Creating Positive Customer Perception for your Business

The perception of the audience is the interesting part. If the audience doesn’t hear what is going on, is it going on or not?”- Robert Fripp

Positive customer perception for your business is extremely critical for success. This perception plays a key role to determine the amount of value they attach to your company and the brand. Positive customer perception comes about by memorable and pleasant experiences customers have with your company, while the converse is true for poor experiences. Whatever kind of interactions customers have with your company will form the perception they hold and they will be sure to recount these experiences to others. Creating a Positive customer perception is not an easy task – we know that customer views about a company and its brand are highly subjective. In order to create positive customer perception, you would need to realign your strategies and products such that they fulfil the needs of the customers. Creating a positive customer perception, as mentioned, is a tough task and encompasses many factors such as the company’s values, its reputation, the relevance of its offerings and the quality of its customer service. All these together determine the level of engagement and the long and short-term perceptions of customers about the company.

Today’s customer is smart and sharp – their needs change rapidly and they seek companies that can collaborate with them to meet those needs and face the challenges of business. Companies too face several challenges – the growing competition and the constantly evolving customer expectations make it extremely difficult for them to gain customer loyalty. Despite great service and products, companies still fail to build long-term relationships – this is probably because of customer perception. Does your company seem to face similar issues? If so, it may be due to the fact, that your company may have not been able to build positive customer perception. Perception forms depending on how people experience and notice things and situations, using their senses. For example – when prospective customers connect with your company and receive great service, the impression they get is that an association with the company would be good. However, at the next touch-point, say delivery of the products, they do not have as elevated an experience as their first one, the initial impression would become clouded, leading to confusion in their perception of the company. The earlier positive customer perception would quickly turn to a negative one. This is just a single example of how tough it is for a company to sustain positive customer perception.

Negative or positive customer perception does not form instantly – it happens by associating all the different experiences they may have, ultimately leading to one or the other perception. Positive customer perception forms when during the association with the company all the critical aspects are cared for well. The quality of the service and or product, whether the product or service lives up to the claims made by the company and other users, and the service mind-set of the company or the standard of customer service they receive from the start of the association and all through. As mentioned, serving the customers is the job of the entire organization and not the domain of only the customer service teams. Therefore ensuring positive customer perception also becomes each person’s responsibility – the entire company must be committed to ensure that all their actions lead to positive customer perception.

It is the onus of the company to get regular feedback from its employees – it is in the best interest of the company to do so. Employees, especially the frontline ones, regularly interact with customers and constantly provide feedback in some manner or the other. These are vital clues for a company to ascertain whether it has been able to create positive customer perception about the business and brand or whether customers are frustrated and on the verge of leaving. Until a company has a grasp on the current perceptions of its existing and prospective customers, it would be highly unlikely that they would be able to change or improve. It is absolutely essential that a company pays close attention to customer feedback – whether solicited or unsolicited – to gain precise understanding of which areas need improvement, how best to alter negative perceptions and what should be done to reinforce positive customer perception.

With so many channels of communication now available, customers can interact with a company through any of them. These then become the touch-points and every experience via each of these touch-points would contribute towards customer perception. Depending on how well a company manages these touch-points, it can create either negative or positive customer perception. It would be important therefore, to monitor closely, the experiences customers have at each of these touch-points. Appropriate action must be taken to improve those areas that seem to create problems and lead to negative perceptions. A robust strategy would be required to ensure that a company is able to affect positive customer perception. Ensure also, that each person in the company is aware of the strategy such that everyone’s efforts align with the same objective – creating positive customer perception for your business. Consistency of effort would be crucial to influence customer perception in your favour.

As mentioned, perceptions are a result of a variety of factors. Your company’s brand and your efforts towards the branding strategy would determine how customers perceive the company. Focus on ensuring that your brand reflects professionalism and speaks about your company’s passion for its customers – this would be an important step in creating a positive customer perception. Since customer perceptions are subjective, it would be prudent for your company to seek out customers who would be more inclined towards building relationships, associate as a partner to help your company also to grow and reach its goals and overall be someone who would become a willing brand ambassador over time.

Customers prefer doing business with people they like and with whom they feel valued and important. To ensure positive customer perception, it would be prudent to put together a team dedicated to serving your most valuable and profitable customers. This will ensure personalized service and will display your company’s commitment towards their interests and goals. Your company would be better placed to gain a better understanding of the customers, thereby ensuring that whatever you do would be focused on their needs. With such service and customized products, your company would be able to create and sustain positive customer perception.

While focusing on existing customers is important, increasing the customer base is critical too. With most businesses and customers having an online presence, especially via social media, it would be wise to connect and engage with prospective customers on a sustained basis through these platforms. As more people read, share, and discuss the positive things about your company, it would lead to some positive attention and perceptions from the target audience, which in turn could encourage them to do business with your company.

By creating positive customer perception, the chances of sustained success for any company are greater. Even if a customer ceases to do business with you for reasons other than poor service, they would still be inclined to recommend your company to others and would come back to you whenever they require your company’s offerings. The purpose of creating positive customer perception is to build relationships beyond the scope of the business association – these relationships are highly critical in the current cutthroat business environment. Since perceptions are reality, it would be prudent for a company to create and sustain as much positive customer perception as they can muster.

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