Customer perception is something B2C and B2B companies should care more about.
At the end of the day, we are all customers, and we all perceive things differently. As long as you’re buying things, this perception will not bother you too much. However, once you start selling, caring about your customers’ perception will be key to your success.
Since customer perception has such a big influence on your company’s success, we’ve decided to dedicate a full article on it.
What is customer perception?
Customer perception is all about how (potential) ‘consumers select, organize, and interpret both information and stimuli related to a brand, its products, and services’.
This customer perception will ultimately influence how and what these customers think about this information and stimuli, and will hereby impact their buying decision.
As an example; what is the first drink that pops up in your mind when you think of the colour red?
Most likely you just thought of Coca Cola, right?
The association between a specific color, and a type of product is a great example of a customer perception.
Once you realise this, you can actively start responding to it.
In order for you to figure out your (potential) customers’ perception, you need to get to know them. To do so, you need to figure out your customers’ journey.
Customer perception definition
The customer journey is the (visual) representation of the experience your customers go through, via all the interactions they have with your company.
The customer journey goes all the way from customer awareness to customer loyalty.
In order to discover your customers’ perception, you need to gather and analyze all relevant customer data, and map this into a customer journey.
Once you know your customers perception you can start to improve it and influence it the way you like.
Why is customer perception important?
As you may expect, customer perception has a great influence on your sales.
Especially your customers’ willingness to pay will be greatly affected by it, as 86% of the buyers are willing to pay a higher price when they have a good customer experience.
Besides, providing a good customer experience will also increase the total amount of on-the-spot purchases buyers will make, with 49% of the buyers making impulsive purchases after having a great customer experience.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it is estimated that at the end of this year, customer experience will surpass product pricing and features as a key brand differentiator.
Monitor customer perception
The best way to know what is your customer perception is by regularly monitoring it. By doing so, your company can quickly gather valuable feedback directly from users.
This Feedback can help to spot any weaknesses in the customers’ journey, and overall feel about your brand.
Monitoring can be done with customer perception questionnaires, feedback sessions, UX and UI analysis and other methods.
Make sure to collect information that matters and will bring in improvements once data has gathered.
What affects a customer’s perception?
To see what aspects influence customer perception, we need to differentiate between B2B and B2C customers.
At the moment, it is mainly B2C companies caring about their customer perception.
‘‘B2B companies have an average customer experience score of less than 50%, far lower than 65%-85% for B2C companies.’’
B2B Customer perception
For B2B companies it is now of great importance to start emphasizing more on their customer experience. B2B customers want to feel understood and recognized, and hence personalization is key.
Each B2B customer has its own situation and preference, which should be adapted to by the selling company. For each client, its specific wishes should therefore be determined, by getting in close contact with them.
This way, strong, long-term relationships can be built.
B2C Customer perception
When comparing B2B companies with B2C ones, it can be said that many B2C companies have already acknowledged the impact of customer experience. However, not all treat it equally important yet.
For B2C companies, there are two main factors influencing the customer experience.
The first is the customer’s attitude and lifestyle. To determine this, the company should look into the psychographics data of its customers.
Psychographic data will tell you all about people’s values, attitudes, interests, and personality traits. All of these factors heavily impact a person’s perceptions and views on the world; and hence also their view on your brand!
The second factor is the emotional brand connection customers may have to this company. For this, the company should look into its brand reputation.
Your brand reputation will signal the amount of trust people have in your brand. This trust will directly influence the growth your business can, and will, experience.
To determine the psychographic data and brand reputation for your brand, and thereby your customer experience, it is most important to get in contact with the customers themselves.
Conducting surveys, monitoring your social media platforms, and reading online reviews can all be ways to determine your customer experience.
The five steps to great online customer experience.
Since online web shops do not offer the same experience as a brick-and-mortar shop, a different approach should be taken when looking at the online customer experience.
To make it simple for you, we provide you with 5 steps to follow, to accomplish the best online customer experience possible.
1. Immersive experience
The first one is trying to mimic the experience of a physical shop, i.e. creating a so-called immersive experience. The online shop should provide not only the visuals, but it should activate other senses as well.
2. Incorporate social effects.
The second is to incorporate social effects. In physical shops, customers usually aren’t alone. In online shops they are. Ways to make a site feel more ‘human’ is by incorporating testimonials and social sharing.
