Getting a customer’s attention is only half the battle. Once you have it, the next challenge to overcome is keeping them engaged with you. The key to winning that challenge is having a good understanding of customer perception and knowing how to use that to your advantage.
What is Customer Perception and Why Does It Matter?
Customer perception is how customers see your brand and how they feel about what you have to offer. Brand awareness is important, but you also want to encourage a positive customer perception, because it can be tricky to win back your reputation once you’re perceived negatively. Positive customer perception is synonymous to customer trust in your brand, and trust is key to success.
Customer perception is built on a few important factors:
- Your performance, both in the present and the past
- Communications – (social media, website, email campaigns)
- An emotional connection between the customer and the brand
You have full control over your performance and your communications, but the emotional connection is reliant on customer engagement. You might wonder how to encourage an emotional connection, but think about your own experiences with phone systems.
Do you get frustrated when there’s downtime? Are you happy when you talk to a support agent and they’re able to help quickly and efficiently? These are all emotions that feed into the customer perception; you want to avoid associating bad feelings with your brand and encourage good ones.
Here are some great ways to use your performance, your communications, and the customer’s emotional connection to build customer trust and a positive image.
1. Connect with your customers and engage with them often
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many brands only communicate when they have something new to sell. That won’t create a negative image, but it won’t help you build a positive one either.
One of the ways you can do this is to set up social media accounts for your brand where you can interact with customers, answer questions, announce product updates, and share inspiring posts all in real time. Instead of merely providing customer support on social media, show off interesting content! Just make sure you understand who your audience is.
If you’re a B2B software brand, that content might be detailed articles and links to relevant statistics. Whereas, if you’re a makeup brand, it might be customer-generated content including pictures, tutorials, and reviews. Knowing what content to share increases the chances of engagement.
Another useful tactic is to have a chat box or chatbot on your website so it’s easy for customers to connect with you when they need to. Often, having good communication can mitigate problems like in the review below.
This issue—the product failing to arrive—could easily have taken this review down a few stars and led to the customer advising people against the brand. Instead, the customer service was so good that it ensured the review was five stars, and the reviewer was likely to become a repeat customer.
Another secret to keeping customers engaged is by sending out an advanced shipping notice for orders made. Not only will this excite them for the impending arrival of their purchase, but they will also serve as another vigilant pair of eyes keeping track of the whereabouts of their package.
2. Communicate your brand’s message in line with your customer’s needs
The word choice in your brand’s message can make or break your brand. Zero in on your customer’s specific needs and show how they align with your brand’s values to confirm you have their best interests in mind.
Figure out what sort of issues they commonly raise by getting direct customer feedback or looking for the results of already-existing surveys. By including these issues in your message, you show that you understand your customers. If they feel understood, they’re more likely to trust your solutions.
In the case of an acd call center software business, you could mention the difficulty of routing calls evenly throughout a large team or the desire to automatically escalate certain callers to higher-up agents. These are things most call teams will be familiar with, and your acknowledgement of them will foster a positive customer perception.
3. Use Color Psychology
It’s not just the content you produce that impacts customer perceptions, but the visuals of your brand, too! A good working knowledge of color psychology can help you make your website look more inviting and attract more visitors. Certain colors tend to evoke certain emotions, and you can use this to encourage that emotional connection and customer trust you’re striving for in your brand messaging.
While there are some key universal elements of color theory, you should base your designs on your target market and your products.
If you’re a brand known for selling products to do with emo, rock, and metal music, you don’t want your website to look like it’s selling Barbie dolls! The Hot Topic site is a great example of a brand theming it’s coloring around the target market and its products rather than the psychology behind it.
4. Stand Out From Your Competitors
Customers always compare brands, whether they’re doing it consciously or not. Select your brand’s strongest selling point and show how it makes your brand more favorable than your competitors. You don’t even have to name them, as long as you can reference “other brands” or show a statistic where you beat your competitors. For instance, check out how RingCentral talks about its contact center wfm (workforce management) software:
They don’t mention competitors by name, but they clearly reference them by noting that potential customers are looking at “different workforce management platforms and similar products”. By anticipating these direct comparisons and showing how you come out ahead, you can show that you’re the best choice.
5. Promote a Seamless User Experience
While being visually stimulating, your site should also provide a painless user experience. You can do this by optimizing images, improving server response time, and removing code comments, formatting, and unused codes. If you’re a small team without any UX experts, it might be worth looking into how to outsource web development to make sure it’s done properly.
Customer engagement with your brand is bound to drop off if they can’t actually engage with you! By ensuring your site is optimized for both computer and mobile browsers, you can avoid losing customers over their web experience.
A seamless experience doesn’t just mean having a well-optimized website. It also means your customers can easily engage with you on any platform. Your social media team, customer support team, and marketing department all need to be part of a connected workforce rather than operating without knowledge of one another. You don’t want someone to call in about a promotion only for your customer service agents not to know about it!
Keeping customers engaged and informed also ultimately plays a big role in the process of effective order to cash optimization, which starts from the moment an order is placed to the time a final report is generated.
6. Show you can deliver what you promise
One great way to build customer trust is to have a section on your site with the best feedback you’ve received for your brand as well as any awards or blog mentions you’ve garnered. A stellar track record never fails to impress new customers, and people tend to trust other people, even strangers.
If you’re a B2B brand, consider reaching out to your clients and asking for testimonials. Seeing which other companies make use of your services, especially with a testimonial that’s attached to a name and a photograph, goes a long way into creating a positive customer perception.
For B2C brands, you can encourage customer reviews with offers like 10% off their next purchase. Note that this should be for any review, not just positive ones, otherwise it’ll have the opposite effect and make repeat customers trust you less. Depending on your product, you can even engage influencers to talk honestly about your products. For instance, if you’re a makeup brand, having a Youtuber do a tutorial and review your products can go a long way toward creating a good brand image.
Whether it be your excellent pick pack ship process, great communication and service, or a fantastic quality product, you want everyone to know the great things that the world is saying about you, your brand, and your product.
All in all, gaining positive customer perception means focusing on strategies geared toward what customers need and want. More often than not, you have to be willing to go the extra mile to keep them engaged. If you’re in the process of scaling a business, it’s worth investing in your marketing and engagement team, thus giving them the resources to really develop their customer engagement.
Just remember, keeping customers engaged is an ongoing process. You’ll need to be ready to maintain your high standard of support and to develop and produce interesting and shareable content. It’s important to keep track of how it’s going, too, as what worked a year ago may not work now. By staying ahead of the game, you can keep your customer perception positive and stay ahead of your competitors.