Why You Cannot Afford To Ignore Customer Perceptions
We tend to always think of the customer’s perception as being around the product or service that we provide yet this is only part of the puzzle that creates customer loyalty.
Increasingly customers seek out a detailed understanding of not only what they are buying but also some evaluation of the organisation itself. I eat at a favourite Indian restaurant where the food is excellent but would I go there if the establishment was disorganised, that staff were not working well as a team, the environment was shabby and the communication between staff and customers was poor? Probably not!
So, that said, what do customers look at in terms of an “organisational assessment” alongside their purchasing patterns? The following points will almost certainly be on that list:
- The manner in which the organisation conducts its business with a focus upon how it treats its employees, customers, and the wider community. As a customer do I get a good, positive “feeling” from my transactions? Are staff committed and happy to deal with me? What is the organisation doing in the wider context?
- The extent to which freedom of expression is encouraged in decision making, developing new ideas and the extent to which employees contribute to organisational objectives. Put simply can and does the person I am dealing with on a regular basis have an awareness of what the company is about, can they see my position as a customer ad can they make things happen for me if my request is even slightly out of the ordinary?
- How authority and information flow through its hierarchy. If as a customer I ask a civil question, raise and issue or make a complaint, do I get a response that is helpful and that signifies that my opinion and business is important?
Having said all of that, what do your customers tell you about your organisation? More worryingly what are they NOT saying about your organisation?
Time to ask some customers what they really think about your wider offer: it might be uncomfortable but if it helps retain customers in the long-run it will be worth it!
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