The client experience it is about the little things and sometimes even minute details: your car is clean when you get it back after it has been serviced, or you are offered a drink while you wait for your table at a restaurant. These small considerations play an important role in our perception. But what are the details that count? How do you recognize them? And how do you make sure that they really make a difference?
One of the unique features of our cognitive system is that our perception of the world and the things that surround us is influenced by what others think, what we normally think, what the context leads us to think, etc. Our brain generally takes shortcuts. Every day, we make millions of conscious and subconscious decisions. But we never choose completely freely and our decisions are never completely rational. Generally, we are not pressurized in any way, but we are subjected to real influence. And the context in which we make our choices often deliberately influences us. The value we see in things, our perception of them and the price we are ready to pay tend to be dictated by several factors that are both rational and emotional.
So, here is how to increase the perceived value of your products and/or services.
1. Know and Master Every Single Moment and Every Single Opportunity to Make Contact
Every moment in the buying journey, every positive or negative interaction is an opportunity to create an enhanced perception of a product or to change it. The use of anchoring bias is particularly effective in creating a favorable perception. This refers to the difficulty you have in getting over your first impression. By focusing on the first information, first value or first feature, the mind is unable to assess or consider new information or values, or envisage other choices. Sézane, the ready-made clothing brand, has fully grasped this by displaying elaborate products and packaging and placing the words “Thank you” inside the package. This token of affection expressed by the brand contributes to a very successful first impression and creates an affinity.
This is also the case when the consumer experience requires waiting (i.e. in a restaurant or in a theme park). In the case of a restaurant, making waiting time more pleasurable by offering a free drink; in the case of a theme park, using entertainment to make it more pleasurable, particularly if the customer has to wait in the queue for 30 minutes for an attraction that will only last two minutes.
Another example is when a business makes a mistake. The way in which it is handled will influence your perception of the company. Admitting that the company was wrong and doing something beyond just repairing the mistake can have an incredible effect on the consumer’s perception. This is the case of the Canadian home services company Nurse Door, which, when it makes a mistake, begins by recognizing it and then when the problem is dealt with, sends a real “humble pie” to its clients to say sorry (also read the article: “How to say sorry when you are a company”).
2. Anticipate Customer Needs
The luxury industry has always understood the value of an outstanding customer experience. Many luxury brands devote a large share of their marketing budget to the creation of innovative customer experiences, that go well beyond the needs expressed. What is more, the experiential luxury demand shows signs of growing: The Boston consulting group even refers to a real turning point in the industry (also read the page: “Experience, the new luxury”).
Providing a seamless customer experience requires anticipating consumer needs, knowing their expectations and their habits, but also knowing how to customize them. The recognition and consideration of each person’s specific consumer habits is a differentiating factor. For example, your religion and your convictions have an impact on the food you eat. It is important that this should be taken into consideration not just in a hotel you are staying at, but also when shopping online. Predictive marketing plays an important role in the consideration of the individual and his particularities.
But we must also avoid irritating the consumer. There’s nothing more frustrating, for example, than being unable to open a package you have been sent through the post. Your perception of the product is immediately affected. This is why Amazon launched its “Frustration-Free Packaging”, so that people can rapidly enjoy their purchases, without losing time unpacking the product.
The time factor is also decisive in the perception of the value of the customer experience. For example, when an airline announces that a flight will arrive at a given time, it will be judged on this commitment. This is why some airlines announce arrival times that are slightly later, to make sure they arrive on time, even if they are ahead of schedule. In this particular case, the perception of your journey will be modified.
3. Be Generous
The perception of value is also connected with the difference between what is expected (features of the product or service you have paid for) and unexpected (a surprise that adds value when you are not expecting it).
For example, when Carglass (US: Auto Glass Specialists) replaces your windshield, when they clean your vehicle this improves your perception of the services. The British fast food company Pret A Manger, gives its unsold food to the homeless. this is a way to add a social value to its offer, while guaranteeing that its clients always get fresh food.
These perceptions change in keeping with habitual or unusual uses. An interesting case is Wi-Fi in hotels. When this service was first introduced, it was normal to pay for it. Now that Wi-Fi is widespread, if the price of your bedroom does not include the service, it will immediately affect your perception.
Ultimately, to make marketing strategies more effective, we need to put people first by constantly considering the user’s point of view.