Customer Perception: 7 Ways to Improve It (with Examples)
Have you ever tried a new app or software and felt instantly ‘at home’? Or the opposite, where everything just felt... off?
That's the power of customer perception at work.
Top-notch features are merely part of the formula. The positive feeling users get while using a product or contacting customer support is what truly sets a brand apart.
In this article, we’ll share how to measure customer perception and proven strategies for improving it.
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What is customer perception?
Customer perception is how a person thinks and feels about a product, service, or company. Also known as consumer perception, it’s formed by a person’s direct experiences. These may include using a product or talking with the business’s customer support team.
It’s also indirectly shaped by the price and quality of the product as well as what customers see in ads or hear from friends. Online reviews and social media also influence customer perception.
Why is customer perception important?
Customer perception is important because if customers feel positive about your business, they're more likely to buy again and recommend it to others. When people shop, they don’t just buy products or services. They also buy what they believe or feel about them.
Here’s why it matters so much:
- Brand reputation: A brand's reputation isn't built overnight. When customers have a positive perception, they associate the brand with good qualities like reliability, trustworthiness, or value for money. But if the perception is negative? The opposite can happen. People may associate the brand with poor quality, dishonesty, or a waste of money.
- Customer loyalty: Loyal customers are like gold. They not only buy repeatedly but also recommend the brand to others. They trust the company to deliver consistent value and meet their expectations. How do businesses earn this valuable loyalty? A big part of it is positive customer perception.
- Word-of-mouth recommendations: People talk. If they have a fantastic experience with a brand, they might tell their friends and family. But the reverse is also true. A poor perception can lead to negative word-of-mouth, which is harmful. Personal recommendations often carry more weight than ads––88% of consumers worldwide most trust recommendations from people they know.
- Business growth: Positive customer perception can lead to increased sales, repeat business, and long-term growth. On the other hand, negative perception can result in fewer sales, loss of valuable customers, and a slower growth.
How to measure customer perception
Measuring customer perception doesn’t need to be complex. It’s all about being a good listener, tune into customer signals, and, most importantly, be ready to evolve.
Here are six ways to measure customer perception of your brand:
1. Collect customer feedback through surveys and forms
Understanding your customers' opinions and feelings about your product or service is key. There’s no better way to do this than directly asking.
Use customer satisfaction surveys (CSAT) to gather specific information. Surveys give you quantifiable insights that guide improvements, whether it's about a new feature, overall user experience, or service quality.
While surveys often have set questions, feedback forms offer users the chance to freely express their experiences. Place these forms on your platform or website, and give customers an opportunity to share their thoughts when they're most relevant.
Here’s how to use feedback to understand customer perception:
- Analyze data for common themes
- Implement changes based on constructive feedback
- Acknowledge positive feedback and identify areas of excellence
2. Net promoter score (NPS)
You can understand how customers feel by asking, “Would you recommend our product to a friend?” Their answer, on a scale from 0 to 10, gives you a score that tells you how they feel about your product.
The answers offer insight into how customers perceive your brand's value.
Here’s how to interpret the scores:
- Promoters (9-10): These are your brand champions! They love your product and will likely recommend it to other potential customers.
- Passives (7-8): These customers are satisfied but not enthusiastic. They might switch to a competitor if given a reason.
- Detractors (0-6): These users had a less than stellar experience and might spread negative feedback.
NPS provides a clear picture of your customer's loyalty, which often correlates with retention, growth, and profitability.
3. Online reviews and ratings
Bad experiences described in frequent negative reviews give you a good insight in what could be improved in your product or interactions. While positive reviews describing customer success stories highlight a stronger perception.
4. Social media mentions
Social media posts and mentions can tell you a lot about how your customers feel. Whether your users spend time on X (formerly Twitter), LinkedIn, Instagram, or another platform, you should monitor what they say about you.
5. Customer support interactions
Your customer support team is on the frontline. They deal with the complaints and issues of long-term and new customers.
So dive into their chats, emails, and call logs. You'll be surprised how much you can learn about perception just by seeing what issues pop up frequently or what features users rave about.
To go a step further, choose a couple of recent customer interactions to follow up on. Ask each customer in-depth questions about their personal experience with your business and product.
