Customer perception is the customers’ opinions and impressions about your brand. This term summarizes their feelings about your company from direct and indirect interactions.
In the article, we explain why customer perception is important, provide top factors affecting it, and provide ways to build positive customer perception and measure it.
Why is customer perception important?
Positive perceptions of your clients can help your brand grow, improve and become one of the best companies in the market. Read why it is so and how to profit from good customer perceptions below.
- They shape long-term relations with your clients. Customer perceptions form their experiences and play an essential role in building customer loyalty. Brands that provide positive perceptions have more regular clients, lower churn rates, and fewer clients that switch the company to another one. In other words, good perceptions help build a sustainable customer base.
- They influence word-of-mouth marketing. Perceptions form your brand image in the minds of your customers. Many consumers who gain positive perceptions tend to share their impressions on social media and promote your brand with UGC content for free. However, people tend to share negative experiences too. According to Invesp, 86% of people hesitate to do business with a company if it has negative online reviews. Consequently, customer perceptions affect your brand reputation directly, and they can either attract more potential customers or turn them away from your brand.
- Perceptions influence purchasing behavior. The Keenfolks states that 80% of customers are sure that their experiences and perceptions are as important as the products themselves. Positive perceptions from communication with your support team, from your social media and websites, from packaging, etc. can persuade your customers to buy more than they planned. On the other hand, even if you offer a lower price but your customer support is bad, clients may choose your competitor and pay more for a higher quality of service.
- Understanding customer perceptions helps you improve. Analyzing what clients feel about your brand gives you knowledge about your company’s drawbacks and shows ways to improve them. You can discover more about customers’ preferences and use this information to make your marketing, service, and products themselves better.
- They influence your profits directly. The consequence of all the previous points is that companies that provide positive perceptions earn more. They are more resistant to market changes because they have many loyal customers and brand advocates.
Now you understand why perceptions are so important in today's competitive market. Let’s go further to discover the factors that affect customer perceptions.
4 Factors Affecting Customer Perception
Both direct interactions with your clients’ service and company’s products, and indirect interactions with your brand’s social media, website, reviews on the products, etc influence customer perceptions. Below we provide all the main factors affecting clients’ perceptions and explain their peculiarities.
- Company’s values. According to Small Business Trends, 71% of people prefer buying from brands that share their values. Identify the values of your company and transmit them through your website, social media, and promotional campaigns. Build trusting relations with consumers. Edelman’s 2020 Trust Barometer states that if people trust your company, they are more likely to engage with it and buy your products.
- Marketing. Your advertisements and the way you promote your product can describe your company and view certain associations. You create expectations about your brand and should meet them later. Be consistent in product promotion and highlight only the problems your product can solve.
- Customer service. The way you communicate with your clients and help them with different questions influences their perceptions. People prefer brands that provide fast and qualitative client support. Friendly customer service representatives cause 73% of customers to stick with a brand, states Nextiva Blog.
- Reviews. According to Qualtrics, 93% of consumers say that online reviews influence their purchase decisions. Positive reviews help you build a good reputation and attract more potential customers. Note that 52% of people believe that companies need to act on customer feedback, states Nextiva Blog. It is not enough to answer the review. Improve your company according to clients’ needs and become better.
Understanding these factors can help you concentrate on the most important issues while working with customer perceptions. In the next section, we provide tips on how to build positive perceptions and maintain them.
How to build customer perception?
According to SuperOffice, 45.9% of companies think that customer experiences and feelings are more important than pricing and product. It is logical because the same study showed that 86% of people are ready to pay more for great experiences. Below we provide some tips to build a positive customer perception of your company.
- Understand your target audience’s needs and values. Customers will perceive your company in a good way if you solve their problems and strike their positive emotions. Consequently, you need to identify their pains and use this knowledge in product development and promotion. Emotional needs and values are also very important. According to Zendesk, 63 percent of people want to buy from socially responsible companies.
- Provide excellent customer support. According to Microsoft, 90% of representatives use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company. Client support is an integral part of the service. Your support team should answer the questions fastly and clearly, be positive and polite. You can also save time on answering FAQs by using chatbots from SendPulse.
- Build a customer-centric culture. Providing positive emotions should be one of the main values of your company. Start from the top managers and gradually teach all your employees to focus on clients’ perceptions. Value your team, and they will transmit this attitude to the customers. To increase collaboration, make communication easier, and streamline operations try CRM from Sendpulse.
- React to customers' feedback. To make people feel that you care about them, you should answer both positive and negative reviews. In such a way, you will encourage consumers to give more feedback and know what aspects of your company you need to improve. PWC states that 32% of people would stop buying from a brand they loved after one bad experience. Answering negative reviews can help you enhance their experience, improve perceptions and prevent clients from leaking out.
- Share positive customer feedback on your social media. Firstly, according to Oberlo, 89% of people read reviews before purchasing, and 79% of users trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. It makes positive customer feedback a powerful tool to persuade potential clients to buy your product. Secondly, sharing customer feedback will motivate people to create more UGC content connected with your company and promote it by word-of-mouth.
- Stay consistent in all aspects. To make users feel that your company has strong values, you need to transmit them constantly. People positively perceive brands that provide a pleasant experience in all aspects. Deliver the same messages through your branding, marketing, and customer service. Do not forget that your company should share the same values as your audience is.
Now you know how to work with customer perception and improve the way they perceive your company. Let’s go further and discover how to measure this metric.
How to measure customer perception?
There is no formula to calculate customer perception because we cannot measure it quantitatively. However, there is some data we need to focus on. Below we provide the most important steps you need to do while measuring customer perception.
- Interview customers. Conducting surveys and providing questionnaires is one of the main ways to discover what people think about your brand. To understand consumers’ behavior, collect clients’ feedback on different stages of the customer journey. Ask open-ended questions about their motivation to do such actions and what aspects you can improve.
- Monitor online reviews. Checking customer ratings and content they create with your brand can help you discover more about its advantages and drawbacks. You can also find more about their pains and ways to solve them in such a way.
- Conduct Customer Satisfaction surveys (CSAT). This metric lets you quantitatively calculate how satisfied clients are with your product and service. While conducting a survey, ask people to rate their satisfaction from one to ten, then calculate the total rating and divide it by the number of respondents.
- Track Net Promoter Score (NPS). Marketers use this metric to identify how likely customers are to recommend your brand to their friends. The way to discover it is similar: you need to conduct a survey, ask people to rate this possibility, and calculate. Based on the results, you can find out how people perceive your company and what aspects you need to improve.
- Measure Customer Effort Score. Studying it will help you define the amount of effort your clients need to make a purchase. According to InMoment, 96% of people who need to take a lot of effort are likely to churn. By asking to assess the complexity of each step of the respondents’ buyer journey, you will be able to identify its most difficult parts and improve them.
- Analyze. Having collected all the data and calculated all the related metrics, you need to analyze this information. Try to understand the whole image. Take action and remove the drawbacks after a thorough analysis.
Congrats, now you understand what customer perception is and why it is important, know the factors that affect it, and can build a positive perception of your company.
Last Updated: 01.12.2022