Customer perception is a marketing concept that outlines a customers’ opinion or view about a brand or a company by examining their experience with the company from the products’ branding and services offered. Customer perception can be positive or negative depending on the experience that a customer has. Customer experience is on the verge of overtaking price and product quality as the key competitive advantage, hence, companies should focus more on improving customer experience and perception.
Improving customer perception
The following are some strategies that can be used to improve customer perception.
- Look inward – companies should be careful not to value process more than customers. The main obstacle companies face while improving customer perception is themselves and the way they approach customer success. Putting protocol over people inhibits customer interactions hence companies should evaluate their approach and improve communication with customers and proper problem solutions.
- Lean on positive language – according to researchers of positivity, positive emotions are able to change the way people perceive things and make them welcome new possibilities. In a business environment, these positive interpersonal emotions should not be suppressed. Constant interactions with customers make products and services providers develop feelings for them hence an increase in customer satisfaction.
- Consistency – to achieve positive customer perception, every activity that requires customer interaction needs to be flexible and reflective of how companies want customers to view their brand. This is possible through the establishment of core operating values to act as a basis for all brand interactions. These values should be a way of life for the company and include integrity, respect and customer focus.
- Filling skill gaps – customers need to be treated like humans not just sources of money. Products and services providers need to know when to initiate proactive communication and what to do when they lack an answer to a certain question or a problem. To master this kind of approach, proper training and commitment is required in order to develop the necessary skills to bridge the skills gap.
Factors affecting customer perception
- Price – customers have a high probability of favoring a product or service that is economically priced
- Quality – if the product completely satisfies a customer then it enhances his/her perception towards it.
- Packaging and branding – these significantly affect customer perceptions depending on how the product is presented during purchasing. Attractiveness and display quality increases perceptions.
- Reputation – reputation of products develops over time and depends on the experience with the product and intensive marketing campaigns that raise the status and brand identity. This determines customer’s product perceptions.