How To Manage Customer Perception

Why is that sometimes, even though we have completed all the committed deliverables, some of our customers are still not satisfied? How often have you received an escalation from our customers’ top management, even if we have done more than the committed work?

Even when we believe we have gone the extra mile, the results are not always what the customer expected. Evidently, it is all a matter of perception, a psychological process in our customers’ minds that sometimes plays against our efforts to be a good provider.

With that in mind, shouldn’t we try to manage our customers’ perception? Shouldn’t we try to understand what they really have in mind as an end result?

Some theoretical background

Perception is a largely cognitive and psychological mind construction; it is the process through which a person identifies, organizes and interprets information and adds their emotional condition, thereby influencing their communication and decisions.

The customer’s brain attempts to make sense out of the stimuli to which it is exposed, and equalizing with the individual’s expectations, influences how deliverables comply with the expected solution.

Perception allows individuals to live in a world of opportunities, where problems are not denied but handled in a positive way; or the opposite, a world of threats where you can only see and experience the negative aspects of things. These negative aspects can make it so that the individual lives in a different reality from the in which we live.

Tips & tricks to understand and influence our customer’s perception

Some things that should be avoided:
– Make sure not to use terms without a proper definition.
– Believe that our point of view is unique, and the only correct one.
– Leave critical points without a confirmation of the approval of the solution reached.

Some things that should be improved: 
– Our Sense of Trust; those presenting and leading our product deployments should show knowledge and understanding of both the solution and the customer’s needs.
– Our Sense of Responsibility; improving response times and ensuring availability to answer our customers’ requests.
– Our Empathy capabilities; understanding the needs and points of view of the customer, as well as interpreting and assimilating the emotional status of the project stakeholders.
– Our Communication Skills; to influence the perception of our interlocutor, choosing the right words, trying to use positive words, managing our body language, etc.

Final steps towards making a change

A few final thoughts on what we can do to effect change and better understand the minds of our customers: we must be convinced that there is another way to reach our objectives and be leaders in the industry, and we must open our minds and leave our comfort zone to discover new ways to face new challenges, all while keeping in mind that adding value to our communication and customer relationship skills is one key way to differentiate our brand from the others.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions to share about managing customer perception, let us know in the comments box below.

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