Your customer’s perception is your reality – it’s also your customer’s experience
What you intend your customers to experience may or may not be how they’ve interpreted their experience with you.
It’s a personal reaction based on how they feel and what they think.
Break that ^^ down.
A personal reaction – think about it. There’s things that you can control to influence someone’s personal reaction. This is like organising a party, get-together or day out for someone you love and you want them to have the best time, enjoy themselves, be happy, know they’re loved and appreciated and form happy, fond memories.
How can you apply that to your business?
And yes, I said “influence someone’s personal reaction”. You can’t control it. As people we turn up with preconceived ideas and expectations, moods, fluctuating energy levels … all of that influences our reactions to what goes on around us. Ever found yourself happily working away in a noisy environment one day, loving the bustle going on around you and being really productive, then same place, different day, finding all that noise is quite simply too distracting, how could you ever hear yourself think, let along get anything done?
So how your customers feel and what they think is really important.
The good news is that whilst we are all individuals we go to businesses because we want to satisfy a need or perhaps we don’t really need it, but we do really want it! This means that you can identify what your customers are generally thinking and feeling about that, as they approach their purchase decision, make their purchase and move along your customer journey. You can then use your understanding of their thoughts and feelings in your messaging and designing your services and products, so that your customers feel you really understand them. This is why we plot what your customers are thinking and feeling on your customer journey map!
Not sure what your customers are thinking and feeling? Then ask them. Put yourself in their shoes. Empathise.
What does your customer feedback tell you? Is your customer experience largely good to great? Exceptional even? Fab. You’re doing really well. Celebrate your success.
Then a customer writes a review that doesn’t match the rest of this. It’s there for all the world to see. Their perception has become your reality. With 93% of consumers (source) saying online reviews have an impact on their purchase decision, this is something you need to address. But don’t panic! Visibly reply to the review. Show you care about the problem. People look to see how you react to problems or mistakes and they remember the results. Follow up with the customer to make sure they’re happy with the way you resolved their issue. Sometimes you can turn an unhappy customer into a happy one, so they remember a positive experience not a negative one.
Don’t forget to learn from what your customers tell you. Dissatisfied or unhappy customers are usually the greatest source of information about how you can make your customer experience even better.
There’s a silver lining to negative reviews! They make your good reviews look better, they add authenticity to your reviews, and they help other customers make their purchase decisions and manage their expectations.
Design and manage your customer experience. Control what you can control. Influence what you can influence. Do what you can to give your customers an experience that lets them know they’re loved and appreciated. Take time to reflect on your customer feedback and implement what you now know needs to change.