Perception audit is one key metric for that brands employ once in a while to look at the man in the mirror. It gives brands the opportunity to see and feel how exactly their customers feel about the products and services on offer while also enabling the activation of that very necessary, “we-are-going-to-do-better” revamp necessary for growth and customer loyalty.
The problem is that such audits are done with the end in mind. No blank cheques. Many brand researchers will always fear the possibility of negative outcomes and find a way to pitch questions with predetermined answers to customers.
It becomes worse when customers are in anticipation of rewards of some kind for participating in such surveys. Everyone wants a freebie once in a while and this goes far in undermining the values of perception audits.
A few days ago, I noticed some trends on Facebook where the occupants of Zukerville were reviewing a particular bank. That bank was GTBank. I thought it was a passing phase until the trend lasted over two days and I was forced to dig in to know just what was going on.
Just yesterday, I was also surprised to see notifications on friends who were reviewing Nigeria’s telco, Glo.
While the results and perspectives of these reviews evoked my interest, it also raises the question of how brands and other institutions should conduct perception surveys as a means of remaining relevant in their markets. It also made me wonder if these institutions would eventually factor the results, perceptions and sentiments of their customers in improving product and service offerings.
The real value in what was happening on Facebook about is the total lack of control of the outcome. The Social Media platform gives the individual the power to vent without inhibition. It is an exportation of what happens when people make posts. There are shy people or generally cowardly people who have found relief in the perceived reclusion of Social Media handles to say what ordinarily they never would have summoned the guts to do.
Legions criticize the government in power at will but will likely be silent if and when summoned to share same views in the open. In the same vein, I am sure that the thousands who took time, and for free, to undertake those honest reviews, at their own cost, would never have been that honest were they to be made to do same in the open.
But brands need this. You do not want to be rated by what say they people think of you as against what people sincerely think of you but which they are likely not going to tell you to your face.
I just wish someone would be good enough to aggregate all that people said about GTBank and read them to management. The issue of poor customer service was chief among many issues that I spotted running through most of the sentiments. Long queues in the bank and failures to respond to enquiries as well as illegal deductions from customer accounts are some others.
But on the whole, and surprisingly so, GTBank recorded a favourable sentiment of 3.9 out of 5 star rating. This is a high mark but which also leaves challenges on the table on how to make things better.
The review on Glo is still ongoing as at the time this was written and I am not sure the brand will fare as fine as GTBank, with an overwhelming majority of customers giving the brand a single star rating out of five.
This should not be looked at in the adverse sense. On the contrary, it should present the people in the company the opportunity to take a fresh look at the touchpoints and identify what needs major revamp, what needs to be touched-up a little and what should be removed.
It is a good opportunity that Facebook is offering brands. If more of the players in the market take this route and factor the feedback in their continuous quality improvement strategies, there’d peace in the market and that will mean more money for marketers of goods and services.