Customer service: the importance of perceived value
24 Apr 2019
Evolving with the times and the new realities of their environment, the consumer of today is clearly more demanding than ever before. They expect a lot more from their act of purchasing than the simple acquisition of a product or service. Redefining the priorities of businesses, this new normal requires them to optimize certain jobs — in particular those related to customer service quality — in order to improve their competitiveness and sustainable development. Oriented more than ever towards their satisfaction, customer service thus takes on a new dimension, with perceived value as a sizable component. But what does this concept really involve, and what is its importance when it comes to customer service?
Perceived value as a growth accelerator
In “niche” and competitive industrial sectors, where it’s harder to set yourself apart with a unique selling proposition, a relevant strategy will be to bring added value to your product or service by changing the way your customers perceive it.
Offering excellent customer service can clearly improve this perception and become your differentiating element. Listening to your customers is an essential component in their satisfaction and, by extension, their loyalty. The perceived value of your products and services thus puts the emphasis on the indispensable “quality-price ratio” that motivates their purchasing decisions.
The constant effort that you put into good customer service strengthens the trust that your customers have in your company and, in turn, sustains your growth.
Perceived value and customer experience
Among the components of the perceived value of a product or service, some of the most important are its usefulness to the customer, the image that the customer has of the product, as well as the consumer experience. The latter component, in particular, concerns the functions related to customer service. Indeed, consumer experience plays a major role in purchasing decisions and retaining current customers. This concerns the experience before buying (research, planning, and imagining the act of purchasing), the purchasing experience (atmosphere, reception, overall service quality), and the experience after the purchase (follow-up, customer service, satisfaction evaluation, experience sharing, etc.).
Therefore, while communications and marketing activities (advertising and brand development activities) will effectively help improve the “pre-purchase” experience, customer service and the different loyalty actions developed by the company are essential for keeping the perceived value at its highest level.
What’s the point of optimizing perceived value?
As defined, the concept of perceived value poses a real challenge for the company with regard to its customer acquisition and retention policies. Offering your customers a product or service with a high perceived value lets you, in effect, establish a privileged relationship with them and therefore expand your sales opportunities. In addition, within the context of the pricing strategy, perceived value is of major importance. Practically speaking, when the perceived value of a product or service increases, the company can choose a higher pricing strategy and thus increase its profit margins and sales; the customer is willing to pay more for what you’re offering. On the other hand, when its perceived value decreases, the sales volume decreases along with it. The company must therefore determine the elements on which to act in order to influence this value and make it change in the right direction.
In conclusion, let’s keep in mind that, according to several recent studies on customer satisfaction and customer service quality, over 80% of consumers would be willing to spend 10 to 15% more to receive better service quality and customer experience — hence the undeniable importance of investing in quality service.
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