“The customer is as important as the business itself” – Anonymous. So, the perception of the customer is very important in marketing. Every businessman or marketer should take the customer’s perception very seriously because of the impact on the revenue or income of the company.
To start with, let us look at the definition of a customer. A customer is an individual or business that purchases another company’s goods or services. Customers are important because they drive revenues; without them, businesses cannot continue to exist.
What is Customer Perception?
Customer perception is defined as a marketing concept that encompasses a customer’s impression, awareness, or consciousness about a company or its offerings. The customer collects information about a product and interprets the information to make a meaningful image of a particular product. This is called customer perception.
When a customer sees advertisements, promotions, customer reviews, social media feedback, etc. relating to a product, they develop an impression about the product.
The entire process of customer perception starts when a consumer sees or gets information about a particular product. This process continues until the consumer starts to build an opinion about the product.
Everything that a company does affects customer perception. The way the products are positioned in a retail store, the colours, and shapes in your logo, the advertisements that you create, the discounts that you offer, everything impacts customer perception.
For example, Companies use a pink colour with white and black accents. This colour predominantly attracts women while men feel alienated by pink colour. The customer perception is built based on the colours used in the logo. But if a product is trying to attract both men and women, using just pink might not be a good idea.
Why is Customer Perception Important?
A happy customer is one who is satisfied with the experience that he has with a product or a service. Customer perception is built around the experience that a customer has with a product.
Consumer perception can make or break your brand. When customers had a pleasant experience of getting their products delivered on time, they form a perception. Getting the products that were as described in the product description also creates a positive customer perception.
When customers experienced great after-sale service it is going to develop a positive opinion of the brand. But when customers had a bad experience such as broken products, no returns, no after-sales service, etc. the customers build a negative perception of the brand
When companies work towards strengthening the bond between customers and the company, customer perception improves, and this gives way to a better competitive edge.
Customer perception is also important to determine the kind of image a brand wants to build.
Example of Customer Perception
When a retail clothing store has displayed clothes on crowded racks using low-quality plastic hangers, customers get a perception that it is a low-quality brand. But when the same clothes are presented well with back-lit mannequins, neatly arranged, good quality attractive hangers, etc. the customers build a different perception of the brand.
Customer perception or consumer perception plays a major role in buying behaviour. Hence companies are going the extra mile to create a pleasant and happy customer experience for their customers. Companies are ready to spend money and effort to influence customer perception and drive profitable consumer behaviour.
Advantages of Customer Perception
Customer perception is a crucial component of the relationship between a brand and its customers. Customer perception brings along a lot of advantages:
1. Increases customer loyalty:
When customers have a positive perception of your brand, they will be loyal to your brand and will bring more customers. A good price point, better packaging, and a special offer can lure them. So, building a strong relationship with a strong brand image is important
2. Influences buying decision:
If you are selling cars, and the customer has to choose between you and your competitor, positive customer perception will be advantageous. Your price point is higher, the looks are good, and you have a strong brand value. The competitor’s car is cheaper, but more powerful and packed with accessories, but the looks are ordinary, and the brand has a history of scandals. What will nail his decision over performance and quality? Even though the competitor’s car is a better one, he will be going for yours.
This is what happened to Volkswagen after the Dieselgate scandal in 2015. Though a top car brand, its sales figures fell, and the brand is still struggling to come out of it.
3. Development of New Products/Expansion:
Understanding customer perception towards a product will help marketers to launch new products or to expand the business. Based on positive customer perception, a brand can introduce new offerings with similar features.
What are the factors influencing Customer perception and can you measure customer perception? These questions will be answered in my next week’s post where I will give more tips on Customer perception.
Thank you and remember to like, share and comment.
Written by Hay-R-Hay.