Customer Perception: How To Measure & Improve It To Create a Positive Customer Perception?
What is the customer perception of your brand? Are you monitoring it?
Sometimes it can be tricky to understand how customers perceive your product since it’s subjective and differs from user to user. However, customers’ perception is one the most critical factors that impact acquisition, retention, and customer loyalty.
In this article, we’ll discuss what key factors influence customer perception and how you can measure and improve it through your in-product communication efforts.
- Customer perception sums up the feelings, beliefs, and opinions that customers have about your product.
- Good customer perception improves the overall success of your business, enhances your brand image, ensures repeat purchases, and increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Five key factors that influence customer perception are product marketing and digital ads, company values and culture, customer support, product quality, and online reviews.
- The three stages of the customer perception process are sensing, organizing, and reacting.
- Some of the best ways to collect user feedback and measure customer perceptions are CSAT surveys, CES surveys, NPS surveys, brand mentions and social media channels, and user interviews.
- To improve your product’s perceived value, provide stellar customer service, share customer success stories and testimonials, address negative perceptions quickly, reward loyal customers, and set the right expectations from the very beginning.
What is customer perception?
Customer perception refers to the feelings, beliefs, and opinions that customers have about your product and brand. This perception is formed through each interaction they’ve had with your brand at every stage of the customer journey.
Why is customer perception important?
A recent study by PWC found that 32% of customers will leave a product they love after only a single bad experience. This shows how crucial it is to provide a customer experience that lives up to their expectations.
- Good customer perception affects the overall success of your SaaS company: Customer perceptions impact your company’s bottom line. You might think that a single user leaving your product is a small matter. However, if they had received their perceived value, they could have upgraded or become a loyal user. Instead, they can now create a negative perception of your brand among other people they know.
- It impacts your brand image: People tend to face confirmation bias that makes them look for information that agrees with their preconceived beliefs. Thus, building a great brand image among your customers and prospects makes it easier to attract new users and retain loyal ones.
- It influences customers’ purchase decisions: You have to remember that each customer is a unique and complex character who will not be swayed simply by low prices and high quality. A poor user experience or customer service may cause them to churn. Therefore, you should improve their perceptions from all sides to motivate them to make repeat purchases.
- Customer loyalty and satisfaction are also highly influenced by customer perceptions: A positive perception helps build trust among the customers, which in turn, improves customer satisfaction and loyalty. Trust makes customers more likely to engage with your product and advocate for your brand.
What are the key factors that influence customer perception?
There’s an abundance of factors that shape customer perception. However, you need to focus on the 5 key ones.
Product marketing and digital ads
How your team positions your product in the market and communicates its value to consumers greatly impacts how they perceive your product. Your product marketing should address or create a market need to make a good impression.
Digital ads are an increasingly popular means of product marketing. It’s important to leave an impressive digital footprint so potential customers can come across your digital ads on various platforms on the Internet.
Company values and culture
According to a recent consumer culture report, 71% of consumers prefer using products from brands whose values align with theirs. If users perceive that your company has values that align with their own, they are more likely to sign up for your product.
Great customer support is a core factor when it comes to perceived value. A customer with a positive perception can quickly turn their back on you if something goes wrong with customer support.
Customer support should be a priority at every stage of the user journey, from pre-purchase to long after a user has become a loyal brand advocate. Consistently great support experience can help you retain more existing customers and gain new ones.
Friction points and bugs can lead to negative perceptions of your product. The product team should constantly improve the UI design and in-app experiences to prevent or remove frustrations due to such issues.
79% of customers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends and family. Thus, one bad online review can make all the difference when prospects consider trying out your product.
Positive reviews are valuable social proof for your company and help establish you as a trustworthy brand.
What are the stages of the customer perception process?
The customer perception process is made up of 3 stages:
This stage is all about customers’ physical senses. Here, customers research products or services from different competitors in the market. They use physical sensations like touch, sound, visuals, and tastes to gain more information about a product or service.
This is the interpretation stage where customers evaluate the knowledge they gained in the previous stage. They weigh the pros and cons of each product or service and judge its value according to their personal beliefs, context, and other very subjective factors.
Suppose that a potential customer is looking for a SaaS onboarding platform and values price, quality, and customer support. So she will categorize competing products based on these criteria and compare them within the selected categories.
This is where the customers will make a decision based on their experiences in the ‘sensing’ and ‘organizing’ stages. They also take other factors into account, such as online reviews and recommendations from friends and family.
Even though the choosing criteria vary a lot from buyer to buyer, everyone tends to go through a similar evaluation process to act on their perceptions.
5 ways to collect customer feedback and measure customer perception
When choosing to buy a product, customers carefully outweigh their perceived benefits and cost. This means your product needs to strike a balance between its value offering and pricing plans.
However, it requires a huge amount of contextual customer feedback and user sentiment analysis to achieve this.
So, let’s look at 5 ways you can collect feedback and measure customer perception.
