What Is Customer Perception and Why Is It Important?
Customer perception doesn't come out of the blue and form overnight. Find out what this thing is and how to change the way clients feel about your brand.
Written by Olesia Melnichenko
Here is the situation. The product or service of your dreams as its creator gets on in the world. It’s making stable progress. This is the greatest thing that ever happens to the public (in your humble opinion). Though the feedback and reviews aren’t always “Great“. Why is that?
No matter how a brand imagines itself, the real verdict usually rests in the hands of the audience. That’s why your vision may be slightly different from the one your clients have. At the end of the day, your business does what it does for customer satisfaction.
What is customer perception and why is it important? Let’s break down all the nuances.
What is customer perception?
Customer perception is the way the audience feels about a business. It’s a certain opinion they’ve formed after a few interactions with a company. To be more specific,
it is defined as a process by which consumers sense marketing stimuli, organize, interpret, and provide meaning to it.Business Management Ideas
Those stimuli may be divided into two categories: primary and secondary. The former represents the product or service itself, its name, label, and other properties. While the latter comprises everything from the level of customer service a team provides to marketing or sales communications.
As the saying goes, so many men, so many minds. Customer perception definition may slightly differ from niche to niche or even take a new meaning. With that in mind, we surveyed the experts from multiple industries and they shared their unique thoughts on the topic.
For Mikkel Andreassen, CEM at Dixa, consumer perception is one of the major factors that help cultivate positive CX for any business. You can’t control customers, but you can emphasize customer experience and ensure that the customer’s journey is top-notch from the moment they land on your website to the virtual shopping cart. Given the competitive world of online business we live in, it’s crucial to provide the best possible customer service in order to build loyalty and retain your customers in the long run.
Sam Shepler, CEO of TestimonialHero, has a very interesting opinion, too. He claims that as the word “perception” implies, it’s all about visuals with today’s millennial and Gen Z crowd. Allowing your customers to express themselves through multimedia, particularly video, is one of the best ways to improve customer perception. Customers listen to customers, not to targeted ads, so make sure to provide an avenue for your fans (and worse critics) to talk about your product.
I would add for myself, that the concept in question is closely connected to the client’s motivation to engage with your company and buy from you. Realizing that motivation can help you as a business owner tweak your policies concerning marketing, customer feedback, and advertising.
Why is customer perception important?
Who is a happy customer? The answer is more than obvious: it’s a person who is completely satisfied with your product or service and is ready to spread the word. It all revolves around that experience a client receives from interacting with your brand.
As Nebojsa Calic, founder of CyberCrew told us, customer perception is important since it can drive more sales and increase your revenue, and understanding what your customers want, how they imagine the ideal company for that kind of service is key. Well, I couldn’t agree more.
Let’s see what the numbers say. 86% of customers are willing to pay more for an excellent experience. The latter is already overtaking the price and product as the key brand differentiator. That’s why offering cut prices every step of the way becomes a back burner. Time to shift priorities.
How? The options are miscellaneous. Offer well-oiled client onboarding, send a heart-warming welcome message, create a comprehensive product tour, or wish a happy birthday to a client with a postcard. These small (or maybe not so small) things are the core of customer perception.
If people perceive a brand as poor value or quality, a failure is inevitable. Nobody wants to welter in negativeness and bad reviews. What influences the overall client vision of a business? Read on.
8 smart ways to improve customer perception
Is it possible to form a client vision on short notice? Well, I would lean toward a “No”. This process may be a lifelong task. Everything depends on your strategy and the key message. If you want to hit it, do your best no matter what.
Here are some things to take into consideration when changing the way clients think of your business:
1. Rethink your customer support
How your staff assists clients may tell volumes about what you actually think of them and how willing you are to go the extra mile.
Proactive customer service fits into an image perfectly. If it’s adopted, you have a golden opportunity to speak up, be there for every client, and express initiative. In brief, to show your customer-first approach. How to do that right? Follow my lead 👇
- Send proactive messages. To catch a client’s attention from the get-go, shoot a proactive chat message offering help. Two reasons for that are A) a visitor becomes affected to a business and B) a positive consumer perception is forming rapidly.
- Gather feedback. Customers always know better and transfer their valuable thoughts to others. Finish a conversation by sending a chat rating or use a survey tool (Google Form, SurveyMonkey, Typeform, etc).
- Encourage self-service. Proper customer perception is impossible to imagine without it. You see, clients are more independent these days. Let them find what they are looking for on their own. Develop a profound FAQ page or take a step further by integrating a knowledge base into your product or service. To put it simply, keep pace with competitors.
2. Collect customer reviews
93% of clients look through feedback before having the final say. That means reviews can make or break the whole picture. Register on product review platforms and monitor the situation there.
No doubt perfect testimonials are a blessing, but realizing how to deal with angry customers is the high road. Taking your time to respond to negative feedback can actually improve the overall customer perception.