6. Usage and retention data
While surveys and feedback methods capture the voice of the customer, observing consumer behavior is often more revealing. Enter usage and retention data.
If you have access to it, usage data provides insights into how customers engage with your product. Key metrics to consider include:
- Frequency: How often are users accessing your product?
- Duration: How long are they spending each time they log in or use the product?
- Feature usage: Which parts of your product are customers using the most or least?
High usage often indicates that customers value your product, signaling a positive perception. Conversely, infrequent usage or neglect of key features might highlight improvement areas.
7 ways to improve customer perception
1. Provide robust customer support
When customers have questions or run into problems, they want help quickly–72% of customers say they want immediate service.
Imagine you’ve just subscribed to a new CRM. But you can’t figure out how to import your existing data. Now imagine calling up the company and getting the solution in minutes. Instead of the issue ruining your day, the company resolves it so you can start using the CRM.
Quick responses and friendly help can turn a frustrated customer into a super fan.
Aim to offer great customer service experience through:
- Live chat
- Phone calls
- Video tutorials
- User-friendly documentation
- Comprehensive written FAQs
For best results, ensure your support team is well-trained and has the tools to address issues quickly.
Take Dropbox for example, a cloud storage solution. The brand offers detailed help articles, community forums, and direct support channels. By providing easy-to-understand resources, their users can quickly resolve most issues. For larger problems, it’s easy to contact Dropbox support and get a quick solution.
Suraj Nair, a senior digital marketer at SocialPilot, a B2B social media management tool, explains how a more proactive approach to customer support boosted customer perception.
“Our support team reached out to customers, offering personalized assistance and suggesting features to meet their specific needs,” he says. “This improved customer satisfaction and changed their perception of us as a customer-centric company.”
2. Create an intuitive user interface (UI) and experience (UX)
Remember when you tried to use that one app and got lost five seconds in? We've all been there. Making your product easy and fun to use is key.
Your platform or website should be user-friendly. A well-organized dashboard, for example, can make navigation a breeze.
For example, Linear, a developer tool platform, became popular partly because of its clean, user-friendly interface. It’s easy for new users to understand and navigate, enhancing their perception of the brand.
3. Roll out regular feature updates
By continually releasing new features or refining existing ones, you demonstrate commitment to your product's evolution. It’s important to regularly introduce improvements based on user feedback and market demand. Whenever you release an update, communicate it to your user base.
For example, Notion, a productivity tool, frequently releases updates and new features based on what users are asking for, helping to cement their reputation as a responsive and innovative brand.
4. Use transparent pricing
No one likes unexpected billing surprises. Offering clear pricing tiers that detail what each entails can instill confidence in potential clients.
Provide clear, upfront pricing without hidden costs. Offer scalable solutions for different business sizes. Trello, the task management tool, uses a transparent tiered pricing model where users can easily see what they're getting at each level.
5. Engage with your community
Engage with the user community through forums, webinars, workshops, and social media. These mediums can provide valuable customer feedback and are a great way to connect with your customers.
For example, Atlassian has a vibrant community forum where users can share tips, ask questions, and provide feedback.
6. Prioritize security and privacy
Data breaches can be catastrophic to your bottom line and customer perception. Once you lose trust, it’s hard to win it back. So make sure your data is secure and you comply with all relevant data protection regulations. Then, clearly communicate your security measures to your users.
For example, Salesforce heavily emphasizes its security measures, reinforcing the trust businesses place in them to handle sensitive data.
7. Share educational content
Produce content that educates users about your product and the broader industry issues. This could be through blog posts, webinars, or ebooks.
Onboarding tutorials, webinars, and knowledge bases can make the adoption of your product smoother.
For example, the ecommerce platform Shopify offers free resources for its users. There are online courses and blogs on everything from how to set up an online store to advanced ecommerce strategies, cementing its brand image as an industry leader and a helpful partner for businesses.
How customer perception helps your brand stand out
Customer perception is often the defining factor between thriving and surviving.
But a positive perception doesn’t just happen. It's cultivated through attentive customer support, user-friendly products, transparent pricing, and more.
Businesses can boost relationships and their bottom line by placing the user at the heart of all decisions and constantly refining customer experience.
Ultimately, improving customer perception is not just a nice-to-have bonus—it's a fundamental pillar of business success.