If your business is struggling to scale or, worse, survive in your market, then you might want to look into customer perceptions toward your brand. A ringing customer perception translates to profitability as it increases brand loyalty and referrals.
So, what is customer perception, exactly?
What Is Customer Perception or Customer Brand Perception?
Customer perception or customer brand perception is how existing and potential customers view your brand and its offerings. It encapsulates what your customers think, feel and want to do when encountering your brand. Essentially, customer perceptions are the people’s opinions of your brand, which are far from being baseless.
Such customer perceptions are based on every interaction a customer has had with your brand, both direct and indirect. But why is customer perception important for businesses?
Why Is Customer Perception Important?
Customer perception has a direct impact on a business’s bottom line as it influences every action a customer wants to take, fueling purchasing decisions. But as with opinions, customer perceptions are not only good but can also be bad or neutral. So a favorable customer perception ultimately translates into customer value perception.
What Is Customer Perceived Value?
Customer perceived value is how much customers are willing to pay for a product or service. The quality and ability of a brand’s offering to fulfill demands, especially when weighed against competitors, shape customer value perception.
Businesses invest in brand reputation management to help position themselves in their respective markets. With a solid brand management strategy, you can emphasize your unique selling propositions (USPs) and benefits that customers would be most willing to pay for, enhancing customer value perception. For instance, customer perceived value can be significantly impacted by a product’s specific features, accessibility, or even how intricate its design is.
But what factors do you need to consider in your online reputation management strategy that impact customer perception?
Factors That Influence Consumer Perceptions
As mentioned, customer perceptions are based on a customer’s direct and indirect interactions with your brand. Here are business aspects you should look into to inform your online reputation management plan for shaping customer brand perceptions.
Personal experience. One of the direct interactions a customer can have with you is their personal experience with your brand. Such experiences could be the moment they bought from your store, usage of your product, or even exchanged with your customer service. Both poor and pleasant experiences are deciding factors as they make a lasting impression on the customer.
Customer reviews. In brand reputation management, customers are a gold mine of valuable insights for businesses and consumers alike. When curious shoppers look at your online reviews, they form an opinion about your brand right then and there. Shoppers heavily lean on customer reviews since they are user-generated content (UGC) from their fellow consumers.
Social media. Perhaps one of the most effective platforms to improve brand reputation and perception is social media. In social media, you have complete control of how you want to represent your brand, communicate your offerings and interact with your audience. So make sure your brand management strategy has an emphasis on your social media presence.
Website. Apart from your social media presence, curious consumers will likely visit your website after encountering your brand for the first time. The moment potential customers land on your website, they start to form perceptions of your brand depending on your website’s design, usability and content. With this, you want to keep your site’s loading speed in check.
How To Improve Brand Reputation for Better Consumer Perceptions (Online Reputation Management Strategy)
To help you gain better consumer perceptions, here are online reputation management tips to get you started.
1. Audit Your Online Presence
Research is fundamental to a solid online reputation management strategy. With an online presence audit, you will gather information so you’ll have better context on what you’re dealing with. You’ll find out where you stand in the eyes of the public, discovering what people are saying about your brand.
In your audit, look beyond your website and social media channels. Go to search engines such as Google and look up terms particular to your business, such as your brand name, offerings and even staff. Similarly, you can search for terms or phrases related to your industry to gain a better understanding of your market.
2. Analyze Your Competitors
Speaking of your industry, you can follow through with your audit with a competitor analysis. Competitor analysis allows you to be aware of your brand’s vulnerabilities contrasted with your rivals. Thus, you’ll discover business aspects where you could invest your resources better, such as time and money.
You’ll identify your and your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses with an analysis. If you discover any market gaps in your research, you can take the initiative to fulfill unserved consumer demands. Banking on a competitor’s shortcomings is a way to get ahead.
3. Furnish a Consistent Customer Experience
Customer perceptions are directly related to customer experiences. The latter encompasses all facets of a brand’s offerings, such as its image, products, services, marketing initiatives and quality of customer support. Such aspects are channels where customers form perceptions.
Brand consistency translates to consumer trust. To help with consistency, you can create or follow a brand guideline that serves as a handbook on how your brand should be represented across the business aspects mentioned above.
4. Respond to Customer Feedback
A response and crisis management strategy is vital if your brand image is under fire with negative online reviews. However, if you’re bombarded with fake online reviews, know you can flag them to whichever platform the reviews are on. For instance, platforms such as Google and Yelp are firmly against illegitimate reviews.
But if the reviews you’re receiving are genuine concerns from past customers, make sure to respond to them and act on any issues, providing resolutions. Remember to stay professional, calm and timely with your responses.
5. Invest in Professional Brand Reputation Management Services
Brand and reputation management targeted at customer perceptions is a lot of work. The steps above are only a few of what you should do if you want to succeed in shaping favorable customer perceptions. While you can do such an initiative on your own, it would take time and effort you could otherwise spend managing your business’s day-to-day.
Investing in professional services eliminates the trial-and-error phase and can reap the rewards of a well-managed brand image faster. Moreover, you are guaranteed convenience, expertise and results with professional brand and reputation management services.
Your Winning Online Reputation Management Plan: Rize Reviews Brand and Reputation Management Services
If the negatives about your brand are louder or more prominent online than the positives, then customers will likely form unfavorable perceptions of your business.
With brand management strategy experts from Rize Reviews, we help you identify brand reputation threats and turn them into opportunities. Rize Reviews is a trusted online reputation management partner to companies of all sizes across industries.
Our white-label solutions include listing management, review response, review monitoring and online review checking for those concerned with negative fake reviews.