Customer perception can make or break a business. The way people judge your brand is often the difference between making a sale and missing an opportunity.
Depending on what your business does or provides, you’ll want different customer perceptions. If you run an artisan coffee shop, for example, your branding will likely be of an independent nature: small and unique. However, if you operate an accountancy business, law firm, or a company of a similarly professional nature, you’ll want to provide a sense of deep establishment and success.
You’ll want customers to believe you are a real, big contender.
Achieving this may seem like a challenge, but there are techniques you can use to provide customers with an assumption of success, without actually making drastic changes or experiencing significant growth. In a survey of British consumers, it was revealed exactly what the average person believes makes a business look larger and more professional. By taking on board these ideas and applying them to your branding, you can adjust the perception of your business.
Build a Professional-Standard Website
60% of UK consumers believe having a website is key to professional perception and business size. This makes complete sense. A website is an investment, a source of information and a tool of customer acquisition. If your business is not successful, it will have neither the money nor the inclination to develop a website.
Two million businesses in Britain still do not own a website and instead reach customers through other sources and means. In 2018, development of a website is critical for businesses that want to develop a customer perception of success and profitability. However, any website will not suffice; it needs to be built to a high standard.
Without a website, people will assume you’re not achieving enough to warrant investing in one. If you are a local bakery, not having a website is unlikely to impact how customers view your brand. However, if you are an investment consultancy firm, it undoubtedly will.
Invest in Virtual Assistant Technology
33% of survey respondents claimed that automated phone systems gave them the impression of a large and well-established enterprise. The use of pre-recorded messages, call forwarding and dial pathways all support the idea that they are interacting with a successful brand. But why is this?
Virtual assistant technology is commonplace among most all major brands and businesses. When a customer calls a corporation like Apple, Amazon or BT, they expect to be greeted not by a person, but an automated system.
By investing in software that provides this type of communication, your business can take advantage of consumers’ expectations to build a perception of being a large business. Implementation of virtual assistant services is simple and easily adapted to your existing customer phone line and systems, and it can make a big difference to customer perception.
Get Engaged on Social Media
Social media isn’t often considered to be important by small businesses. Only 57% use their social platforms to engage customers, which weighs in huge contrast to larger corporations — 90% of which are regularly active on social media.
4 in 10 of those surveyed stated that having an active social presence was an indicator of a larger and more successful brand and, given the disparity between these social usage statistics, it isn’t hard to see why.
Customers understand that SMEs are far less likely to be active on social platforms than big businesses. The result is that, if your SME actively implements social media strategies — such as commenting, regular posting and sharing of news and resources — you’ll step away from the inactive small business crowd and join the community of large businesses that are actively involved on social media.
Register a Corporate Address
76% of small businesses in the UK — roughly 4.3 million businesses in total — do not employ any staff. This means they are individually-run enterprises, or partnerships. If you are one of these SMEs without an employee roster, it is unlikely that you will have a corporate address, instead opting to work from a home office.
In the consumer survey, though, it was discovered that having a registered business address has a significant impact on how consumers view your brand. Owning office space is considered an important aspect of making your business look bigger. If possible, rental of even a small corporate building or office within a larger structure could be hugely beneficial to your professional branding and customer perception.
Assign Your Brand an 0800 Phone Number
0800 numbers are business free-phone numbers. They are used by big businesses across the country as a primary line of contact and British consumers know this. Your customers have seen 0800 numbers countless times — when calling energy companies, banks, retailers, etc. — and have come to associate them with large brands.
The use of a personal mobile number or home phone looks good for a business attempting to capture an independently-minded audience, however, it does not reflect the appropriate tone for a brand seeking to establish a larger corporate and professional appearance.
The introduction of an 0800 number has not only been shown to make your business look bigger, but studies have also discovered it can boost call volume by 175%.