The Three Guiding Principles to Creating Positive Customer Perceptions11/30/2018
In business, how we are perceived is actually reality. The perception our customers have of us, no matter if based on fact or fiction, is the reality on which they determine their buying decisions. The way our customers view our business or brand is the reality they use to base all interactions. If they feel we are unsupportive, too expensive, or if they feel anything negative about us, they may not purchase! Of course, the opposite is true as well, and perceptions can change.
Experts feel that customer experience (perceived experience), will soon outweigh both price and product offerings as the key factor in determining if a person will create a relationship with a given brand or business. Based on this, it will not be long before consumers make buying decisions based more on customer service experiences than product features and price points. So how do we make certain that our brand or business is creating the positive perception our customers need to make us a part of their buying decision.
The easiest way to create a positive consumer perception is to create a positive consumer experience. If I want my customers to have the perception that I offer great customer service, I should offer great customer service. It sounds simple, but there is more to it than that. Remember, a business can offer fantastic customer service, but if it is not perceived as such by consumers, it actually is not fantastic customer service at all. I know, it sounds a little ridiculous, but it is true. We have to be aware of what our customers consider fantastic customer service before we can offer it to them. It is impossible to point out the varied facets of quality customer service for every industry, we can agree on the basic guiding principles.
The first guiding principle necessary to create a positive consumer experience is to interact with our customers with integrity. Integrity is defined as being honest and having strong moral principles. If our service model is based on our integrity, customers will be able to trust us and feel confident that we have their best interests at heart.
The second guiding principle is attentiveness. This becomes self-explanatory considering that a few of the synonyms for attentive are vigilant, observant, conscientious, and listening. We must listen to our customers, observe their actions, and remain conscientious in regard to what they desire. Then we will be able to maintain a level of service that is positively satisfying for both our customers and our business. Listening to our customers, and relating to what they want is the best way to form an experience that guides the conversations defining our individual brands.
The third guiding principle is to create a positive environment. A business must exude a positive attitude from top to bottom. From a Fortune 500 CEO to the sales agent on the retail floor, it is important that people are positive and be themselves. False positivity won't work, and an overzealous approach will probably turn people off. Our ultimate goal should be to create a customer-centric atmosphere. Fully explaining the needs of our customers, and making sure our employees are on board, goes a long way toward reaching that goal.
A person's perception is influenced by many factors including the word of friends, family, associates, social media, and more. Radio, television, newspapers and other media outlets often influence perceptions as well as drive trends. It is our mission as business owners/managers to shape the discussion as it relates to our business. Use these guiding principles to help you stay on track as you build and define the perception of your brand.