You’ve developed, what you believe, is the greatest product in the world. After investing time and money into your marketing strategy, you unleash it to the public. A steady stream of mixed reviews starts appearing on your social media channels. You feel completely baffled.
The truth is, the real verdict lies with your customers. Their perception is so crucial, it can be the defining factor whether your business will make it, or break it.
Customer perception is multi-faceted, from the quality of customer service you deliver to your on-point marketing efforts. Here are six steps will put you on the right track to improving customer perception, while strengthening customer relationships and increasing brand loyalty:
1. Identify your audience and understand how they perceive your brand.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of understanding your customers. You probably have a dry notion of customer details such as age, gender, demographics and language stored away. However, this information is surface-level. For every business, it’s important to analyze customer behaviors such as how your audience consume information, interact with one another and most importantly, what drives them to choose you.
One excellent example of a brand that “did its homework” is Dove.
Dove was once your run-of-the-mill personal care brand. In 2004, the company made a shift by creating a campaign exploring the topic of women and self-esteem called “Real Women.” They displayed figures of all sizes with make-up free faces as the main focal points in their advertisements.
This simple idea turned out to have a massive effect, resonating with millions of women around the world. As a result, the campaign led to a 700% rise in sales in the first half of 2004 all thanks to its emotional impact. By thoroughly understanding their audience, Dove continues to embody the same consistent message in creative ways.
Don’t fret! You do not need a huge marketing budget to understand what your customers think about your brand. Here are a few tools to capture their feedback:
Send surveys. This is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to grasp the general perception of your clients. Start by asking targeted questions, such as: “What is your overall satisfaction with our customer service team?” Or open text feedback: “Please share any additional comments or experiences you had.”
Read online reviews. If you’ve had a negative experience with a brand, you’d probably not write about it in your journal. Instead, you’d write a 1-star review with a few exclamation marks or an all-caps post on the brand's social media channels. Bad reviews are nothing to panic about. They provide constructive and insightful feedback to better your product. Take the time to keep track of what’s said about you on the World Wide Web. Bonus tip: Good reviews amp up your brand's reputation without any additional work on your end.
Monitor your social media channels. It’s common practice for customers to scan brands’ social media channels to get a better sense at what they’re all about. Use social media management tools like Hootsuite to track of all interactions.
2. Develop and maintain a positive connection with your customers.
Studies have shown that customers who had the best experiences with a brand spend 140% more money compared to those who had the poorest interactions. While profitable results are always a plus, the biggest advantage of positive customer-business relationships can directly influence how people perceive your brand.
Here are a few proven ways to reinforce this bond:
Provide personalized and fast customer service. Positive customer perception is largely influenced by the quality of service you deliver. When customers know they’re speaking to a real human being (and not a bot), it can strengthen their perception of your brand. Providing fast support with live chat software is one way to fortify the experience.
Connect emotionally. It’s scientifically proven that half our brain is emotion and the other, logic. Strike the right chord with your customers by honing in on their emotions. For example, celebrate holidays, seasons or special activities on your public outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).
Be known for engagement on social media. These public outlets are all about distributing and building relationships with your audience. Customers appreciate when they get to participate, knowing they will receive something in return. Wix regularly posts engaging content. For example, take a look at this Wix Facebook post where we told our followers’ fortunes in the comments section. Notice how something so simple can be effective and personable.
3. Be open to feedback and strive to improve.
Negative criticism from your clients should never be ignored. Being open to receiving customer feedback is an important step to success for any brand. It empowers your clients and enables your brand to make better business decisions when necessary. The options are endless when it comes to collecting customer feedback. Examples of this include: polls, directly calling users from your help desk software, surveys, opening a Facebook group and more.
4. Leverage user-generated content to your benefit.
With almost three billion social media users online (and growing), people primarily use these channels as their main outlet to share ideas, interests, socialize and communicate with brands.
Customers want to see how others use your product or service. This is where sharing influential user-generated content (UGC) on social media comes into full effect. For example, take this Wix Facebook post where we featured Wix user Molly Gambardella’s colorful and eye-catching work of art. Showcasing your ambassadors on social media is a win-win, as it improves brand perception and customer awareness.
5. Share real customer testimonials.
When it comes to businesses of all sizes, much of the success depends heavily on word of mouth. In fact, 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know. You don’t have to look much further than customer testimonials to see support for this statistic.
Showcasing your clients, whether it’s on your business website or social media channel, strengthens the credibility of your brand. It is universally known that people will not do business with a brand they do not find credible. Both existing and potential patrons crave to hear what customers think of a particular product or service. Your messaging will be more convincing, and therefore more likely to convert your prospects into buyers.
6. Be humble.
Brand perception is often a mystery to companies, but the truth is, it doesn’t have to be.
While it’s not an exact formula, a lot of what people perceive is derived from the emotions your brand resonates. According to a Gallup study, more American consumers are detaching themselves from large corporations and shifting to smaller businesses based on their attitude and perception. One interesting finding from this study states consumers perceive small businesses as exemplifying the “American dream” and taking a stand for honesty and authenticity through their branding efforts.
Perception doesn’t change overnight. There are many reasons why your customers choose you over your competitors. Be prepared to research, take the necessary steps and improve how customers perceive you. Trust us, it’ll make all the difference.
Ready to improve customer perception and experience? Start off on the right foot with the best help desk software out there.