3. Create gamified experiences
Thirdly, a website may want to create so-called gamified experiences. Because after all, who doesn’t like a game?! Include a fun factor in your website, provide people with the unexpected, be creative!
4. Optimize your website layout
Fourthly, just like the arrangement of a physical shop, the layout of an online shop should make sense. It should be designed in an efficient, attractive, and understandable manner.
Since the landing page is the first thing your potential customers will see, optimizing this is of the greatest importance.
Just a heads up, we have written a complete landing page checklist for you, where you can find everything to include on your landing page!
5. Have a consistent design
Lastly, and this aligns with the previous point, the online shop design should be consistent.
Start influencing your customer perception.
Of course, customer perception has been a thing for many years. However, not all companies are actively using it to their advantage yet.
By starting to acknowledge the great influence customer perception has, and actively responding to it, you can therefore stand out from the crowd.
According to the Temkin group, investing in your customer experience can double your revenue just within 36 months.
Besides, it has been found that customers who had a great brand experience spent 140% more money than those who had poor experiences.
Just imagine all that extra money!
Changing customer perception in 6 easy steps.
We understand we got you sold on this idea now. Let’s look into what your next actions should be!
Obviously, there are many things in play when it comes to improving your customer perception. We will guide you through six steps, identified by WIX Answers.
1. Identify your audience and understand their brand perceptions
First, look into your customers’ demographics. Who are they, and what are their lifestyles? What do they do, what do they decide, and what do they base their decisions on?
Then, identify how and where these people consume information and interact with others.
Is communication online or offline; is it formal or informal; is it direct or indirect?
Last, identify what drives these customers to choose your brand over others’! Why is your brand standing out, what is your differentiator?
2. Develop and maintain a positive relationship with your customers
We all value being cared about.
The same counts when it comes to brands.
Customers want to have personalized messages, and they want a good responsiveness from you.
Since more than 3 billion people are getting increasingly active online, and this is not expected to diminish any soon, it is getting more and more important to have an active presence online.
Our advice: work on having a good engagement rate on social media platforms.
Key to this is that you are active and responsive online.
Get in contact with your followers, and show your appreciation for them!
There are certain metrics with which you can measure your engagement rate, such as followers, interaction, responsiveness, and posts per day.
3. Be open to customer feedback, and aim to build upon it
We are all humans, who can make mistakes. Therefore, it is unlikely that a company will do everything right the first time.
This is understandable, so you shouldn’t have any sleepless nights from it.
However, do keep a close eye to the feedback you receive.
By asking for customer feedback, you empower your customers, which will make them feel more valued and important.
You could ask them what they think of your product, your website, your customer support, your marketing, etcetera.. The options are endless!
By then using this feedback, you enable your brand to take better decisions.
Create a customer perception questionnaire, it is a simple way how to collect valuable data from your customers.
Make sure to ask the right questions, and take action on the feedback you receive.
4. Generate and use user-generated content to your advantage
Most customers are social human beings.They want to see who are also using your product/service, and how they are liking it.
A great way to play into this is by generating and sharing user-generated content on your social media and/or website.
Just a heads up, it has been found that consumers are 2.4 times more likely to view user-generated content as authentic compared to content created by brands.
Besides, these people stated that in their opinion, less than half of the brands currently create authentic content.
A great example of good user-generated content is this post from Apple, where they reposted a picture taken with an iPhone by one of their customers. As you can see, this post generated quite the amount of engagement in likes and comments!
This provides you with a competitive advantage to explore!
5. Share real and relatable customer testimonials
This point relates back to the previous one. Rather than having your brand tell its story, let your customers speak up.
70% of customers will trust a recommendation from people they don’t even know.
Let this work to your advantage, and build up greater customer credibility by sharing customer testimonials.
Customer testimonials will be THE way to go to build up customer trust.
One way to incorporate them in your company is by mentioning some of your customers’ opinions on your webpage. The above screenshot of customer testimonials on Shopify Themes gives you a good example
6. Be humble
We understand this is a lot to take in.
However, in the end all that matters are the emotions your brand provokes.
By making your customers feel cared about, you can create long-term, loyal relationships with them.
Customer perception in action.
Since it is quite the challenge to find your own brand identity, and use it to enhance your customers’ perception, we are more than willing to help you out!
We at Klint Marketing are specialized at discovering brand identities and optimizing the customer experience.
So feel free to reach out to us, and see what we can do for you!