• Saturday, April 20, 2024
businessday logo


Customer Perception: The invaluable piece in Marketing Puzzle

The secret to success: Attracting, recognizing and seizing opportunities

Marketing can get complicated and intricate at times. This is because of the complexity of the human brain and the way it functions. Customers are dynamic in thought, but tend to converge while displaying certain emotions and behaviours.
A lot of these complex thoughts and behavioural patterns that customers exhibit can be combined into a concept called customer perception.

So, what is customer perception?
Customer Perception is a marketing concept that tells us what customers think about a brand, company or its offerings. It can be positive or negative feelings, perceptions, inhibitions, predispositions, expectations or experiences that a customer has.
Customer perception is arguably the most important factor that decides the success of a brand, product or a company as a whole.

For example, Apple is positively perceived by most of its customers. In fact, there are die-hard fans of Apple. This is because Apple has been repeatedly innovative with good performing products that connect with the customers. Most users of Mercedes Benz feel that strong connection with the brand and the luxury automaker boasts of repeated buyers or users of its cars.

In general, customer perception can be influenced by a lot of factors. Some of the major factors are

Consistency of performance – How has the brand performed in the past and how it is performing currently.

Emotional connect – Superb brands know that emotional connection with the customer is critical to brand development.

Marketing communications – How the brand communicates with the customers using the various media vehicles.

Holistic marketing – A brand cannot be excellent if it has good sales staff but pathetic support staff. A brand has to be a good all-rounder and satisfy customers from all its touch points.

Personal experience – Personal experience is one of the most important influencers that can easily have a direct impact on customer perception. Our personal experiences matter most.

Advertising – Promotional campaigns are an integral part of any organisation. It takes important steps to create advertisements that can change your perception about a brand easily.

Influencers – We all are surrounded by several influencers that have direct and indirect impacts on your mindset. It can change customer perception at the drop of a hat. Suppose you saw an advertisement about apparel and were impressed by the brand.

Next day you met your friend who told you about the horrible experience he had at the brand outlet the other day. Your perception changes once again.
Social media platforms – This is the age of technology where most people are on one or the other social media portal browsing to their heart’s content. When you read reviews or comments about particular products services of a brand, your sub-conscious mind automatically takes a decision.

Read also: Bora drives conversation on personal branding for media professionals

Importance of customer perception
1) Brand loyalty
It is important that both brand and customer perception tally. Sometimes what the brand is offering may differ from what the customer perceives. It can cause unfavorable reactions from one or other parties.
Make sure that the brand is in complete sync with the customers to boost their perception about its products and services. Once you gain a customer’s faith, it becomes possible to earn the loyalty gradually. This helps the brand to increase its customer base and proves an advantage in terms of customer perception.

2) Increase in sales figures
The actual aim of a business entity is to boost its sales figures. It implements several steps to bring in its customers. Remember, it is the consumer perception that drives his or her behavior and ultimately leads to buying decision.
An important advantage of positive customer perception is that it leads to an increase in sales because the customers react favourably to the company and its products.

3) Customer retention
Serious competition can force a brand to consider and effect a price reduction because it wants to win over customer loyalty. When you have a good and loyal customer base because of positive customer perception, it becomes easier for a brand to retain customers.

4) Strengthens the bond
An important advantage of good customer perception is that it strengthens the bond between the brand and its customers. An individual is likely to repeat his or her engagement with a brand if previous interactions have been favorable.

How to have good customer perception?
Customer perception is about impressions and feelings. Facts and figures occupy a back seat where these two emotions are concerned.
The journey of a customer from the first to the last point in your outlet is very important. It will take a customer only a few seconds to judge and make up his/her mind. Remember, the customer is both the judge and jury, so the brand must remain vigilant in its effort to offer a positive brand impression on each customer.
Customers need to feel valued hence they must be treated with warmth and genuine feelings. If any problem occurs, listen attentively so that they can have their say.

Communicate in a clear and precise manner and offer a viable solution. It is important that a customer feels that you can relate to his/her problems. Be empathetic and compassionate.

Last line: A brand has to be consistent, flamboyant, be able to communicate and connect with its customers, and it has to give an all-round excellent performance to impress the customers.