Customer Satisfaction surveys
A customer satisfaction score (CSAT) survey allows you to gather feedback from customers quickly and efficiently. You can send CSAT surveys to gauge user sentiment on a specific product, feature, or interaction with your team, such as tech support. The rating scales can range from 1-5, 1-7, 1-10, happy to sad, etc.
We would advise you to use CSAT surveys across various stages of the customer journey to measure customer satisfaction and identify patterns that generate customer success.
Here is an example of how you can send a CSAT survey right after a customer had a particular experience or interaction.
You can add an open-ended qualitative question to the survey as well. This will help add context to customers’ responses so that you have a deeper understanding of their issues.
Customer effort score surveys
The customer effort score evaluates the perceived effort with which users have any interaction with your product or service. These interactions include completing an activity, contacting the support team, or requesting a feature.
A CES survey is the best for getting more granular insights into customer perception. You can include questions such as:
“How easy was it to contact our support team?”
“What part of using feature X was the most time-consuming?”
The responses will help you understand where customers need help and reduce friction in your in-app flows.
Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer loyalty and satisfaction. Unlike the CSAT survey, which focuses on how customers feel about a recent experience, the NPS survey collects feedback on customers’ overall perception of your brand.
An NPS survey asks customers how likely they are to recommend your product to friends and colleagues on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s one of the easiest ways of getting concrete statistics on customer perceptions.
Promoters are the customers who are happy to give you a score of 9 or 10. This shows they are loyal to your brand and find it trustworthy. Then there are the passives who are indifferent to your product and thus give a rating of 7 or 8.
On the flip side, detractors give you a score of 6 or less. These customers are at a high risk of churning. Thus, you should reach out to them offering personalized help and solving their problems.
You can also include a follow-up qualitative question to learn what drives value for promoters and what caused dissatisfaction to the detractors. Acting on this feedback can help you convert detractors to promoters.
Brand mentions and social media posts
Does the external brand perception align with your internal brand personality? Focus your brand monitoring efforts across multiple channels to get honest opinions on your product.
Customers are usually vocal online, and they’ll most likely talk about your brand on online review sites and social media. Such feedback is essential for measuring brand perceptions.
Moreover, you can use text analysis on social media comments, reviews, and customer satisfaction responses to analyze user sentiment.
Take user interviews and conduct a more in-depth analysis of user perception at different stages of the lifecycle. Additionally, implement the Voice of the Customer (VoC) program to collect, analyze, and act on individual user feedback.
Having one-on-one conversations with customers will allow you to empathize with their issues better and understand them beyond simple survey responses.
How to improve CP and create a positive customer perception?
Here are five tactics you can use to improve and build a positive customer perception.
Provide stellar customer service and implement self-service support
One poor customer service experience can change customer perception so much that they may entirely leave your product. You can’t settle for poor or even mediocre customer service if you want to retain loyal customers.
Customers want their problems to be solved in the shortest possible time, and what better way to make that happen than by providing self-service support?
These resources offer simple and quick fixes that save a lot of time and make users feel accomplished. Moreover, your support team has to deal with fewer tickets so they can pay more attention to pressing matters.
Share customer success stories and testimonials
A persuasive customer success story or testimonial can make all the difference while making a purchase decision. It adds a human touch to your product offering that can improve customer perception.
Success stories and testimonials show people why your customers found your product worthy of their time and money. So you should share such content on your website, social media sites, and other acquisition channels.
Here are some examples of Userpilot’s customer success stories.
Address negative perceptions and respond promptly
You can never avoid negative perceptions completely. So the best thing to do here is to learn from your shortcomings.
Don’t ignore bad reviews and identify trends that customers are complaining about. Making the necessary improvements will prove that you prioritize their needs and help to strengthen relationships with both new and existing customers.
Furthermore, you should provide personalized responses to certain problems. Automated replies might not always work without a personal touch.
Here is an example of how to respond to negative feedback professionally.
Award your promoters and increase brand loyalty
Building a customer-centric culture is vital for improving customer perception of your brand. You should reward your promoters to strengthen your relationship with them and nurture loyalty.
One of the best ways of building social proof is by scaling up customer testimonials and reviews. To achieve this, segment your loyal users and invite them to give reviews on a third-party platform using an in-app slide-out.
You can also use gamification strategies to increase loyalty.
In addition, you should employ customer loyalty programs to offer small rewards to your promoters. This will help you motivate existing customers to make repeat purchases and increase retention rates.
Set the right expectations and never make false promises
Never let your brand have a value gap, which occurs when the actual value delivered does not match customers’ perceived value of your product.
Therefore, it’s very important to set the right expectations from the beginning. While you try to enhance customer perception, never exaggerate anything and make false claims. Customers are likely to churn as soon as they realize they were lied to.
Good customer perception is the key to SaaS growth.
You should regularly collect and analyze user feedback to measure customer perceptions. Then, try to make improvements and build positive customer perceptions about your product.
Want to collect in-app customer feedback and invaluable insights code-free? Get a Userpilot demo to see how you can measure and increase the perceived value of your product.