What is Customer Perception of Service?

Customer Experience | 4 minute read

Customer perception of service is a key component of customer perception.

How well you service and support your customers will distinctly impact how your customers feel about your brand, product, or service.

That said, it’s important to know the difference between customer perception of service, general customer perceptions, and customer satisfaction.

Customer Perception of Service vs. Customer Perceptions

How customers perceive your business is not necessarily the same as how they perceive your service. Customers may perceive you to have a good product but poor service.

Most consumers agree that the service you provide them is as important as the product you make — and it’s become increasingly critical.

Customer Satisfaction vs. Customer Perception of Service

While connected, customer satisfaction and customer perception of service are not the same things. How customers perceive your service will affect their satisfaction with your whole brand.

You can often turn around a poor product experience with excellent customer service. Replacing or refunding the item and doing what you can to right the situation as quickly as possible can save. The impact of customer perception of service on satisfaction is so powerful, it can create your most loyal customers and evangelists.
You can often turn around a poor product experience with excellent customer service. Doing it right can even create your greatest evangelists. #cx #custserv Click To Tweet
It’s also important to note that customers can also be ‘satisfied’ and still perceive your customer service as low quality.

You will most often see this with budget companies: people are willing to accept poor service if they get a significant discount. That also demonstrates how important a factor service is in your pricing.

What determines customer perception of service?

Many things will determine how customers perceive your service, not least their own experiences and personality. You can only do so much to manage customer perceptions, so it’s important to know your levers.

Customer Expectations

Customer expectations are key. You can help to set customer expectations through clear communication and transparency about your product’s capabilities and your ability to deliver service.

Customers will set their own expectations depending on their previous experiences in life. This might mean what their parents told them, other products they’ve bought like yours, and a vast multitude of individual reasons.

Product Offering

Your product offering will also impact how customers perceive your service. Usually, most people don’t expect you to provide a premium service if you make a budget product.
Your product offering and branding will impact customer expectations of your service. Most people don't expect a premium service for a budget product. #cx #custserv Click To Tweet
That isn’t an excuse for providing no service at all. If your product is broken, you should still replace it. But people are more understanding if it takes a little longer to get a refund.

Service Delivery

Customer expectations are key to customer perception of service, but your service delivery is the defining factor. And it’s also the factor that you have the most control over, and the missing half of the marketing funnel.

It is understood that the service you deliver to your customers will significantly impact your success as a business. The better you treat your customers, the more they’ll trust and support you.

Four Factors that Influence Customer Perception of Service

How customers perceive the quality of your service is determined by five main factors:

1. Reliability

Reliability is how consistently you can serve your customers. To be ‘reliable’, you must commit to a certain standard of service and consistently meet it.

2. Responsiveness

This is your willingness to help your customers and provide a timely service. Whether customers perceive you as responsive will depend on the channel they’re communicating through, how long you keep them waiting, and their issue. Do your best to make customers aware of your service and response times — and don’t keep them waiting too long on the phone.

3. Assurance

Your employee’s product knowledge and courtesy will affect confident — or assured — customers in your ability to provide service. Your agents’ ability to inspire trust and confidence — and get results — is determined by how empowered and accountable they are.

Train your team well and empower them to do their jobs, and your customers will be assured of your services.

4. Empathy

Real empathy is ever-more essential, as we found in our contact center trends report. But a company doesn’t just ‘have’ compassion. Empathy for your customers is something you must demonstrate every day.

It’s something you must nurture. It starts with your values and goes all the way down to how you train your employees and who you hire.

Customer Perception of Service is Key to Customer Satisfaction

How customers perceive your service will determine how satisfied they are with your service. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in reverse. Previous customer satisfaction may buy you some goodwill in future interactions. But if customers think you’ve maintained that good service, they won’t stay satisfied long

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