketing, distribution, communication, service, public relations, investor relations or human resources. Due to specialisation, it involves the challenge of developing the contact points in a 360 degree view, which would enable a consistent brand experience over all interfaces and would simultaneously keep all the brand’s promises. For an efficient and consistent brand management and the build up of a distinctive brand experience, it is important to integrate the formal, content and time aspects of the communication activities.
Touchpoint management is becoming a key issue for successful marketing and sales management. Digital media are omnipresent and readily available. Confidence in classical advertising is declining, while customers’ real-life experiences and their associated word-of-mouth recommendations are becoming more important. Companies nowadays need to know how to most effectively reach their clients.
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