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Managing customers’ perceptions of a product and an organization is an important aspect of business communication. Customers’ perceptions of a product may be different to those of the organization that supplies it, so it is essential for an organization to understand how to appropriately manage those perceptions.
Customers form perceptions of products based on their experience of acquiring and using them. Poor experience at any stage of ownership will create a negative perception of the product and the organization that supplied it. Organizations that are aware of any issues that customers face should accept the problem and communicate the fact that they are aiming to make improvements.
To communicate effectively, organizations must understand the nature of customer perceptions. According to research firm InfoTrends, experience in using the product and the emotions that the product delivers are what shapes customer perception. A product that makes a customer feel better or makes their life easier is likely to result in a positive perception. Business communication should therefore seek to reinforce both the functional and emotional benefits of a product.
To plan communication that will change customers’ perceptions, organizations need to understand the factors that are important to customers when they choose a product. They also need to know how and where customers get information about products so that they can communicate through the most direct channels. That can be difficult when social media has changed the way information about products and services is shared.
Business communication can fail if the supplier has different priorities and values to the customer. A report by Forrester Research highlighted the problems technical staff have in communicating with business executives when trying to demonstrate the value of information technology. According to Forrester, technical staff who position information technology as a provider of business value, rather than an operational function will build a more positive perception of IT among business executives.
Managing perceptions is important to an organization’s success in attracting investors as well as customers. Investors consider how well an organization manages perceptions of its brand when they are assessing an organization, according to the website intangiblebusiness.com. Investors believe that positive perceptions influence an organization’s revenue and profitability.
Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.