Invest in your support team’s training and teach them the basics. What are those? Answer with care, show empathy, and treat clients with respect. People feel everything and much stronger than you think.
3. Collaborate with influencers
Bloggers and influencers are credited now as the force to be reckoned with. Brands from all across the globe are ready to partner up with a 1M-follower account and splash out on advertising on Instagram and Facebook. Why? Because this way, you can communicate the message in the most lucrative and engaging way. The result: fresh audience, more sales, better traffic.
Amazon sponsored Khloe Kardashian’s baby shower a couple of years ago. More than 120M followers were able to get an insight into Amazon’s baby registry and maternity products. This is influencer marketing at its finest. And a customer perception example of how people can feel for a business after such a collaboration.
“We are a start-up! What if we want to delve into the world of influencers slow and steady?” you might ask. In this case, you might need the help of a micro influencer – social media influencers and creators with more than 10K but less than 100K followers. They are gaining traction as we speak and already have tons of promo offers. Choose your niche and go ahead.
4. Perform marketing activities
The way you demonstrate your brand through marketing has a great impact on customer perception. Tehsin Bhayani, CEO and Founder of AirMason has a really clever idea on this point: striking the right balance between the right marketing messages and the right exposure will allow the customers to develop a good and lasting perception that will make the same customers be your advocates in creating even better impressions in the future.
One of the sure-fire ways to express yourself through marketing is using holidays to your advantage. Prepare email newsletters promoting your products or services. A compelling copy, visuals, and a decent hour are the recipe for success.
We at HelpCrunch always aim to bring benefits to our blog readers all year through. Holidays though are THE time when we want our audience both to celebrate with us and find out something worthwhile. That is why our content team delivers authentic material for festive occasions such as Christmas and Halloween (oh, and the heart-breaking Valentine’s Day taglines to romanticize the loveliest season of the year are included!).
5. Share company values
Customers usually want to deal with brands having similar values to their own. That is how consumer perception develops. They put two things together and make the statement. I want to give two vivid examples here.
- Zappos core values: you might have heard about the company’s excellent customer service. Actually, it’s one of their Four C’s, together with commerce, company culture, and community. These aspects “helped them deliver happiness“. Customer perception changes for the better if a client is satisfied with the service, doesn’t it?
- Patagonia’s charity: this brand favors environmental safety, so do its clients. When Patagonia received a $10 million dollar tax cut, they donated the whole amount to fight climate change. What a lovely initiative!
Even if you’re a small company owner, express its values in any way possible. Display on your website, create a proper About Us page, or convey them in your customer service philosophy. It’s about your creativity and imagination.
6. Recognize your mistakes
Where are clients more active now? You guessed it right: on social media.
When everything is nice and clear between a customer and a business, they are not likely to share the excitement with others (however, there are exceptions).
But when something goes south, they will bring it up. Keep your ears open and try to react to every comment you see. Even if it’s a negative one. A head-in-the-sand tactic isn’t helpful.
After a burst of customer anger and negativeness, Donatella Versace made it right. The way she apologizes for the design of a T-shirt depicting disrespect for China’s National Sovereignty deserves respect.
Just like that, with honesty and sincere words, she tried to make amends. I do hope customers changed their opinion of the brand after such a move.
7. Choose the right brand colors
A color palette isn’t the last factor in building customer perception. The shades your brand chooses may affect purchases significantly, drive emotions, and change awareness.
Furthermore, there is a psychological color effect that acts on an unconscious level and tells a lot more than you expect. Let me go over some basic tones:
- White and silver are universal signs of purity. They are all about calmness, balance, and consistency. Now you know the secret implication of such companies as Apple, Wikipedia, or Swarovski.
- Black stands for prestige, classic, and power. Are you recalling the logos of Chanel, Audi, and Prada?
- Red evokes excitement and boldness. Are you all emotional when drinking Coca-Cola or playing with Lego?
- Green is the source of health, peace, and growth. Next time you buy coffee at Starbucks or drive a Land Rover, try to catch yourself thinking about constant development.
- Blue represents strength, trust, and stability. HelpCrunch is synonymous with these emotions! 💙
- Yellow is associated with warmth and optimism. I am beaming when having a meal at McDonald’s 🍟
8. Share real testimonials
The word of mouth can shape your success. In fact, 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know. Why don’t you give such a tendency a full play?
Both existing and potential customers wish to hear what others think of a particular product or service. Your messaging will be more convincing, and therefore more likely to convert your prospects into buyers.
Ask your clients about their experience with your business and add their words to a testimonial page or post them on social media. This is another way to build a positive customer perception and strike an emotional chord with people.
As you can see, perception doesn’t come out of the blue and form overnight. It involves everything from the brand color spectrum, client feedback, or a simple festive blog post. Such things may seem minor at first glimpse. But they are proven to be much more effective.
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