It was happening in 2021 and 2022 is going to be no different in this regard! Your customers are constantly making impressions about your brand. These perceptions keep changing and though this may sound tricky and impossible to control, it’s a factor that can work to your advantage.
The internet is a dynamic, pulsating environment which connects, informs and shapes the way consumers think and act. Human perceptions, on the other hand, mean everything. Perception decides how a human defines himself, the world around him, what he believes, accepts, rejects and his course of action.
In the business context, the way an individual views a particular company or feels towards a brand, is his consumer perception. It is therefore important for every brand to know what its customers feel about it, what made them feel that way and how this perception can be improved or then maintained.
Right now, there’s a chance that somebody is viewing your social media posts, checking your customer reviews on a product they like or maybe, discussing their experience with your brand with a friend or family member. Today, consumer perceptions are built, broken and altered in real time.
There are many factors that influence consumer perception, but online and offline customer experience is the best way for brands to create positive CX. Favourable customer perceptions lead to brand loyalty – the aim of every brand that exists. This ensures they not only continue to purchase your products but it’s also highly likely that they will recommend your brand to others.
How to Measure Customer Perception
Lucky for us, we have numerous ways to measure exactly what your customers think and feel about your brand. And these methods keep evolving and getting fine tuned. Customer feedback mechanisms, product usage reports, NPS scores and other qualitative and quantitative data sources provide us with the data to improve customer perception.
Psychographic surveys and focus groups are more ways to gauge customer perception.
Many brands have benefitted from social media listening. This is the process of tracking organic online conversations on your brand and related topics. This is done by tools that monitor and identify relevant conversations based on certain keywords. So, even if your brand is mentioned on a competitor’s social media platform, you will be notified. Social media listening is also an effective way to know what’s going on in your industry, before it happens or when in its early stages.
A basic method to track and impact consumer behaviour is by analyzing your website traffic. The right questions to ask when doing this include:
- How many potential or existing customers are visiting your website?
- How much time do they spend there?
- How many are using your resources such as blogs, tutorials, FAQs?
- How many customers visited your website through an email or social media ad?
How are perceptions created and what can you do about them?
Large brands have the ability to spend big bucks on influencing their consumers. Many of them have adopted ethical practices, social responsibility causes and associated their brands with this kind of temperament. If your product or service fits into such a category, you may try it.
Other popular lifestyle brands have begun referring to their customers as ‘friends’, ‘helpers’ or ‘curators’ to elevate their customer experience.
But if you’re a new player with limited budgets or are a mid sized company, here are some ways in which you can make your customers like you better:
1) Understand that every customer interaction is important
Customers begin to form ideas about your brand long before you may think they do.
Your actual product and how well it satisfies their need, the ad, post or news interview that lead them to you, your entire website, the video content you post, the nuances of the shopping experience, the deals you offer and the after sales support your provide. As you can see, it’s a long journey with various touch points and opportunities to impress your customer.
Smooth, hassle-free and convenient processes work best for the modern consumer. They should not have to spend 15 minutes creating an account before they make a purchase. Also in case of any hassles, assistance should be provided proactively and swiftly.
2) Appearance and presentation of your brand matters
An impressive logo, packaging and design elements still make a desired impact. Many companies are opting for environmentally friendly packaging or a sustainable brand positioning. The optics created by your brand are heavily influenced by how it looks and what it stands for.
There are a wide range of factors that affect the appearance of a brand but a nice design, attractive logo and sleek website is a good beginning. Soon after, pay attention to every piece of your content and start getting associated with positive influencers and causes.
3) Brand activations work at any point in the customer journey
A brand activation is any activity, online or offline, that draws attention to your brand and reinforces consumer perception in the direction that you choose.
Collaborative events that get consumers together to co-create, an email campaign that reiterates a brand’s value, or a fresh ad campaign that makes consumers proud to be associated with a brand are just a few brand activation ideas that work.
4) Dependability is valued; bonds last longer
A brand that consistently delivers is a dependable one. Consumers notice if a brand suddenly lacks impetus or behaves differently, especially the loyal ones.
This also applies to the same messaging being projected across various platforms and again, customer touch points. Welcoming a new customer with a friendly, informal email and then following it up with an official, serious one, confuses consumer perception. If consumers are confused about what they feel about you, they are less likely to buy from you.
As mentioned earlier, the successful brands are calling their customers friends and helpers. Even if you don’t choose to redefine the relationship, aim to build friendships and bonds with your customers. Include them in your plans by asking for their opinions, thank them regularly and take them with you on your growth path.
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5) Customer support is playing a growing role
All customers depend largely on how your brand addresses a problem, when deciding their perceptions.
This is when customer support can make or break positive customer perceptions. A 24 by 7, omnichannel system that allows customers to reach you at any time of the day or night, across platforms, is ideal. They should be able to call, email, chat or sms you and experience resolutions in the same amount of time for all real time communication.
If you would like to increase positive customer perceptions via the best customer support tools, contact us today!